Ottawa Mayor frustrated with police checkpoints at Gatineau-Ottawa border
OTTAWA -- Mayor Jim Watson shares your frustrations with the travel restrictions at the Gatineau-Ottawa border, but he says there’s nothing he can do to remove the police checkpoints during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Quebec will ease the travel restrictions across the Outaouais on May 11, but the government will continue to deploy police checkpoints at the Ottawa-Gatineau border to stop non-essential trips across the Ottawa River.
Speaking on CTV Morning Live, the Mayor says he’s frustrated with the police checkpoints to limit non-essential travel at the Gatineau-Ottawa border.
“I respect their decision to do that on that side. I happen to disagree with it, we’re not doing it on our side,” Watson said Tuesday morning
“Quite frankly I don’t see how effective it is. You’ve got so many people that are going across the border checkpoints - they’re not operating all the time, so I suppose you could wait until the police go to go across the border.”
The Mayor says Ottawa won’t deploy police at the Ottawa-Gatineau border because it would be a “waste of our police resources.”
On Monday, Gatineau Mayor Maxime Pedneaud-Jobin said he supported the Quebec Government’s decision to continue to deploy police checkpoints to limit non-essential travel at the Ottawa-Gatineau border.
“Ottawa is a hot zone, we’re a cold zone and we have to protect ourselves,” Pedneaud-Jobin told CTV News Ottawa.
Pedneaud-Jobin says approximately 1,700 vehicles were stopped from crossing the Gatineau-Ottawa border last weekend because police deemed the trip non-essential.
Watson says he has indicated to Gatineau’s Mayor he doesn’t support the police checkpoints and travel restrictions, and Gatienau residents are free to come to Ottawa as long as they respect physical distancing requirements.
“We’re doing very well on this side of the border in terms of containing it. We’ve put in measures to ensure that our residents are protected,” Watson told CTV Morning Live.
“People from Gatineau are welcome to come over here as long as they respect the two metre physical distancing, and make sure that if they’re feeling ill they should not be travelling.”
Last week, Quebec Deputy Premier Genevieve Guilbault announced the travel restrictions will be eased in the Outaouais region on May 11, but will remain in place at the Ottawa-Gatineau border to limit the spread of COVID-19.
When questioned by CTV Morning Live host Leslie Roberts that he sound frustrated with the border restrictions, Watson said “I am.”
“I don’t see it working quite frankly, and as our police chief said he saw pictures of police officers sticking their heads in windows, that’s not respecting the two metres of physical distancing,” the Mayor said.
“At the end of the day, that’s their call. I happen to disagree it and that’s why I pushed hard to make sure that our province didn’t fall into that trap and think that’s solving a problem, because I don’t think it is.”