Canada must investigate foreign interference and support for anti-government protests in the country’s capital, New Democratic Party (NDP) leader Jagmit Singh said, while a convoy of truck drivers and supporters continues to wreak havoc in Ottawa.
Speaking to reporters Monday morning, Singh said the convoy’s stated intention was to “overthrow the government”.
“It is clear that this is not a protest; it is an act of attempt to overthrow the government and is funded by foreign interference and we must investigate and stop this – to stop the flow of this foreign interference, especially coming from [United] states, “said Singh, whose party has the fourth-largest seat in the House of Commons.
“We call for an urgent debate in parliament to respond to the convoy and the escalating tensions we are seeing,” he added.
A convoy of Canadian truck drivers and their supporters began arriving in Ottawa on Jan. 28 to denounce an order requiring truck drivers to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to cross Canada’s land border with the United States.
The so-called “Freedom Convoy” was organized by well-known far-right figures who support Islamophobic, anti-Semitic and other hateful views, the Canadian non-profit organization Anti-Hate Network said. Protesters marched through Ottawa on Jan. 29, while several vowed to stay in the city, home to about 1 million people, until all coronavirus restrictions are lifted in Canada.
A memorandum of understanding drawn up by some convoy organizers called on the Senate and the governor-general to agree to lift all such restrictions, including vaccine mandates, vaccine passports and coronavirus-related fines, or “to resign immediately.” to power. “
The convoy members were constantly honking their horns for several days, blocking residential streets, setting off fireworks late at night, harassing locals and generally disrupting daily life in the center of the capital.
On Monday afternoon, a judge in Ottawa issued a 10-day interim injunction banning convoy members from blowing horns near the city center. The decision came in response to a proposed class action filed on behalf of local residents. “The horn is not an expression of any great thought I know of,” Judge Hugh McLean told CBC News.
Meanwhile, over the weekend, GoFundMe announced it was cutting fundraising, which has raised several million dollars for the convoy because it violates the company’s terms. He said he would reimburse all contributions. “We now have evidence from law enforcement that the peaceful demonstration has previously turned into an occupation, with police reports of violence and other illegal activities,” GoFundMe said.
“Under no circumstances should any group in the United States fund destructive activities in Canada. Period. Point, “wrote Bruce Heyman on Twitter, who was the US ambassador to Canada to former President Barack Obama.
Under no circumstances should any group in the United States fund destructive activities in Canada. Period. Point.
– Bruce A. Heyman (@BruceAHeyman) February 6, 2022
But GoFundMe’s decision drew condemnation from right-wing leaders in the United States, including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who said the transition to “sending $ 9 million in donations” was deceptive and vowed to launch an investigation.
Back in Ottawa, residents described the ongoing protest as an “occupation,” and Mayor Jim Watson declared a state of emergency on Sunday.
The move, Watson said in a statement, “reflects the serious danger and threat to the safety and security of residents posed by ongoing demonstrations and emphasizes the need for support from other jurisdictions and levels of government.”
The Ottawa Police Department (OPS), which said at the start of the protest that its officers “avoided issuing tickets and towing vehicles[s] so as not to provoke confrontations with demonstrators “, he is widely criticized for his response to the convoy.
On Sunday, the OPS said seven people had been arrested, 100 tickets had been issued and more than 60 criminal investigations had been launched. That night the police began to remove gas and propane gas tanks used by protesters, Ottawa Judi Trin’s journalist reported.
The federal government has promised to provide support from the Federal Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) to the Ottawa Police. On Monday afternoon, Marco Mendicino, Canada’s public safety minister, praised the OPS for “stepping up enforcement action”, including ticketing and demolition.
“In the coming weeks, we will have to be really clear that we cannot find ourselves in a similar situation again,” Mendicino told a news conference. “It would be a terrible precedent to say that if you show up in the nation’s capital with heavy equipment and block the capital, you could impose a reckless change in our public policy.
But calls for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to do more to end the protest are growing.
“We need to see some kind of leadership, and that leadership didn’t exist at the federal level,” Singh of the NDP said Monday morning. “We have a crisis in our hands and we must immediately get the prime minister – representing the federal level, the federal government – to meet with the affected municipalities to offer all the help we can to solve this problem.
Other convoy protests took place in Vancouver, Quebec City and Toronto, Canada’s largest city, over the weekend, but participants left at the end of the demonstrations. The vast majority of Canadian truck drivers – about 85 percent – have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA), an industry advocacy group that condemned the convoy.