Am I the only Canadian outside Ottawa who thinks this bullshit in our national capital has gone on long enough?
Am I the only Canadian who recognizes that the mob now occupying the area around Parliament Hill does not have the interests of Canadians or Canadian democracy at heart?
Am I the only one who understands that our national media needs to stop treating this like a block party that has gotten slightly out of hand?
Obviously not. Although you might think so from much of the news coverage.
It is apparent to many of us that the occupation of Ottawa by a lawless and threatening mob needs to be brought to an end forthwith.
No country worth the name would allow its national capital to be seized and held by insurrectionists without a decisive reaction.
No sane country would willingly allow its national government to be brought to a standstill by insurrectionists – especially during an international crisis. This did not happen in Canada through two world wars or a protracted and at times violent national unity crisis.
No jurisdiction in the world would willingly allow the residents of any city to be subjected to such abuse.
No democracy should allow an insurrection by a group dedicated to the suspension of democracy – which the insurrectionists in Ottawa, despite their constant “freedom” rhetoric, clearly advocate through their stated goal of overthrowing our democratically elected government – to continue longer than it takes to put it down.
If the Ottawa Police Service, the civilian police department charged with enforcing Canada’s laws in the national capital outside the tiny area around Parliament Hill, is not able or willing to do the job, someone else needs to step up. That someone can only be the Government of Canada.
Conceding defeat, Ottawa Police Chief Peter Sloly said yesterday he doesn’t think his department can complete the task without military help. “This is a national issue, not an Ottawa issue,” he told city councillors.
It is obvious that many Canadians recognize the anti-democratic and dangerous impulses that drive the known organizers and many of the members of the mob now in control of downtown Ottawa.
But there are certainly many as-yet-unknown organizers and influencers, not to mention funders and strategists, many of whom are not from Canada or even in Canada.
Chief Sloly also said “we are now aware of a significant element from the United States in the funding, organizing” of the continuing disruptions. “They have converged in our city and there are plans for more to come.”
These foreign participants also need to be identified and rooted out. Only a national government can do that.
So the first thing that needs to happen is for the Government of Canada to bring an immediate halt to the insurrection and occupation of Ottawa.
That can start with the establishment of a perimeter around the downtown with all supplies of diesel fuel to vehicles inside that ring blocked immediately.
The insurrectionists and their enablers have had five days to fool around. Now they should be provided with an opportunity to find out.
The Emergencies Act, though not quite up to the job for which it was designed when it replaced the War Measures Act in 1988, is sufficient to resolve this crisis in the immediate term.
While it only gives the federal cabinet seven days to act after proclaiming an internal “Public Order Emergency” without convening Parliament – a problem for a minority government facing an imploding Opposition likely as we have seen in the past few hours to put political gain and extreme ideology ahead of the national interest – this should be enough to remove the immediate threat.
A large majority of Canadians would heave a sigh of relief.
Insurrectionists should be given 24 hours to leave the national capital and return to their homes, after which they will be forcibly removed and their vehicles impounded.
Since the police admit they are incapable of doing the job alone, the Armed Forces should be brought in to assist. CFB Petawawa is only 170 kilometres northwest of Ottawa.
Parliament can meet and vote on the next steps as required by the Emergencies Act when the immediate crisis has been resolved.
The next steps are more complicated, but should include a national Royal Commission, led by a judge, with the broad powers to investigate and compel testimony from participants, victims, police, and provincial elected and appointed officials.
The Royal Commission should look in particular at the funding and organization of this event, the foreign role if any, obstruction and encouragement by provincial officials with particular attention to the roles of the Ontario and Alberta provincial governments, encouragement of the insurrection by Members of Parliament, and the failure of civilian police forces to do their jobs.
In addition it should examine the flaws in current relevant legislation, in particular the Emergencies Act, but also firearms laws and regulation of the trucking industry.
This crisis makes it clear there is a need for a National Capital Region police force under the jurisdiction of the federal government capable of responding to threats and emergencies in a consistent and coherent way, including not permitting easily identified vehicles associated with threats of violence whose arrival had been expected for days to enter the core of the city.
There has been a lot of commentary to the effect that the loudmouths are losing and everything will be fine once the insurrectionists crawl back into their holes.
This is dangerously naïve. In fact, what we have witnessed in Ottawa seems to have been taken from the pages of a classic “colour revolution” playbook observed in other countries and other capitals. To a significant degree it has worked effectively.
It matters less whether the inspiration for this occupation was domestic, from the United States, or from some foreign capital farther afield than that the ability of our country to respond effectively to protect Canadian democracy was not up to the task.
If the leaders of the present government cannot bring themselves to respond decisively to this challenge – to say, as Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau famously did in October 1970, “just watch me” – perhaps they should contemplate the elder Mr. Trudeau’s equally renowned walk in the snow.