Parliament resumes as Ottawa marks ‘Liberty Convoy’ celebrations

Members of Congress are on their way back to Ottawa before resuming their sitting on Monday, as the city prepares to mark the one-year anniversary of the arrival of the “Liberty Convoy” protesters.

Liberal and Conservative MPs gathered on Parliament Hill on Friday to hold their respective caucuses, outlining their priorities for the 2023 House of Commons session, which begins on 30. January.

Among the top issues facing federal politicians this winter are the ongoing cost of living crisis and the threat of recession; the state of Canada’s health care systems and the prospect of major new funding arrangements with the provinces; as well as the government’s ability to provide services amid the recent increased reliance on private consultants.

In different but similarly persuasive speeches before their caucuses, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Conservative Party Leader Pierre Poilievre previewed directions of attack certain to be repeated in the section. question, both of which revolve around the ongoing debate between the two leaders about whether Canada is broken.”

“Everything feels broken,” Poilievre said. “[Trudeau] very angry when I talk about these matters. He thinks that if we don’t talk about them out loud, Canadians will forget that they exist,” Poilievre said in a speech questioning what is happening in this country, from the rate of drug use. drug overdose to violent crime. “You told us better things can always happen, but things get worse, and you blame others.”

In response to statements from his Official Opposition counterpart, Trudeau countered that Poilievre had “choose to amplify people’s real anger, and instead of offering them solutions, infuriating them. more angry.”

In his caucus address, Trudeau spoke of the Liberals’ “positive vision” for the future that “couldn’t be more different than Mr. Poilievre’s version.”

New Democrats gathered on Capitol Hill last week for their strategy session before the House of Representatives. In a statement on Friday, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said that his caucus plans to leverage a supply and confidence agreement with minority Liberal Party members to “fight to reduce costs” cost of living, while rebuilding and protecting the public’s universal system of free health care.” .”


The MPs returned to Ottawa for the one-year anniversary of the first weekend of the “Liberty Convoy” protests.

On January 28, 2022, thousands of vehicles and people poured into downtown Ottawa as part of what many responsible thought would be a weekend of protests against COVID restrictions. -19 and government.

Once entrenched on Wellington Street, the “Liberty Convoy” protest quickly evolved into a week-long occupation of the National capital’s city center and the blockade of key border crossings. between Canada and the United States.

After weeks of business closures, cross-border tensions, unremitting sirens, cheers from conservative politicians and concerns about “serious violence” threats or actions. .. to achieve a political or ideological goal,” Trudeau took the unprecedented step. on February 14 about invoking the Emergencies Act for the first time since it became law in 1988. National inquiry into this chapter in Canadian history, and how those responsible handled the case demonstration as well as powers to end it, will be presented next month.

Recalling the anniversary en route to the Conservative caucus, Ontario MP and former hopeful Scott Aitchison said he thought “the convoy probably should never have happened, but people are disappointed in this country, and they have every reason to.”

That frustration — largely aimed at the federal Liberal Party — took place in the streets of Hamilton, Ont., earlier this week when he and his cabinet were in town for a meeting. There, Trudeau – guarded by officers – was surrounded by a small group of protesters calling for his resignation. Many protesters carried Canadian flags.

Meanwhile, a debate is raging about what to do with Wellington Street, which has remained closed to traffic — with cement barriers — since police arrived to clear the convoy in February. last year.

A Parliamentary Protection Service officer drives past a pedestrian on Wellington Street below Parliament Hill in Ottawa, which remains closed to traffic a year after the Freedom Convoy took place there before, on Friday, January 27, 2023. CANADA/Justin Tang . REPORT

While the City of Ottawa is making moves to reopen the street in front of Parliament Hill to traffic in March, federal politicians have recommended permanently closing the street and widening the area. Vehicles are prohibited further than one block to the west.

Ottawa Center Liberal MP Yasir Naqvi—who supports Ottawa Mayor Mark Sutcliffe in his bid for the city’s top office—told MPs on Friday that on the issue, two politicians different families.

“I think we need to find a way to reimagine Wellington Street. I don’t think reopening is really going to help with that. What we should do in the short term is find a way to liven up the streets, make the streets live. it’s more appealing to everyone as the federal government and the City of Ottawa working closely to determine the long-term outcomes for Wellington Street,” he said.

When asked how he felt on the eve of the anniversary of the wheelchair entry into town, Naqvi said that although people have the right to protest peacefully and legally, it is important that we do not see repetition of this type of occupation. we saw a year ago.

“I know there’s been a lot of preparation and coordination to make sure and maintain everyone’s safety and security,” he said.


In terms of preparations underway, access to Parliament Hill is limited and police promise any illegal activity or traffic jams will be dealt with quickly, and will have zero tolerance for anyone. any noise, parking or fireworks violations.

Increased police presence and parking restrictions come into effect in Parliament House and public tours of the Hill cancelled.

While local police did not say how many protesters they expected in the city center this weekend, the Parliamentary Protection Service issued “notice about the protest on Parliament Hill”. ‘ on Friday afternoon said they expected 500 protesters.

When asked how they determined that hundreds of people could go into the center to protest when there was little official sign from previous organizers or well-known participants of intent to return their plan at this time, PPS told that their plan was “directed by intelligence.”

The force in charge of control on Hill said it was “working closely with our law enforcement and security partners” and “is closely monitoring the situation as it relates to the anniversary event.” We will adjust our security situation on Parliament Hill and inside Parliament as required.”

With files from CTV News Toronto’s Katherine DeClerq and CTV News Ottawa’s Josh Pringle

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