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With Trucks and Protesters Passing By, What’s Next For Ottawa?

With protesters blocking its streets and disrupting life in Ottawa for three weeks going and Russia Invades Ukraine Underway, attention to the blockade of the Canadian capital by truckers and other protesters who reject anti-pandemic measures is rapidly fading. But while the protest may be over, its effects continue to linger in the heart of the city and much remains to be resolved in its aftermath.

As it snowed Friday morning, two police checkpoints remained downtown. The first line, about four blocks south of Parliament Hill, is mostly open to vehicular traffic and pedestrians. But police officers, mostly from the Ontario Provincial Police, are on board the cruisers, seemingly on standby in case the situation changes. All access to Wellington Street, which was once the focal point of the protests, is blocked by a tall steel fence, creating a barrier between the rest of the city and Parliament, including the Monument. National War concept.

While the fence will be removed at some point, it seems increasingly likely that traffic may never again travel along Wellington Street. Ottawa City Council voted this week to ask staff about close it for cars and trucks at least until the end of the year, while the mayor and councilor who both proposed the closure said it could become permanent. Jim Watson, the city’s mayor, would also like to see the federal government take control of the streets, with the exception of one church, lined up only by its buildings. Such a step would make policing and security a matter of the federal government rather than the responsibility of local police.

Even as many shops and restaurants have reopened after being closed for three weeks, the unattractive atmosphere, parking restrictions and constant traffic disruptions mean very few people around to protect them. assist them.

Even before successful police action last weekend, the federal government has promised to donate C$20 million to businesses that have shut down or lost business during the protests. But there’s one catch: Claims are capped at $10,000 each.

Sarah Chown is the managing partner of Metropolitain Brasserie, a large restaurant near Parliament, who said the lockdown was jeopardizing her business when I interviewed her at the height of the protest.. Now, she estimates that the federal relief will only cover her electricity and insurance bills for the time being. She said Friday that she hopes the province of Ontario will also provide support.

Those who have lost wages during the lockdown, including an estimated 1,500 workers at the Rideau Center shopping mall, may not be able to recover anything close to what they have lost. The main program they’re eligible for only offers up to $300 Canadian for each week they’re forced to stay at home.

In addition to adding its lockdown-related bills to federal and provincial governments for reimbursement, the City of Ottawa must also find out who will lead its police force after the resignation – amid protests – of Peter Sloly as head. Although the reasons for his departure during the policy crisis were never made clear, it was followed by growing resentment among many in Ottawa about what they saw as the too slow and dull response into the situation. His successor is said to be chosen by a police service panel, which also has several of its members. removed or removed by the board on February 16.

Federal politicians will also weigh in on police action that ended the occupation as they review Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s decision on February 14. invoke the Emergency Situations Act, a move unprecedented in Canadian history. The declaration, among other things, allows the government to order banks and other financial institutions to freeze accounts associated with protest organizers and protesters who have caused congestion. on the street with their trucks, cars and pickups. Those accounts began to reopen earlier in the week, with the exception of those blocked by specific court orders.

[Read: Canada Ends Its Freeze on Hundreds of Accounts Tied to Protests]

Although the House of Commons approved Mr. Trudeau’s decision after an emergency debate, the Senate was still weighing the statement when the prime minister announced that the need for emergency powers had been exhausted. Members of the Conservative Party caucus, many of whom are prominent supporters of the protesters, will, at least initially, likely continue to criticize Mr. the introduction of special measures, which they deemed unnecessary, in the course of Parliament’s autopsy as required by emergency law. Jason Kenney, the prime minister of Alberta, is also challenging the move in court.

Overshadowing all of this, of course, is the question of whether many of the trucking protesters will again land in Ottawa or the other communities where they appear this month and whether the blockade is the answer. the beginning of a larger political movement or not.

Tamara Lich and Pat King, two of the most prominent organizer of the protest, was denied bail this week. When I visited one of the small groups of trucks and protesters in east Ottawa earlier in the week, the mood was mostly subdued. One man who said he was an organizer refused to discuss the group’s plans before ordering me and a photographer to leave.

Along with my Mexico City colleague Natalie Kitroeff, who came to Ottawa to help our team cover the protest, I wrote a story examining what the protest may have unfolded. The consensus of experts we spoke to is that the protesters, whom polls show many Canadians shun, have failed to channel the energy built over three weeks into a clear political force.

  • Many of Canada’s large population of Ukrainian heritage, a demographic that includes myself, has watched the Russian invasion unfold with interest. Dan Bilefsky wrote about especially close relations with Ukraine of Chrystia Freeland, deputy prime minister and one of the strongest critics of the Russian President, Vladimir V. Putin.

  • Diana Beresford-Kroeger, a medical biochemist living in Merrickville, Ontario, and a climate change activist, is fighting for what remains of the world’s great forests and building what has been destroyed. Cara Buckley writes that her efforts have included cultivating “Noah’s Ark is real rare and hardy specimens that best stand up to a warming planet. “

  • Inspired by the Ottawa protest, another demonstration has deepened about 9,000 miles in New Zealand.

  • Emile Francis, a person who scores from North Battleford, Saskatchewan, once known as “The Cat,” who rebuilt the New York Rangers in the 1960s and ’70s as coach and general manager. He died at the age of 95.


A native of Windsor, Ontario, Ian Austen was educated in Toronto, lives in Ottawa and has covered Canada for The New York Times for the past 16 years. Follow him on Twitter at @ianrausten.


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https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/26/world/canada/ottawa-trucker-protests.html With Trucks and Protesters Passing By, What’s Next For Ottawa?

Fry Electronics Team

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