Joint Statement from Ministers Blair, LeBlanc, Fortier, Mendicino and Alghabra
OTTAWA, February 7, 2022 - Today, the Honourable Bill Blair, President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Emergency Preparedness, the Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities, the Honourable Mona Fortier, President of the Treasury Board, the Honourable Marco Mendicino, Minister of Public Safety, the Honourable Omar Alghabra, Minister of Transport, issued the following statement on the situation in Ottawa:
"Over the past weekend, a number of demonstrations took place across the country. By and large, they were peaceful and lawful. This is thanks to local police who ensured the law was enforced rigorously and fairly, as well as residents and businesses who showed patience and understanding.
Yet the ongoing blockades in downtown Ottawa remain an alarming exception. Ottawans have had to endure significant disruption to their lives – to say nothing of vandalism, harassment and expressions of hate & violence. This is unacceptable. No matter how much a small minority may hold themselves above public health measures, they are not above the law.
Since the beginning, the federal government has been there to support the City of Ottawa and the Ottawa Police Service. This began with coordination and logistical support before the convoy arrived in Ottawa. Over the past 10 days, Ministers Mendicino, Blair, Alghabra, LeBlanc, Fortier and others have been in close contact with Mayor Watson, as well as an array of other municipal and provincial officials to hear directly about what they need and respond accordingly.
Minister Alghabra will also be meeting with his Ontario counterpart shortly, and will ask that they work with insurance companies to explore consequences for trucks parked illegally on the streets of Ottawa.
As in any Canadian city, the municipal government and local police are leading the management of the situation, with the federal and provincial governments supporting them and offering assistance as requested. While governments write laws, police enforce them and operational decisions are taken by the police, independent of the government.
To ensure continued close cooperation among all levels of government and formalize the discussions already taking place, we are convening a table with relevant federal and municipal partners to further strengthen our response to this situation.
As the situation has unfolded, the RCMP has approved successive requests from the City and OPS for additional resources. Most importantly, this includes a request for more officers last Thursday and another one over the weekend. The RCMP has mobilized resources and in total, nearly 300 RCMP officers are under the command of the OPS – as well as tactical police troops, joint intelligence & operational teams and community liaison teams. The RCMP remains in close touch with OPS, and stands ready to provide further assistance.
Canadians have a right to feel safe in their communities. The pandemic and restrictions won’t last forever – we’ve made it this far by sticking together, looking out for one another and doing what it takes to save lives. We know that vaccines are safe, effective and save lives. They’re the best way to protect one another and most importantly, get out of the pandemic. Canadians agree – that’s why we’re among the most vaccinated countries in the world.
The federal government will continue to do the work that Canadians elected us to do: protect their health and safety using science and evidence. We’ll continue to support the City and OPS with whatever they need to resolve the current situation as soon as possible."
Office of the President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Emergency Preparedness
Press Secretary and Communications Advisor
Office of the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities
Acting Director of Communications and Press Secretary
Office of the President of the Treasury Board
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Public Safety
Office of the Honourable Omar Alghabra
Minister of Transport, Ottawa
Media Relations for Public Safety Canada
Public Safety Canada
Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities
Privy Council Office
Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat
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