The latest on protests against COVID-19 measures in Ottawa and beyond

The latest on protests against COVID-19 measures in Ottawa and beyond

The latest developments on ongoing protests against COVID-19 restrictions and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government, both in Ottawa and various cities across Canada.

Truckers and supporters gather and discuss their next step after Ontario’s premier Doug Ford declared a state of emergency, giving the province sweeping laws and fines, as Truckers continue to block the access leading from the Ambassador Bridge, linking Detroit and Windsor, as truckers and their supporters continue to protest against COVID-19 vaccine mandates and restrictions, in Windsor, Ont., Friday, Feb. 11, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

OTTAWA — The latest developments on ongoing protests against COVID-19 restrictions and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government, both in Ottawa and various cities across Canada. All times eastern:

5 p.m.

The Ottawa-Carleton District School Board says it has received a report of harassment at an Ottawa school that may be connected to anti-vaccine mandate demonstrations in the city.

This morning, after dropping off their children at an elementary school just outside of downtown, two parents were approached by a pickup truck and verbally harassed by the driver, who videotaped the incident.

The occupants of the truck were asked to leave children alone, and the incident was reported to both the police and the school.

This follows an incident on Tuesday, when the board says a small white sports car drove slowly past a public school in the south end of the city and revved its engine while the driver appeared to give the middle finger.

There were markings on the car but school staff could not make out what they said, and it’s not clear if the vehicle was associated with the protests in Ottawa.

The board says staff are monitoring for suspicious behaviour, keeping extra staff outside during recess where appropriate, and plan to bring children indoors if they spot anything unusual.


4:45 p.m.

Ottawa police say they still have not received a definitive answer from the federal and provincial governments about whether they will supply the necessary reinforcements to put a safe stop to demonstrations in the capital.

Chief Peter Sloly says the Ottawa Police Service will continue to use the resources they already have as best they can.

Earlier today the prime minister said he did not accept the contention that the City of Ottawa had exhausted its tools and its resources.

Police board chair Coun. Diane Deans says those comments from the prime minister were “unfair.”

She says many believe the federal government was slow to recognize the demonstrations in Ottawa as a national crisis, and if the prime minister believes Ottawa has enough resources he should explain how that is the case.


4:40 p.m.

An Ontario court has granted an injunction preventing protesters opposed to COVID-19 measures from blocking the Ambassador Bridge border crossing in Windsor, Ont.

Chief Justice Geoffrey Morawetz says the injunction will take effect at 7 p.m.

He has asked a lawyer representing the Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Association, which applied for the injunction, to send him a draft of an order.

In submissions, the association said the border blockade that began earlier this week was costing the sector tens of millions of dollars each day, as it had forced plants to reduce production.

Meanwhile, a lawyer for an unnamed group of protesters argued that they were not blocking all lanes of the road, so an order was not necessary.


4:15 p.m.

Premier Scott Moe is asking protesters who are planning a demonstration at a Saskatchewan border crossing tomorrow to not obstruct other people’s freedoms.

Moe says trucks who cross the border are driving Saskatchewan’s economy by carrying goods to U.S. markets and bringing back materials to help run farms, canola crushing plants, potash mines and forestry mills.

Protesters are planning to demonstrate against COVID-19 mandates at the Regway border crossing tomorrow afternoon, making it the first border protest in the province since the trucker convoy arrived in Ottawa.

Moe is encouraging protesters to stand up in a way that respects other people’s rights and freedoms.


3:55 p.m.

The City of Ottawa today asked the Ontario Superior Court of Justice for an injunction against people continuing to violate city bylaws during the ongoing protest in the city by antigovernment demonstrators.

City solicitor David White says it is hoped the injunction will rein in the “widespread disregard” for the law by people participating in what police say is an illegal demonstration.

In particular the city is looking for an injunction against noise, idling, fireworks, open air fires, encroachments on highways and illegal use of parks and city facilities.


3:45 p.m.

The Anishinabek Nation is condemning the “appropriation and co-opting of Indigenous grassroots organizations” by protest convoy organizers.

Grand Council Chief Reg Niganobe says in a statement that it does not support an organizer’s call for protesters to observe Orange Shirt Day today and wear “Every Child Matters” shirts.

He says the Anishinabek Nation recognizes and honours Orange Shirt Day on Sept. 30 to draw awareness to injustices perpetrated against Indigenous children.

Niganobe says to associate the noble cause of Orange Shirt Day with hatred is deplorable and insulting to the spirit of its intent.

He says many Indigenous children were killed by communicable diseases that could have been prevented if they were afforded the proper public health measures such as masks and distancing under the protection and care of their own families.


3:30 p.m.

Canada’s agriculture and food industry called for an immediate end to the blockades, warning that transport of fruits and vegetables, meat and livestock shipments have already been seriously affected by disruptions at border crossings.

In an open letter signed by leaders of the country’s biggest agricultural organizations, the industry called on all levels of government to take action to immediately reopen critical trade and transport corridors.

The industry says $137 million worth of agriculture and food products are traded between Canada and the U.S. every day, with Coutts, Alta., Emerson, Man. and the Ambassador Bridge linking Ontario with Michigan being key trade routes.

The Canadian Produce Marketing Association says in a statement that the blockades are making shipping of perishable produce extremely difficult, impacting the Canadian economy and limiting Canadians’ access to fresh fruits and vegetables.

2:15 p.m.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says illegal border blockades must end and they will end — but he can’t say when.

At an afternoon news conference, Trudeau reminded Canadians that the federal government does not direct police, but he says the RCMP is seized with the protests.

Trudeau says unfortunately he cannot say when the protests might end because of fears of violence.

He says the blockades seeking to take Canada’s economy hostage and the collective COVID-19 fatigue everyone is feeling are separate issues.

He says the protesters’ frustrations with public health measures have been heard and it’s time for them to go home or face legal consequences.


1:30 p.m.

Canada’s public safety minister is to talk with the Manitoba government later today about an ongoing blockade near the Emerson border crossing in southern Manitoba.

Marco Mendicino says the province has reached out to his office for assistance, but he wouldn’t elaborate on what’s been asked of the federal government.

Dozens of protesters set up a blockade about two kilometres north of the Manitoba-U. S. border on Wednesday to show solidarity for similar protests across the country calling for an end to COVID-19 vaccine mandates and other pandemic restrictions.

The group parked tractors, trucks and trailers across Highway 75 to prevent traffic from going through, except for trucks transporting livestock.


12:10 p.m.

The Attorney General of Ontario has been granted intervener status in an application for an injunction to prevent protesters from blocking the Ambassador Bridge that connects Detroit and Windsor.

Superior Court Justice Geoffrey Morawetz granted the status in a hearing this afternoon.

The Democracy Fund — a civil liberties group — was also granted intervener status in the case.

A lawyer for the group says he would argue that the scope of the injunction should be narrowed.


11:05 a.m.

Ontario is declaring a state of emergency in response to the ongoing protests against public health measures in Ottawa and Windsor.

Premier Doug Ford says he will use legal measures to enact orders that make it clear that it’s illegal and punishable to block and impede the movement of goods, people and services along critical infrastructure.

Ford says that includes protecting international border crossings like the Ambassador Bridge that links Windsor to Detroit, 400-series highways, airports, ports, bridges and railways.

The premier notes that fines for non-compliance will be up to $100,000 and up to a year of imprisonment.


This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 11, 2022.

The Canadian Press