Ottawa police chief vows biker convoy won't be repeat of 'Freedom Convoy'
Ottawa police chief vows biker convoy won't be repeat of 'Freedom Convoy'
Ottawa’s interim police chief says he has heard community concerns as the city braces for another convoy protest, vowing it won’t be a repeat of the ‘Freedom Convoy’ from earlier this year.
Steve Bell began his council remarks on Wednesday by directly addressing the community ahead of the ‘Rolling Thunder’ convoy.
“We know that you are still healing from the disruption and criminality the unlawful protest brought to our streets,” he said. “We understand that this had an impact on all residents and a pronounced impact on many in our marginalized communities.
“Your police service will not allow for unsafe or unlawful conditions that could lead to another unlawful protest.”
Mayor Jim Watson said the city’s preparation for the protest has been “all-consuming,” and he believes they are better organized than prior to the truckers’ convoy.
“We have all hands on deck on this,” he told reporters. “No one wants a repeat of what happened during the truckers’ convoy, and that’s why I believe that we are more proactive and better-prepared to deal with the issue.”
Police say they will set up an exclusion zone downtown where no protest vehicles will be allowed. It's a different tack than authorities took during the 'Freedom Convoy' protests earlier this year, when hundreds of trucks took over downtown streets for three weeks.
“Controlled intersections, new no parking and no stopping areas, road closures, vehicle towing and ticketing will be part of the enforcement strategy,” Bell said.
However, the roads are not closed. Bell said residential and business traffic, pedestrians, cyclists and public transit will be allowed. Heavy city trucks, fencing and officers will help control access to certain areas, Bell said.
The biker convoy is scheduled to arrive on Friday, with many of the main events scheduled for Saturday. That includes a ride that will go through a portion of the city and leave via Nicholas Street to Highway 417.
Many participants will be staying in downtown hotels. Some other are gathering at a site on Eagleson Road, which police say will see possible traffic delays. There is also a church in Vanier that may host a service on Sunday.
“At that point, they have said they will depart the city following their events,” Bell said.
Bell said it’s too early to say how many people are coming, but organizers have said they expect more than 500 motorcycles. Bell said there is no intention to fence off the National War Memorial, but officers will be in and around the area.
Police have warned people to expect traffic delays in and around the exclusion zone. Ottawa bylaw officials say they are ready to ticket anyone who violates rules around parking violations, motor vehicle noise, open-air fires, littering and other offences.
Bell said people can expect a large police presence, including a “significant increase” of OPP and RCMP officers.
“We’re very alive to the concerns of the community, and our need to be present on foot, readily available within our communities so that they know they’re safe where they live,” Bell said.
Bell called the planned route the least intrusive way for them to move in and out of the city impacting the smallest number of residents.
“In an ideal world, we wouldn’t have to plan around this at all. But we do,” he said.
“Some coordination of this in order to be able to have a starting point, a roll through and then ultimately, what we all want, an exit point, is important,” he added. “A disorganized, disarrayed group of bikers in different groups roaming through the city would be more problematically challenging for us.”
Bell also reminded participants that they will be held accountable for their actions.
“We see a lot of conflict online over this event. Much of it from people and groups behind keyboards far away who want to drive discord. I absolutely do not want to see that conflict on our streets,” he said. “This is an open and peaceful city.”
An organizer of this weekend's event is promising a peaceful demonstration. Neil Sheard told Newstalk 580 CFRA's Evan Solomon on Tuesday that the rally is meant to "take back" the national war memorial after authorities erected fencing around it during the Freedom Convoy.
However, one of the speakers listed at a rally and march on Friday is a prominent figure in protests against COVID-19 mandates whom the Canadian Anti-Hate Network says has a history of bigoted comments, including Holocaust denial.
Sheard said that man, Chris Sky, has "nothing to do with this."
RCMP joins the Ottawa police response
The Ottawa Police Services Board has granted more than 800 RCMP officers special constable status to work in Ottawa during the Rolling Thunder event.
The service requested the approval to appoint Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers with special constable status, which provides the officers with law enforcement capabilities within the city.
The board approved up to 200 additional RCMP officers for the Rolling Thunder event, along with extending the special constable status for 631 officers previously sworn-in, in February 2022.
All 831 appointments are valid until July 4.
Bell told the board the officers would be sworn in ahead of time in case they are needed during the protest.
"This is one of the new and improved ways we're looking at approaching these demonstrations, these events, to be able to make sure that we have the resources properly sworn in ahead of time so that we're not in a reactive response if something does need to be actioned as we move through the weekend," Bell said Wednesday evening.
Chair Eli El-Chantiry and vice-chair Suzanne Valiquette were granted approval by the board to approval any additional requests for special constable status in Ottawa.
A report for the board says the deadline of July 4 is in anticipation of additional events and demonstrations in Ottawa. Special constable status appointments usually last for five years.
With files from CTV News Ottawa's Josh Pringle
Ottawa Top Stories
CTVNews.ca Top Stories
Conservative leadership candidate Pierre Poilievre joined the final leg of a march led by a Canadian soldier charged for speaking out against COVID-19 vaccine requirements that has sparked promises -- and fears -- of a new wave of protests in the capital.
Ottawa protest organizer Tamara Lich will spend at least five more nights in custody in Ottawa after she was arrested in Alberta for allegedly breaching bail conditions.
Two of Canada's largest airlines announced steps this week to cope with delays, cancellations and service issues. Head to CTVNews.ca to read about the changes announced by Air Canada and WestJet.
