City of Ottawa followed police lead on convoy’ response: City manager

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OTTAWA — There was disagreement and confusion between ranges of presidency on how one can take care of the “Freedom Convoy” protest earlier than it started and whereas it unfolded, a public inquiry heard Monday.

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Metropolis supervisor Steve Kanellakos informed an inquiry investigating the feds’ use of emergency powers that police have been in command of the response to the convoy, and the town adopted the power’s lead all through.

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Kanellakos mentioned the town was solely anticipating protesters to remain for a brief time frame after they arrived in late January, primarily based on data it was getting from Ottawa police.

However the inquiry was additionally proven an e mail on Monday from the “Canada United Truckers Convoy,” which was forwarded to high metropolis officers and Mayor Jim Watson on Jan. 25, that mentioned protesters have been making an attempt to guide lodges for “a minimal of 30 days.”

Police additionally had data from an area resort affiliation suggesting protesters have been planning to remain for an prolonged interval, and wrote in a Jan. 26 report shared with the town that “all open supply data and our interactions with organizers point out that this will probably be a major and intensely fluid occasion that would go on for a chronic interval.”

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Kanellakos mentioned police have been predicting 1,000 to 2,000 folks would come for the preliminary weekend and the vast majority of them would depart the downtown core afterwards.

“There wasn’t an evaluation that mentioned it will go longer than that,” he informed the Public Order Emergency Fee on Monday.

  1. Police officers patrol on foot along Albert Street as a protest against COVID-19 restrictions that has been marked by gridlock and the sound of truck horns reaches its 14th day, in Ottawa, Thursday, Feb. 10, 2022.

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  3. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks to journalists before Question Period in the House of Commons foyer on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Sept. 22, 2022.

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However the protest in the end gridlocked downtown streets for almost three weeks, and the federal Liberal authorities declared an emergency beneath the Emergencies Act on Feb. 14, granting police extraordinary short-term powers in an try and clear the protesters.

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The fee is anticipated to listen to testimony from Watson and different high Ottawa officers this week, beginning with Kanellakos.

Kanellakos mentioned the town shared data with Ottawa police and primarily based its planning and response on the intelligence and risk evaluation it acquired from police.

“The one data we might depend on was from Ottawa police, when it comes to dependable data at the moment,” mentioned Kanellakos. “Ottawa police has in depth expertise coping with demonstrations within the nationwide capital.”

By Jan. 31, it turned clear to Kanellakos and the citythat the protests would proceed past the weekend. In a textual content message to a metropolis councillor that day, Kanellakos mentioned the technique was “a negotiation to stability (the protesters’) have to get downtown and get them to park in managed areas.”

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Because the protests continued, there have been considerations that demonstrators have been turning into entrenched, and the police didn’t have the assets to take care of them.


Kanellakos mentioned that officers knew {that a} plan put collectively by metropolis officers and convoy organizers to maneuver “Freedom Convoy” protesters’ semi vehicles out of residential neighbourhoods and onto the road in entrance of Parliament Hill was not going to finish the protest.

“They deliberate to remain. This was about aid. … It was about relieving these neighbourhoods of vehicles and all that got here with it,” he mentioned.

The deal wouldn’t have cleared all residential streets, or the realm alongside Rideau Road, of protesters. And it paperwork filed with the fee present that the Parliamentary Protecting Service raised considerations with the possible plan out of worry that the realm round Parliament Hill would turn into a “parking zone.”

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Paperwork filed with the fee state that the intelligence Kanellakos acquired from police mentioned there was “a possible for violence and weapons” in sure areas of the protests alongside Rideau Road, the place there have been folks recognized to police. These areas have been thought of to be extra “harmful and unstable.”

The paperwork say the town was concerned in “situational consciousness” calls with the federal authorities early in February, which have been casual discussions about what was taking place.

“The aim of the calls finally switched from situational consciousness to a dialogue of assets and what numerous ranges of presidency might do in gentle of current laws to place stress on the protesters,” the paperwork say, including that the province of Ontario was “not ready to do something” with respect to the insurance coverage or business car registrations held by the truckers concerned.

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By Feb. 7, Kanellakos and Watson have been assembly with federal officers, together with Public Security Minister Marco Mendicino and Emergency Preparedness Minister Invoice Blair, “to assist the (Ottawa police) get extra assets,” the paperwork say.

Throughout these conferences, there was disagreement concerning the variety of RCMP officers who could also be out there to assist with the response because the protests dragged on.

The paperwork submitted to the fee mentioned the “disagreement or misunderstanding relating to the variety of RCMP officers went on for a number of conferences.”

The Ontario authorities was invited to the conferences, however didn’t take part.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford, who shouldn’t be on the record of witnesses showing earlier than the inquiry, was requested by reporters about his participation throughout an announcement in Ottawa on Monday.

Ford mentioned he stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the course of the convoy.

“If you happen to disrupt the lives of the folks of Ottawa each single day, disrupt the lives and financial circulation throughout our borders, I’ve zero tolerance for it,” he mentioned.

Ford additionally mentioned police did an unimaginable job ending the protests.

“They have been very peaceable, they moved ahead, and I’m so proud to face right here and again our police proper throughout this nation and proper throughout this province,” Ford mentioned.

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