Ottawa mayor declares state of emergency over truckers clogging Canada’s capital

Ottawa mayor declares state of emergency over truckers clogging Canada’s capital

The mayor of Ottawa declared a state of emergency Sunday to deal with truckers who’ve clogged the Canadian capital’s downtown to protest COVID-19 rules.

Mayor Jim Watson said the declaration would get supplies and equipment to Ottawa Police faster.

“We’re in the midst of a serious emergency, the most serious emergency our city has ever faced, and we need to cut the red tape to get these supplies available to our police officers and to our public works staff,” said Mr. Watson, according to CBC television.

Officials said they planned to ramp up enforcement in the coming days. CBC reports persons who provide “material aid” to protesters, such as fuel, could be arrested.

Truckers have been camped out in Ottawa for 10 days after traveling to the capital in a convoy from Vancouver.

The demonstration started as a protest against a rule requiring Canadian truckers to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 if they want to avoid a 14-day quarantine when they cross the border from the U.S. However, the protest expanded into a general fight against pandemic requirements.

The state of emergency does not give police more powers but should make the city more nimble in its response, according to the mayor.

“Declaring a state of emergency reflects the serious danger and threat to the safety and security of residents posed by the ongoing demonstrations and highlights the need for support from other jurisdictions and levels of government,” Mr. Watson said. “It also provides greater flexibility within the municipal administration to enable the city of Ottawa to manage business continuity for essential services for its residents and enables a more flexible procurement process, which could help purchase equipment required by frontline workers and first responders.”

For more information, visit The Washington Times COVID-19 resource page.