NDP calls for emergency debate as Ottawa asks province and federal government for 1,800 more officers


NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh calls for an emergency debate in the House of Commons as Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson calls on the federal and provincial governments for 1,800 more police officers to deal with the protest against the mandate anti-vaccine that binds the city center.

In a letter to House of Commons Speaker Anthony Rota on Monday, Singh said he would call for a debate on the occupation in Ottawa and the protests that have erupted across the country in support of ending all terms. vaccination.

“The situation has come to a head. And in times of crisis, it is important that federal leaders show leadership, call for de-escalation and work together to find solutions,” he wrote.

“For more than a week, the people of Ottawa have been under siege, and a similar protest in Coutts, Alberta blocked the border and prevented important goods from reaching the people who need them…”

The City of Ottawa declared a state of emergency over the weekend. Mayor Watson described the situation in the nation’s capital as “the most serious emergency our city has ever faced”.

Federal ministers said at a news conference in Ottawa on Monday that while the response to what Ontario Premier Doug Ford called an “occupation” must be led by the Ottawa Police, the federal government continues to respond to requests for support.

Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said the Ford government has the power to do more to end the situation and should learn from how other provinces have recently handled similar protests.

“Provinces have sweeping regulatory powers over commercial trucking and road transport to help end this illegal occupation and disruption of commercial trucks that block streets and highways,” Alghabra said.

“These powers could include, for example, quickly enforcing the provisions of … Ontario’s road safety, to begin suspending business licenses and also insurance for commercial owners of equipment blocking streets for periods of time. days …”

Alghabra said authorities in Quebec did a good job of containing “illegal commercial truck activity” over the weekend and Ontario could learn from their example.

Call for 1,800 additional police officers

Shortly after that press conference, the mayor of Ottawa released a letter he sent to the federal and provincial governments asking for “a dramatic and immediate injection of additional officers.”

“Given the scope and scale of the armada of big trucks that now occupy our downtown core, we are writing to you today asking you to work to help the city secure 1,800 officers to suppress the ‘insurrection that the Ottawa Police Service is unable to contain,’ reads the letter, signed by Watson and Coun. Diane Deans.

The letter specifically calls for 1,000 regular officers, 600 law enforcement officers, 100 investigators, and 100 civilian staff and support resources.

A protester puts a flag on top of his truck, parked next to a truck with a sign calling for the imprisonment of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, outside Parliament Hill, as a demonstration against the COVID-19 restrictions continue into its second week in Ottawa on Monday. (The Canadian Press/Justin Tang)

“We must do everything in our power to reclaim the streets of Ottawa and our parliamentary precinct from the criminal activity and hooliganism that has transpired over the past nine days,” the letter reads.

“We need your help to end this siege in the heart of our nation’s capital and in our residential neighborhoods, and to regain control of our city.

“We can contain the occupation but we cannot end it without your support.”

Watson calls on federal mediator to intervene

This morning, Watson floated the idea that the federal government appoint a “high-level and respected statesman” to mediate between protesters and governments and resolve the standoff.

“There seems to be little movement on either side,” he said. “I’m not going to condone their activities by showing up and chatting with them. I want them gone.”

Singh said the federal government should instead sit down with municipalities to solve the problem.

“The organizers have made it clear that their intention is to overthrow the government,” he said, adding “it is clear that we need federal leadership at this time.”

Last week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he was unwilling to negotiate with protesters demanding either an end to all vaccination mandates or a change of government.

“Having a group of people who disagree with the outcome of an election, who want to go a different route and set up an alternative government, is a non-starter in a responsible democracy,” he said. he declares.

On Monday, Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc and Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino dodged questions about direct intervention in the crisis.

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