City of Ottawa announces police preparations for Canada Day

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson announced he is working with Canadian Heritage and the Ottawa Police Service to provide a safe experience for visitors to the nation’s capital on Canada Day.  Watson states that the concerns of Ottawa citizens about a possible convoy protest are “justified.” He adds that the police are prepared to respond in any possible way.

City of Ottawa announces police preparations for Canada Day
AP Photo/Robert Bumsted
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“We won’t be intimidated by any group who planned to disrupt the celebrations. We are prepared and we will not tolerate any illegal activity,” the mayor says. 

“Roads will be monitored [...] and extra road and street closures will be in place on Canada Day,” he affirms. 

Mayor Jim Watson warns that those coming to Ottawa to protest on Canada Day and who break the law "will be dealt with the full force of law, and there's not going to be warnings or second chances."

Watson then moved on to talk about the fact that public transit will be free for everyone, and he encourages visitors to use the O-Train, adding that this is the safest way to move around the city.

“Our citizens and the citizens of Canada are not going to be bullied and dissuaded from coming down and celebrating this beautiful country we call Canada. 

“Those people who are coming here to disrupt those wonderful celebrations will be dealt with with the full force of the law. [...] If the law is broken, regardless of who breaks it, there will be consequences.”

Watson then turned the conference over to Kim Ayotte, who is the general manager of emergency and protective services for the City of Ottawa, who reinforced that protesters disrupting the event will be dealt with by Ottawa police. 

He also states that there will be checkpoints in the city, and that “all vehicles [that refuse to stop] will be ticketed and towed.”

After speaking about ensuring the safety of attendees at Canada Day events, Ayotte states that “working together, [he] is confident that we can all enjoy a fun and safe Canada Day weekend.” 

Finally, interim Ottawa police Chief Steve Bell gave his final thoughts, stating “This is expected to be a unique Canaday Day.”

“We’ve developed our plans in the shadows of the unlawful protests and Rolling Thunder event,” Bell claimed, referring back to the Freedom Convoy protest and follow-up biker rally that took place in Ottawa earlier this year.

“Given what we know and what we’re faced with, we're taking an enhanced and extended posture that starts well before the first of July and extends well past to ensure we properly protect our city,” the chief said.

Bell highlighted the fact that the Ottawa police developed options for multiple scenarios, and that they are using extensive measures to keep the city secure. 

“We have the people, the skills, and the equipment to ensure that these events are peaceful,” he says. 

Will scenes that occurred during the Freedom Convoy be replicated, or are police properly prepared? Time will tell. 

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