Protests against COVID-19 measures continue in cities across Canada
Another convoy of vehicles rolled through Barrie
Ottawa police are conducting criminal investigations into 50 alleged incidents connected to a long−running protest against COVID−19 measures in the city’s core.
Police say 11 of those alleged offences were hate crimes, and four people are facing charges.
The so−called Freedom Convoy rolled into the nation’s capital last weekend, and while some people went home over the course of the week, participation surged again yesterday.
Officials estimate 500 heavy vehicles associated with the demonstration were in the city centre.
Meanwhile, solidarity protests are ongoing across Canada.
Another convoy of mainly cars, SUVs, and pick-ups trucks rolled through Barrie at noon Saturday, Canadian flags waving and horns honking.
In Toronto, big rig trucks and tractors shut down traffic at Avenue Road and Bloor Street before leaving in the evening.
And police arrested a 22−year−old man accused of igniting a smoke bomb at a demonstration near Ontario’s legislature.
A couple hundred health−care workers and their supporters marched from the University of Toronto to hospital row just south of the Ontario legislature this afternoon.
They held signs saying “free−dumb” and “N95 masks for all.”
Police have closed off the roads near the hospitals to traffic.
The rally took place as hundreds of protesters opposed to vaccine mandates and other COVID−19 restrictions gathered at the legislature in support of demonstrations in Ottawa that have stretched on for more than a week.
Indigenous community shocked
A group of Indigenous senators says they are “extremely disturbed” by the events in Ottawa over the past week.
Nine members of the upper chamber say the “display of racist and hateful symbols” has sparked “profound shock and outrage” across the country and hurt Indigenous communities.
The senators, who come from a range of political backgrounds, say they were also troubled by the desecration of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the National Aboriginal Veterans Monument.
They are noting their concern for the downtown businesses affected by the ongoing protest as well as marginalized and vulnerable individuals whose access to critical services has been interrupted.
Judge reserves judgment on horn-honking in Ottawa
An Ontario Superior Court judge is holding off on ruling on a request to order truckers in Ottawa’s downtown to stop blowing their horns.
Justice Hugh McLean says he wants to give all sides in the lawsuit time to submit all documents to him, adding that he plans to make a decision on the horns on Monday afternoon.
On Friday, Ottawa lawyer Paul Champ filed a proposed class−action lawsuit on behalf of thousands of residents seeking millions of dollars in damages and an injunction “prohibiting the continuation of the nuisance.”
McLean noted the difficulty in enforcing such an injunction if the wording wasn’t just right.
Lawyer Keith Wilson says the truckers in downtown Ottawa have an accord among themselves that the horns won’t sound overnight between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m. Champ notes that still means the horns will ring 12 hours a day at levels that are causing harm to downtown residents.
McLean suggests the truckers limit the use of air horns to short periods of time, perhaps around noon, but not for the full 12 hours.
He adds that Wilson and Champ might be able to sort out the situation before McLean makes his final ruling.
To that end, Champ says his client has agreed to settle her suit if the demonstrators leave by Monday.
He says the plaintiff listed on the suit has offered to refrain from pursuing financial damages if demonstrators leave the city by 10 a.m. that day.
Man in custody after vehicle driven into group of protesters
A Manitoba man is in custody after Winnipeg Police allege he drove his vehicle into a group of protesters who are part of the Freedom Convoy movement taking place outside the Legislative building this weekend.
Police say officers were able to stop the vehicle approximately a half-hour later and the driver was arrested after a “brief struggle.”
Three of the injured men were treated at the scene, while a fourth was treated in hospital and released.
The accused is facing multiple charges including assault with a weapon and dangerous operation of a conveyance.
Carver says police believe the accused was not participating in the protest and it does not appear the underlying causes of the demonstration motivated his actions.
NDP leader says clear plan needed to allow Canadians to get back to ‘normal life’
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh says protesters who have encamped in downtown Ottawa and elsewhere are symbols of deep anger simmering through the country.
He calls the trucker convoys “completely misdirected” in their actions, but notes that many people nationwide are feeling angry, worried and unsure of how the country will get out of the COVID−19 pandemic.
What the NDP leader says is needed is a clear plan from governments about what it will take for Canadians to get to a point where they can get back to their normal lives.
He says that will help people looking at the convoys and using them as an outlet for their anger, even if they don’t agree with organizers.
Singh is also taking aim at Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and interim Conservative leader Candice Bergen, arguing that each is trying to score political points off the protesters.
Their actions can only inflame tensions at a time that Singh says measures are needed to bring down the temperature.
Singh was speaking during a virtual press conference after addressing the Ontario NDP convention.