The Conservative Party of Canada says approximately 675,000 members will be eligible to vote in this year's leadership race.
Researchers examining the threat of emerging COVID-19 strains predict Omicron BA.5 will account for nearly 70 per cent of cases in much of the country by Canada Day.
The Supreme Court of Canada says the expanded rules to further prevent a sexual assault complainant's past from being used against them in a trial are 'constitutional in their entirety.'
As stocks continue to slump, it can be easy to let your emotions take over if you've got money invested in the market. But experts agree that there's no need to panic if you're invested in the right type of portfolio with the right level of risk.
More than a month after Canada reported a shortage of baby formula for allergic infants, Health Canada says supplies will continue to be limited during the summer even with new shipments on the horizon.
Animal rescue groups are criticizing a new policy by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency that will ban the import of dogs from more than 100 countries.
The spouse of the gunman in the Nova Scotia mass shooting will testify mid-July before a public inquiry, but she won't face direct questions from lawyers representing victims' families.
As Claire Mahaney-Lion dropped her son off at school this morning, she questioned the reasons behind scheduling a school day that would last fewer than two hours.
Saint John is having its dog day. The host city of the 2022 Memorial Cup is celebrating after the Saint John Sea Dogs bested the Hamilton Bulldogs 6-3 in front of a capacity crowd during Wednesday's championship game at TD Station.
Ontario drivers could soon see the end of "unfair" insurance policies with premiums based on postal codes, Premier Doug Ford said Thursday.
Ontario gas prices are about to take a huge drop and one expert says it will be 'well worth waiting' if drivers can hold off on filling up.
If you are staying in the city for the Canada Day long weekend, there are several road closures to keep in mind.
Consumer rights advocates are demanding Air Canada provide compensation to many of the hundreds of thousands of passengers whose summer flights it cancelled.
Organizers of a Montreal Caribbean festival are looking for clarity from police as to why a large group of officers interrupted their pre-festival barbecue on Saint-Jean Baptiste Day.
Two people have been reported dead and one person is in critical condition after a fire broke out in a home in Longueuil on Montreal's South Shore.
With Health Canada's permission, street drugs can now be consumed inside Safe Health Site Timmins.
Sault Ste. Marie Fire Services is helping seniors protect themselves against fire. The Assisting Seniors Awareness Program or Project ASAP is focussed on those 65 or older, and still living independently.
While the main suspect still hasn’t been caught, two people have been charged in connection with a murder that took place June 24 on Manitoulin Island.
If you were one of the thousands of Londoners who bought gas on Thursday— you overpaid.
On any given day it’s not hard to find out what’s happening in the major, mainstream sports. But what about those sports that don’t have the same high profile, star players, or commercial sponsors as the likes of hockey, baseball, or golf?
Police continue to investigate after a fatal collision involving a cyclist claimed the life of a 17-year-old from Crediton.
AMC working to remove Arlen Dumas after probe found his conduct amounted to 'workplace sexual harassment'
The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs is working to remove Arlen Dumas as Grand Chief of the organization.
After working for more than two decades, Manitoba firefighters say the world's governing body on cancer research and prevention is finally acknowledging firefighters' cancer risk.
Security measures are expected to be beefed up at two Winnipeg locations Friday when Canada Day events get underway.
The eviction deadline for people living at an encampment at Victoria and Weber Streets in Kitchener has come and gone, but residents of the property say they’re not moving.
A miscommunication involving a COVID-19 booster shot has left a Kitchener woman concerned for her 86-year-old mother.
The news comes just two days after the City launched a naming contest for the young bird, which it said was the first offspring of Victoria Park swans, Otis and Ophelia.
A southeast Calgary bank was evacuated Thursday afternoon, when hazardous materials crews arrived on scene.
Emergency crews are on the scene of a fatal crash that took place late Thursday afternoon.
Thousands of Calgarians are ready to ring in Canada’s 155th birthday as festivities are set to be held across the city, but not everyone is calling this a ‘celebration.’
Saskatchewan's social services minister announced plans to cut funding to Saskatoon's permanent downtown shelter during a talk radio appearance.
A video captured by a Saskatchewan man shows a kayaker paddling away from a developing tornado.
It’s been 25 years since Saskatchewan’s last residential school closed, but some are still healing.
An often-vandalized memorial featuring the face of former MP Frank Oliver will no longer be displayed in front of Edmonton's Fairmont Hotel Macdonald.
A damning new report from Alberta's auditor general finds government ministries failed to include understandable, relevant and comparable data on COVID-19 in year-end reporting.
A man is facing multiple charges in connection with a rash of arsons in the Alberta Avenue area, and police are calling him a key suspect in a complex investigation.
The number of people with COVID-19 in B.C. hospitals remained at 273 on Thursday, still slightly above the lowest total seen in 2022 so far.
British Columbia's police complaint commissioner has ordered a review by a retired judge into a disciplinary decision against an officer who allegedly disobeyed orders during an investigation.
Multiple crashes involving bears in a B.C. national park earlier this month prompted a crackdown on drivers in the area, according to the B.C. Highway Patrol and Parks Canada.
Summer is officially here as the first long weekend of the season approaches. The last week has been filled with active summer weather and heading into the weekend the story isn’t much different.
Live performance kicks off at noon on the main stage in Wascana Park with opening ceremonies, followed by a variety of entertainment:
The Saskatchewan Roughriders have 12 players on either the one or six game injured lists and 10 roster players listed as ‘out’ or ‘questionable’ leading into Saturday’s week four rematch versus Montreal.