Stop the chaos, anxiety, sleep deprivation: We need our city back!

It’s been over a week since the trucker protests started. Let’s just call it what it is, an occupation. That seems to be the more accurate and popular term. I could also come up with other words, but I enjoy working here.

It’s one of the few good things I have going right now. Between the chaos right outside my door and regular anxiety, getting a good night’s sleep feels like a distant memory.

I’m angry.

I’m angry at the supposed people in charge of running this city and protecting us. They continue to let us down, yet we continue to vote them in. I can’t tell you how often I’ve seen the mayor being interviewed last week. Each time, it just seemed like he was on auto-pilot.

By now, I’m sure many of you have seen them. In each interview, Mayor Jim Watson was sitting in his home, far from downtown. He’s doing his best impression of Grandpa Simpson giving the frowning of a lifetime.

Meanwhile, many residents of Centretown are either scared to leave their homes or, for users of Para Transpo, can’t.

Last week, I saw a news story about Para Transpo refusing to pick up a passenger and take them to the hospital for cancer treatment. Also, I’ve heard about other PWD and Seniors being unable to receive their delivery of food and medical supplies, as well as caregivers not being able to get to work.

As I mentioned last week, I was afraid that this would happen.

There were already discussions online in the weeks leading up to the truckers’ arrival in Ottawa and a GoFundMe page set up for a cross-Canada convoy.

But somehow, Police Chief Peter Sloly wasn't aware or prepared for it. During those same press conferences, he proclaimed the police’s efforts a success simply because nobody got injured or died.

Apparently, we have different ideas on what success truly means.

We’ve also heard stories about residents getting harassed for simply wearing a mask throughout last week. We’ve also seen messages of hate written on storefronts and residential areas.

And how about that constant honking and gridlock so bad that ambulances can’t get through?

Mr. Watson, you are not doing your job. Have you taken the time to tour the area or spoken face to face to residents in Centretown?

Have you spoken to users of Para Transpo who are forced to miss medical appointments due to all this?

My guess is no.

Or what about the caregivers and healthcare workers who cannot get to work. Have you reached out to them directly?

Again, my guess is no.

On Saturday, there was a counter-protest held outside city hall, despite local politicians telling residents to stay home.

Where were you, Mr. Watson?

I watched the news on Saturday night, and sure enough, you were still sitting at home.

This shouldn’t be happening.

Last week, when most of the protesters had left, our police could’ve done something, but chose to just stand there.

I feel the need to remind all of you that I have very little knowledge of what the police can do, or should’ve done.

As a regular person and long-time resident of Centretown, I refuse to accept the idea that the police’s way of dealing with the protest, and now, occupation are a success.

I’m also having a really hard time sitting here watching my neighbourhood get destroyed, as well as people’s lives. Throughout my almost thirty years in Centretown, I’ve made many friends and connections. When something like this happens, it has a profound effect on me.

As for me, I’m still stuck at home. Some days have been hard on me and my mental health. As mentioned above, I feel like I haven’t slept in days.

Thankfully, all of my caregivers showed up on time, and my deliveries of medical supplies safely arrived. I’m grateful for that.

I have no idea when this will end. Part of me is pretty scared about what may happen and how many more ambulances and users of Para Transpo will be affected.

To my fellow neighbours in Centretown:

I feel your frustrations and anger. I also understand that you want to be heard and possibly take matters into your own hands. Believe me, I’ve felt the same way since long before last week.

My message to you is to please stay safe. Also, please take the time to help your neighbors. Check in on them, and make sure they have what they need.

We’re better than the occupiers and the hangers-on.

Let’s rise above the hate, and again become the amazing community that I know we can be.