As traffic moves once again across the Ambassador Bridge between Canada and the US, Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson says “time will tell” whether his “back-channel” deal will scale down part of the protests. The “Liberty Convoy” that rattled his city or not for weeks was a success.
Watson told CTV’s Your Morning on Monday that there was a noon deadline for protesters in the nation’s capital to begin relocating.
“They have agreed to start moving members with whom they have relationships in the community starting today,” Watson said Monday. “It could take up to 72 hours to get them out of all the residential areas in the vicinity of Parliament Hill or beyond. They’re doing the logistics now.”
Watson outlined the proposal in a letter published Sunday as part of a “reverse channel of communication” agreement aimed at ending the ongoing protest against all mandates of COVID- 19. He also said he would be open to meeting organizers if protesters started moving away from residential roads by noon.
However, it remains unclear whether the protesters will move ahead of time.
Protesters have remained encircled in Ottawa since late January, using trucks and private vehicles to make Wellington Street in front of Parliament Hill their main occupation zone. The protracted incident has left many Ottawa residents extremely disappointed.
Watson noted that there were a number of “groups claiming leadership” of the protest and it was unlikely that all participants would move out of the city center as of Monday.
“I’m trying to manage expectations. Not every trucker follows their lead or not every trucker is part of a movement that wants to get out of the neighborhood,” he said. speak.
Watson said that people who live near Parliament Hill in the Centretown area have been experiencing “a hell on earth” in the midst of the protests.
“They are the people who have been harassed by honking and some rude behavior on the street, bonfires and barbecues etc and we need to give those people a sense of peace and quiet.” he said.
Ottawa Police on Saturday established a new “Integrated Command Center” alongside the RCMP and Ontario Provincial Police. Police said the new command center would “significantly enhance our ability to respond to the current situation in our city.”
However, Watson said the city needed more resources because the police department did not have the “people power” to bring order to a protest of this scale.
“I believe this has been going on for too long. It hurts too many people, including our small businesses. We tried to be reasonable, but we needed resources from the two remaining orders. government,” he said.
FEDS PREPARING TO USE EMERGENCY POWER
Emergency Preparedness Minister Bill Blair said on Sunday the federal government was ready to invoke the Emergencies Act to see the lorry protests and blockade end, Mr. Bill Blair said it was a “critical situation”, adding that police needed to “do their job.”
“We have an urgent action that I will tell you, there has been a near-constant and robust audit of those authorities and what is required,” Blair said in an interview. Interview on CTV’s Question Period.
But first, the government says it is working with the provinces, particularly Ontario, amid the ongoing crisis in the nation’s capital, to ensure that the level of government has run out of options. me.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford declared a state of emergency in the province on Friday, citing new emergency measures to impose heavier fines and penalties on protesters, including the maximum penalty. a maximum of $100,000 and up to a year in prison for non-compliance.
“We stand ready to use every tool at our disposal, including emergency powers and to ensure that we bring all federal government resources to the ceiling. This is a critical situation for us. with the country,” Bill said.
“Closing our borders, targeting critical infrastructure, especially the entry and exit points of those behind these protests, is a significant national security threat. to this country and we must do what is necessary to end it.”
The current iteration of the Emergencies Act was passed in 1988 and has never been used. The Act authorizes action to be taken to combat urgent and critical but temporary situations that pose a serious threat to some aspect of Canadians’ lives and cannot be effectively handled in any way. any other Canadian law.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will convene a meeting with provincial and territorial prime ministers on Monday and will assemble the full Liberal caucus to discuss next steps.
BRIDGE REOPENS REOPENS
The Ambassador Bridge spanning Canada and the United States has reopened, the Detroit International Bridge Company announced in a statement late Sunday.
“The Ambassador Bridge is now fully open allowing the free flow of trade between the Canadian and US economies once again,” said the company responsible for maintaining the bridge.
Canada Border Services confirmed the reopening, however, Windsor Police said it continued to monitor the situation at the protest site.
“We continue to remind the public that enforcement is ongoing in the protest area and will have zero tolerance for illegal activity,” Windsor Police tweeted on Monday morning. “The public should also continue to avoid the area.”
Meanwhile, other blockades across Canada, and elsewhere, continue to grow.
In BC, 4 people were arrested for mischief during a protest near the Pacific Highway Border Interchange in Surrey, BC. but suggest visitors use another path if possible.
On its website, the CBSA shows intersections in Coutts, Alta. And Emerson, Man., remains temporarily closed due to lockdown.
With files from CTVNews.ca’s Rachel Aiello and The Canadian Press