Ontario Superior Court Justice Hugh McLean granted a temporary injunction on Monday that puts a halt to the honking of Freedom Convoy trucks for ten days. The honking has been non-stop for 12-18 hours a day, according to reports, in downtown Ottawa. Elected officials have begun labeling the protest as an insurrection and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is pleading with the truckers to end their protest and go home.
Justice McLean said his injunction is temporary because he wants to hear more evidence on how the convoy is paralyzing neighborhoods around Parliament Hill in Ottawa. He’s heard enough, though, to silence the honking for ten days. A class-action lawsuit has been filed against some of the leaders of the protest by a resident of the area who claims her quality of life is suffering from the incessant honking and alleged bad behavior of some of the truckers. McLean heard from the lawyer representing those who filed the class-action lawsuit and from a lawyer representing three of the respondents who argue that the injunction would carry national importance. He wants to give an opportunity to “a myriad of people” who may want to come forward to be heard.
Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson sent a letter to Trudeau and to Ontario Premier Doug Ford stating that the city needs 1,800 more police officers. There are currently 2,100 police and civilian members to “quell the insurrection” that the local police cannot contain. Watson said he is keeping tabs on the costs incurred and will be forwarding them on to higher officials for reimbursement. Ottawa police say the demonstrations in downtown Ottawa are costing the city $1.8M to $2.2M per day in police costs alone. And they are dealing with threats from across North America now, according to Ottawa’s deputy police chief.
Steve Bell, the city’s deputy police chief, said a person from Ohio was arrested in connection with a threat against Ottawa police headquarters in downtown Ottawa. He said threats are coming in from across North America, and they are very taxing on already stretched resources.
Watson said the loud honking that has reverberated through downtown Ottawa for the last nine days is “tantamount to psychological warfare.”
In his letter for more police resources, Watson wrote: “We need your help to end this siege in the heart of our nation’s capital and in our residential neighbourhoods, and to regain control of our city.”
Ottawa’s city council voted to formally petition the federal government to assume responsibility for public safety in the parliamentary precinct to free up Ottawa officers to return to protect residential neighbourhoods.
Council also voted to ask the provincial and federal governments to provide support for businesses and employees who have lost income during the demonstration, and social support services that have helped Ottawa’s most vulnerable through the disruptions.
Ford said Sunday the province has given Ottawa everything the municipality has requested, and will continue to do so.
Federal Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said the provinces can use their “extensive” regulatory powers to go after the companies who are allowing their equipment to be used in the protest. They can use their highway safety laws to suspend commercial licenses and insurance of the equipment owners of commercial trucks for “blockading the streets, days on end, in a city or on a highway.” He urged Ottawa police to handle the convoy protest as police in Quebec City did on Sunday. Police handed out 170 tickets for noise complaints, parking and highway safety code violations. The Federal Public Safety Minister weighed in, too.
Federal Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino said an “angry crowd” should not be allowed to dictate policies to fight COVID-19, and that protesters have “crossed the line of acceptable conduct” toward fellow Canadians in their bid to pressure the government.
How dare the truckers protest what they believe is an unnecessary overreach by their government with COVID-19 mandates, right? Public officials often sound more arrogant than anything else. Truckers are protesting the new rule that they must be fully vaccinated to cross the border with the United States. The same rule is in effect for U.S. truckers, too. At least 90 percent of truckers are vaccinated and they are clear that this isn’t an anti-vax demonstration, it is an anti-mandate demonstration. You don’t have to agree with all of their tactics to respect their right to protest peacefully.
A convoy shut down the Ambassador Bridge between Windsor and Detroit last night.
Press release from the Essex County OPP detachment: Traffic shut down in both directions on the Ambassador Bridge between Windsor and Detroit pic.twitter.com/AwVT8WiRVM
— 𝘽𝙧𝙮𝙖𝙣 𝙋𝙖𝙨𝙨𝙞𝙛𝙞𝙪𝙢𝙚 (@BryanPassifiume) February 8, 2022
— Mark Slapinski 🇺🇦 (@MarkSlapinski) February 8, 2022
So, where’s Justin Trudeau? When the convoy first reached Ottawa at the end of January, it was reported that the prime minister fled the city. He’s been hiding out, apparently, and finally surfaced yesterday with an appearance in the House of Commons. It was his first appearance since testing positive for COVID, according to reports. He’s calling for an end to the protests while accusing protesters of trying to “blockade our economy” and destroy democracy.
Speaking to the House of Commons in Ottawa on Monday night, Mr. Trudeau said that the protests, which began in opposition to Covid-19 restrictions, were harassing Ottawa residents “in their own neighborhoods.”
They are “trying to blockade our economy, our democracy and our fellow citizens’ daily lives,” he said. He had previously denounced the protesters for desecrating national memorials, wielding Nazi symbols and stealing food from homeless people.
Mr. Trudeau said on Twitter that hundreds of Royal Canadian Mounted Police had been mobilized to support Ottawa police officers, and promised that the Canadian government and city would employ “whatever resources are needed to get the situation under control.”
Canadians have the right to protest, to disagree with their government, and to make their voices heard. We’ll always protect that right. But let’s be clear: They don’t have the right to blockade our economy, or our democracy, or our fellow citizens’ daily lives. It has to stop.
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) February 8, 2022
Trudeau isn’t exactly exhibiting courageous leadership. Rather than stay and deal with the convoy when it arrived in Ottawa, it was reported that he fled to a safe place in the United States. If that is true, what a wienie. If he was concerned for his family, he could have remained in his office and sent them somewhere else. In the meantime, he is using standard rhetoric coming from progressives in America when protests arise against their policies – they are a threat to democracy. In fact, protests are proof of freedoms in democracies or constitutional republics. Canada’s is a constitutional monarchy. We’ll see how Trudeau handles the Freedom Convoy going forward, now that he’s decided to look like he’s in charge.