OTTAWA, Ontario – Canadian leftists this week began using war terms such as “occupation,” “siege,” and “terrorism” to describe the ongoing Freedom Convoy demonstration in Ottawa, alongside calls inviting authorities to consider the use of military intervention to end the protest.
During an “emergency debate” in the House of Commons on Monday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said demonstrators in Canada’s capital city “are trying to blockade our economy, our democracy, and our fellow citizens’ daily lives.” He framed the demonstrations as characterized by Nazi symbolism and confederate flags.
“The people of Ottawa don’t deserve to be harassed in their own neighborhoods,” he added. “They don’t deserve to be confronted with the inherent violence of a swastika flying on a street corner, or a Confederate flag, or the insults and jeers just because they’re wearing a mask.”
Minister of Public Safety Marco Mendicino said Ottawans are being “held hostage” by the Freedom Convoy. He accused the demonstration of manifesting widespread criminal intimidation and violence.
“Many [Ottawans], especially young women, feel unsafe,” Mendicino claimed. “They’ve been blockaded by an angry, loud, intolerant, and often violent crowd. … Peaceful protests do not make people afraid to leave their homes, and this convoy has done that, and in doing so it has crossed the line.”
He described the demonstration as lawless. He said, “We are doing what we can to end this convoy and reestablish law and order in Ottawa.”
Mendicino said swastikas and Confederate flags were common among Freedom Convoy demonstrators.
“The flying of Confederate flags [and] the demonstration of swastikas … are not isolated incidents,” he alleged. “It has been rampant.”
“The people of Ottawa are under siege,” communist New Democratic Party Leader Jagmeet Singh said during the House of Commons debate. He added, “This convoy protest is not a peaceful protest.” He described the demonstration as a display of “lawlessness, “mob rule,” and “occupation.” He accused demonstrators of “harassing” Ottawans.
“The convoy’s been about hateful symbols,” he claimed, “like a Nazi flag and the Confederate flag.”
Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson has publicly used the terms “occupy” and “occupation” dozens of times across the duration of the protest. He praised Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for considering the use of “additional resources” to “put an end to the ongoing occupation in Ottawa’s downtown core.”
I want to thank @JustinTrudeau @BillBlair @marcomendicino for the constructive discussions this afternoon on the next steps we need to take together, including the commitment of additional resources, to put an end to the ongoing occupation in Ottawa’s downtown core.
— Jim Watson (@JimWatsonOttawa) February 8, 2022
Watson described the sight of children playing in bouncy castles amid the Freedom Convoy demonstration as “disturbing” in an interview with CTV News on Sunday.
Diane Deans, an Ottawa city councilor who announced her bid for the city’s mayorship, labeled the Freedom Convoy a “nationwide insurrection” and “threat to our democracy” during a “special meeting” conducted via Zoom with local authorities on Saturday. She said demonstrators are “terrorizing” Ottawa residents.
“We cannot allow this kind of terrorism in our community to continue in this way,” she remarked.
Ottawa city councillor Diane Deans calls the peaceful Freedom Convoy a “nationwide insurrection” and a “threat to our democracy.” pic.twitter.com/gr9fiAaD2O
— The Post Millennial (@TPostMillennial) February 6, 2022
On Tuesday, Ottawa Deputy Police Chief Steve Bell described the demonstration as an “unlawful occupation” during a “virtual press conference.” He characterized the protesters as “highly determined and volatile.”
“Our message to demonstrators remains the same,” he concluded while delivering prepared remarks, “don’t come, and if you do, there will be consequences, including financial consequences for your illegal and unlawful behavior.”
CTV News asked Ottawa’s mayor about a military option to end the protest. “What options do we have right now?” CTV’s Katie Griffin asked. “Are you at the point where you have to request the military to come in?”
Many Canadian news media outlets have openly inquired about the use of military personnel in response to the Freedom Convoy. The Toronto Star published an article entitled, “Call in the army? Here’s how the military could end the truckers’ protest.” The Globe and Mail similarly considered the use of military forces to end the demonstration in a column entitled, “How Canadian law allows for military assistance in ending the Ottawa occupation.”
The Globe and Mail further called the Freedom Convoy “sedition” in an op-ed.
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