Freedom Convoy 2.0: Ottawa police bought equipment
Ottawa’s new police chief says his officers have begun preparing for the possibility of restarting the ‘Freedom Convoy’ rally next year, and vows not to repeat the action of occupying the city center. Ottawa for weeks last winter.
“We’ll be ready,” Sheriff Eric Stubbs told CTV News on Monday. “The ultimate goal of all this planning and preparation is to make sure that what happened last year doesn’t happen this year.”
“We feel that we are in a place right now, where given the information we have, that our preparation is ready.”
Last month, James Bauder, founder of the United Canada group and one of the original organizers of the protests, announced that he was calling for a second round next February.
Bauder has posted on Facebook calling for the ‘Freedom Convoy 2.0’ from February 17-21 in Ottawa, calling it an “olive branch version” that will leave Ottawa on February 22.
Stubbs said police had done “important” work to tackle a possible protest in February. He said that included intelligence gathering, talking to other police forces including the OPP and RCMP, and procuring equipment.
“We have a lot of planning in place to maintain the infrastructure and equipment,” he said.
He added that Ottawa police were in contact with the protest organizers.
Ottawa police’s handling of the convoy occupation was the main topic of this fall’s public order emergency committee, which looked into the federal government’s invocation of the Emergencies Act to end protests. love. The police force’s preparation, intelligence gathering and decision to allow trucks to park on Wellington Street were heavily criticized.
Stubbs has been working for just over a month. His predecessor, Peter Sloly, resigned at the height of the escort rally, and Steve Bell took over the job temporarily until Stubbs was sworn in on November 17.
Stubbs said the force plans to apply the lessons learned since the convoy rally ended.
“A lot has changed since February in terms of how OPS prepares for this year,” said Stubbs, pointing out how police handled the ‘Rolling Thunder’ motorcycle protest earlier this year and the protests. Protests are planned in Canada Day as an example.
In those cases, police did not allow protest vehicles into the city center, but said protesters would be allowed to enter on foot.
“The way we approach Convoy 2.0 is to make sure that downtown is safe and that vehicle-based protests don’t happen.”
Last month, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s national security adviser, Jody Thomas, told a congressional committee that senior officials were planning the possibility of another protest convoy.
Thomas said Mike MacDonald, assistant cabinet secretary in the Privy Council Office, chaired the meetings “to start looking at how we would respond.”
MacDonald says the commission is coordinating more directly with the police than it has in the past.
“I have a deeper relationship with the Ottawa police and sit down and talk to them directly about these issues, and that’s really never happened before,” he said.