The police operation that easily dispersed the demonstration of motorcyclists against sanitary measures this weekend in Ottawa demonstrates that it was not necessary to invoke emergency measures this winter, says the Bloc Québécois.
” Three days later, [ce nouveau convoi contre les mesures sanitaires] was already finished, because everyone did their job. And, miracle, we didn’t need emergency measures, Mr. President. So the $1,000 question: what was the Emergency Measures Act for this winter, after all? asked Bloc Québécois House Leader Alain Therrien during Monday’s question period.
A group of opponents of restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic returned to Ottawa last Friday evening as part of a two-wheeled rally dubbed “Rolling Thunder”. As during the Freedom Convoy, which disrupted Ottawa for three weeks this winter, heavy vehicles and pickup trucks also took part in the anti-government procession, which lasted until Sunday and was punctuated by some clashes with the forces of the order.
Ottawa police officers had a strong presence downtown even before the first protesters arrived and handed out hundreds of tickets on the sidelines of the event. The operation marks a stark contrast to the strategy adopted during the Freedom Convoy in February, when simple warnings were distributed nearly three weeks after the blocking of the streets of the federal capital began.
Ordinary laws would have sufficed, says Alain Therrien
According to MP Alain Therrien’s description of the weekend’s events, “when the [manifestants] attempted to move into the security perimeter to block off the city center, they were immediately arrested. There was no slippage, the shops remained open”.
According to the Bloc Québécois, this effective operation constitutes the very proof that the federal government could have acted more quickly to avoid the excesses observed during the Freedom Convoy under ordinary laws, in particular through better coordination of the various police forces.
Conservative MP Raquel Dancho also took up the torch of her party to argue the pointlessness of having invoked emergency measures this winter. She ironically pointed out that the elected officials themselves had to cross the Freedom Convoy to get to work. “Either there was no real threat and [les libéraux] compensated for their incompetent management of the demonstration, or they knowingly put us all in danger, ”she said on Monday.
The Federal Minister of Public Security, Marco Mendicino, stood up each time to recall the reasons for invoking emergency measures. “In this time, we needed it,” he replied in French, recalling that other blockages have taken place elsewhere in the country at border points with Canada.
The Bloc Québécois and the Conservative Party of Canada voted against invoking the Emergencies Act when Parliament was consulted on the issue on February 21. The Trudeau government thus wanted to put an end to the blocking of heavy goods vehicles of the Freedom Convoy. Only downtown Ottawa was still occupied by protesters at this time. The vote was won thanks to the support of the New Democratic Party (NDP).
The Emergency Measures Act applied for nine days, starting on February 14. It was mainly used to force the collaboration of towing companies and to freeze the bank accounts of demonstrators.
Fines and arrests
The Ottawa Police Service (OPS) welcomed on Saturday that “many convoys” around Ottawa have given up going to the city center because of “the operational approach of the police”.
Its agents and those of other police forces present issued no less than 761 parking tickets and 10 tickets for various offenses, such as making excessive noise, obstructing public roads or urinating in public. About 40 vehicles were towed away, and three people were arrested, two of them for not respecting their conditions of release.
A woman has been arrested for assaulting police, and a man who allegedly tried to ram a police officer on a motorcycle faces multiple charges, including dangerous driving, refusing to provide a sample, assaulting a police officer. peace and armed aggression.