Ottawa police chief resigns amid 'Freedom Convoy' protests
The chief resigned amid heightened criticism regarding the police's handling of the trucker protests that have paralyzed the nation's capital.
After an outpouring of criticism for his department's handling of the trucker demonstrations that have paralyzed Canada's capital for the last two weeks, Ottawa's chief officer resigned on Tuesday.
According to an unidentified Canadian federal government official, Police Chief Peter Sloly's departure is due to his poor management of the "Freedom Convoy" protests against COVID-19 vaccination regulations, which left many in the city and country asking why police hadn't done more to intervene.
On January 22, a mass protest in Canada's capital of Ottawa began against vaccine mandates and has been ongoing for nearly 3 weeks.
Last week, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau declared that it had to stop.
Canada's public safety minister said police will adopt much tougher responses against demonstrators and that blockades at border crossings, airports, and across the city of Ottawa will be prohibited.
Trudeau has ruled out sending the military to disperse the protests, but he intends to scare truckers with asset freezes and other steps that would jeopardize their livelihoods.
“Consider yourselves warned,” Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said Monday. “If your truck is used in these blockades, your corporate accounts will be frozen. The insurance on your vehicle will be suspended. Send your rigs home.”
The Canadian Civil Liberties Associations condemned the decision, claiming that the demonstrations did not warrant such a strong reaction. Lori Williams, a political science professor at Mount Royal University in Calgary, told Reuters the powers were "enormous," citing a fear of more problems.
PM Trudeau invokes Federal Emergencies Act
Two days ago, Justin Trudeau invoked the Federal Emergencies Act for the first time in history, to end what some officials described as a "blockade."
The Act gives authorities a variety of temporary powers, including the ability to order tow truck firms to remove the semi-trucks that are now parked across Ottawa. To yet, several towers have refused to pull the vehicles away.
The emergency powers also enable harsher punishments for anybody found breaking the peace during the protests, including fines of up to Cnd$5,000 ($3,930) and possible jail sentences of up to five years.