Thursday, February 17, 2022
Things are now getting weird and we're not sure where we are as a City.
We all know that there is a separation between City Hall and the Ottawa Police Services Board, intended to keep oversight of the police in civilian hands but not be directed by partisan politics.
Last night Mayor Jim Watson pushed through a vote at the delayed City Council meeting to remove the three City appointees to the Police Board and replace them with three others. Chairperson Diane Deans was replaced by councillor Eli El-Chantiry. Councillor Carol Anne Meehan was supposed to be replaced by councillor Jan Harder but that vote was lost. Meehan resigned anyway.
Councillor Rawlson King also resigned in support of Deans and was replaced by councillor Jeff Leiper.
Was this because of the abandonment of the City by the Police Board? The slowness in separating with the employment of former police chief Peter Sloly?
No, it's because Diane Deans went outside the force and hired former Waterloo police chief Matthew Torigian as acting chief, with a one year contract.
Torigan has now withdrawn from the job and won't ask for compensation from the City. He was to start in the next few days.
Then we have City Manager Steve Kanellakos, who said at yesterday's council meeting: ‘I know we've been criticized because "some 20-year old" took out an injunction.’
Kanellakos, of course, is refering to Xeni Li, the Ottawa resident who has humilated City Hall staff, the Police, and the City's solicitors with her successful injunction against honking.
Li's case has expanded with more neighbours joining the proposed class action. Her lawyer says you are welcome to join if you are within this map.
For her trouble, Li says one of the Trucker protesters tried to back into her with his pickup.
Speaking of maps, some environmental scientists have created one showing the impact of the diesel fumes on downtown, making the air 30 per cent worse than Mexico City.
We haven't heard a peep from Ottawa Fire Services, considering that it is impossible to bring a fire truck anywhere near the buildings where 25,000 people live downtown. Until now. They just made an announcement: Ottawa's eight new fire trucks are 60 centimetres shorter. What a relief.
By the by, if anyone thinks that a City official – elected or staff – is acting unethically, Ottawa’s Integrity Commissioner Karen Shepherd would love to hear from you. Click here to start a report.
Shepherd doesn't investigate the police though. If you think that someone on the Ottawa Police Services has not been doing their job, that would be the Office of the Independent Police Review Director. The complaint form is here.
As for material reality: last night was full of honking; a protester brought a boat to live in – maybe the Police can also ignore maritime law as a palate cleanser; the Police were denied permission to enter the the Coventry logistics central camp – the one on City-owned land – to hand out their fliers; and gas canisters were being delivered unmolested – including by a child carrying one as a backpack.
The City issued another idle threat. This time warning that if a person were arrested – as if – their pet would be taken into custody and considered relinquished after eight days.
But a day of total weirdness would not be complete without contributions from the Americans.
US election denier, My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell, promised to bring 10,000 of his pillows to the Trucker protest to help give them all a good night's sleep. Lindell was thwarted as he is not himself vaccinated and thus could not cross the US/Canada border.
Squad member Ilhan Omar, a Democratic Party member of Congress for Minnesota, was mad about yesterday’s Ottawa Citizen story where the owner of Stella Luna complained of harassment to her business after it was revealed she had donated to the Trucker protest.
‘I fail to see why any journalist felt the need to report on a shop owner making such a insignificant donation rather than to get them harassed. It’s unconscionable and journalists need to do better.’ – she Tweeted.
It is cold comfort, but at least unwanted US commentary is bipartisan.
We'll see you tomorrow – Martha and Darren
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