Ottawa’s mayor is calling on several Conservative MPs and a senator from Saskatchewan to apologize for praising the anti-vaccine mandate protest that has brought the capital’s downtown to a standstill for close to a week.
A photo shows MPs Warren Steinley, Kevin Waugh, Andrew Scheer, Fraser Tolmie, Rosemarie Falk and Sen. Denise Batters grinning — some giving the thumbs-up — in front of one of the protest trucks, which have been barricading roads and honking horns in the city almost non-stop since Saturday.
On Twitter, Waugh said a few of Saskatchewan caucus members “went to show their appreciation for the hardworking, patriotic truckers who have kept our supply chains healthy & grocery shelves stocked for the past two years.”
He added, “it’s great to see Canadians championing freedom on Parliament Hill.”
Mayor Jim Watson responded on Twitter by calling the action an “absolute disgrace,” saying residents have been harassed by protesters and businesses have been forced to close.
On Wednesday, Ottawa’s police chief said all options are on the table, including calling in the military, to end the ongoing demonstration that was being called an “occupation” by some city councillors.
Police estimate they have already spent more than $3 million to manage the protest and respond to emergencies. In comparison, the Canada 150 celebrations on Parliament Hill in 2017 cost Ottawa police about $1.5 million.
There have been calls for more than $10 million raised by protest organizers on the crowdfunding site GoFundMe to go toward the costs of policing the demonstrators and reparations for their behaviour.
GoFundMe says it has paused and is reviewing the fundraising campaign to ensure it complies with its terms of service.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 3, 2022.