FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
OTTAWA - Horizon Ottawa condemns the deal struck between Mayor Jim Watson and convoy leader Tamara Lich calling it a “cop out” and “betrayal to the city.” The deal, made on Sunday night, essentially cedes all of Wellington Street to those occupying our city in exchange for their agreement to leave residential neighbourhoods in the downtown core. It notably completely leaves out Overbrook or Vanier where the Coventry "base camp" is located.
The deal seems to have been made without consultation with any of the councilors who represent the core or any other significant stakeholders, like the Algonquin nation. The deal also does nothing to ensure that convoy participants will not venture into residential neighbourhoods.
“This is a clear example of Jim Watson’s absolute lack of leadership.” Said Horizon Ottawa Board Member, Sam Hersh. “Striking a deal with convoy representatives is a dangerous precedent and legitimizes the leaders of this so-called movement who promote far-right extremism and skepticism around life-saving public health measures.”
Despite Watson’s lack of leadership, residents took matters into their own hands. Last Sunday, close to a thousand residents from across the city blockaded a convoy of about 30 trucks on the intersection of Bank and Riverside headed for downtown Ottawa to join the rest of the “Freedom Convoy.” As a result of the successful grassroots effort, the occupants of the trucks removed their hateful insignias and promised residents they would not go downtown to join the ongoing occupation.
“Watson would do well to watch and learn what residents are doing instead of chastising them for taking action.” Said Hersh. “While our mayor willingly and unilaterally decides to cede our city to occupiers, residents have been the only ones to take actual leadership.”
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