Jim Watson, the mayor of Canada’s capital, declared a state of emergency on Sunday and a former US ambassador warned America’s neighbor against interference in its domestic affairs as protesters opposing Covid-19 restrictions continued to paralyze Ottawa.
Mayor Jim Watson said the declaration shows that other government levels and jurisdictions must go along with it. This could help the city purchase equipment for frontline workers and first responders by giving it additional procurement powers and allowing it to better deliver services.
On Sunday, tens of thousands of protesters converged on Ottawa once again, joining a hundred who had remained since last weekend. There’s been a non-stop blaring of horns, traffic disruptions, and harassment in Ottawa, and residents are furious that there’s no end in sight after the police chief called it a “siege” that he couldn’t handle.
Many US Republicans have supported the “freedom truck convoy”, including former President Donald Trump, who described Justin Trudeau as a “far left lunatic” who has “destroyed Canada with insane Covid mandates”.
Bruce Heyman, a former US ambassador under President Barack Obama, tweeted, “No group from the USA should fund disruptive activities in Canada under any circumstance.”
Several prominent US Republicans such as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis complained and vowed investigations after crowdfunding site GoFundMe announced it would refund most of the millions raised by demonstrators protesting in the Canadian capital.
Toronto, the largest city in Canada, had a much smaller demonstration controlled and later ended by police who set up roadblocks and prevented any vehicles from reaching the provincial legislature.
It has outraged many Canadians that these demonstrators behaved rudely. Some of the protesters set off fireworks on the National War Memorial grounds Friday night. Others waved flags and signs with swastikas this past weekend and compared vaccine mandates to fascism.
In addition to calling for the removal of Trudeau’s government, protesters are also demanding the removal of all mandates and Covid-19 restrictions. However, Trudeau’s government is responsible for a very small number of the measures, most of which are imposed by provincial governments.