By: Jim Watson, Mayor of Ottawa
I understand many Ottawa residents and Canadians as a whole were angered by my decision to negotiate with the convoy leaders, because it signified them as a legitimate political movement rather than a gang of criminals occupying our city and harassing our people.
And I get that. Really I do. The choice to use Doug Ford’s former chief-of-staff to arrange a backchannel with a group of people calling for the overthrow of our democratically elected government was not one I made lightly. But I believe it was worth legitimizing them, strengthening their resolve and harming our enforcement efforts if it meant that almost none of the trucks parked in residential areas would move.
The people living in these areas have been through hell. Constant honking, verbal harassment, the implied threat of physical violence. So if it meant I had to swallow some pride and do what had to be done to ensure this situation basically continues as is, well then so be it.
I didn’t become mayor just because I like cutting ribbons and wearing that big medallion thing. I mean I do. I really do like wearing it. But I became mayor to keep people safe. I did it to ensure prosperity. I did it to make hard decisions, like whether to ensure the Ottawa Police have a strategic plan to end this charade, or whether I should publicly negotiate with a group of anti-democractic thugs who represent the worst of our country while claiming to be the only “real Canadians.” In case you’re wondering, I chose the latter.
So if anyone has a problem with my actions, I say to them: I understand. And you are free to express your voice at the ballot box during the next election. Or by marching violently through the streets and making insane demands, in which case I will absolutely work with you and give in to you almost immediately.
Also please remember, it’s all resigned Police Chief Sloly’s fault. Blame him.