Struggling to make sense of how our city lost control

When typing this article, the occupation of truck drivers is still happening. Despite Ottawa and Ontario being under a state of emergency, nothing has changed.

Outside of issuing tickets and a few arrests, The Ottawa Police continue to do nothing besides watching others take over our city. Our mayor continues to stay home while being interviewed by Zoom. The police chief keeps calling for 1800 more officers to help out. To add to it, Centretown residents have started to hold counter protests.

While I DO support my fellow Centretown residents in their pleas to have the occupiers leave the city, a part of me questions the logic of having a counter-protest.

Our primary concerns have been about the noise, road blockages, harassment, and the police doing very little due to a lack of resources throughout this occupation.

Over the years, I’ve attended many protests and rallies. Most were peaceful. Almost all of the demonstrations I’ve been to have police officers present. Also, in most cases, the streets were shut down or traffic re-directed.

With that in mind, why would a counter-protest be a good idea?

I wasn’t there. Based on what I saw on the news, it seemed pretty peaceful, and they stayed away from the occupation. Clearly, that’s a good thing, but I still question the point, and exactly, what did it accomplish?

And JUST as I typed that, local media just reported that our mayor had reached a deal with one of the occupation leaders to leave the downtown core within 24 hours.

While this certainly doesn’t mean that all trucks will leave Ottawa, I’m hopeful that many will.

I’m still upset that it took almost three weeks for our mayor to do something. Nearly three weeks of sleepless nights, many being scared to leave their homes, people getting harassed etc.

Those in the PWD community were also affected as well.

Some users of Para Transpo faced longer wait times, including trips to medical appointments. Deliveries of medical supplies and grocery items were often delayed or cancelled. Nurses and healthcare workers could not get to work due to downtown streets being blocked off.

For nearly three weeks, our mayor and police chief allowed a city of over a million people to be taken over by “Freedom Fighters.”

What kind of message does that send to the people of Ottawa?

What kind of message does it send to people in other cities and other groups that would love to do the same?

What message does it send to those looking to move to Canada in order to escape racial violence and hatred in their country?

After this occupation ends, I hope both Chief Peter Sloly, and Mayor Jim Watson will be able to provide residents with actual answers as to why they weren’t prepared.

As I mentioned last week, several weeks before the convoy, there were mentions on social media about a major rolling protest being planned and that Parliament Hill was their destination.

I’m not sure how much clearer it could’ve been.

As the capital of Canada, we need to be better prepared. I’m not saying that we should be on high alert 24/7 with guns-ablazing, and all that. The world has changed though, especially since Covid.

People are angry, confused, frustrated, along with every other emotion. There seems to be more and more people needing to lash out.

All one has to do is log on to social media, or if you live in Centretown at the moment, just step outside.

In the end though, is it really true that Ottawa wasn’t prepared, or is it the fact that our leaders chose to look the other way?

I’m concerned about what may happen next.

Will the truckers return at some point with even more people?

Now that the world knows that our police can’t handle large protests, are we now viewed as easy targets?

Will more be done to protect us if a similar event happens again?

So many questions need to be asked and answered.

Photo: Via Facebook