Occupation of Downtown Ottawa

Letter from the Glebe Annex Community Association on the occupation of downtown Ottawa

February 9, 2022

Dear Mayor Watson, Premier Ford; Yasir Naqvi, MP; Ministers Blair and Mendicino, Joel Harden, MPP; Councillors Menard, McKenney and Deans:

The Glebe Annex Community Association (GACA) works to represent the interests of those who live in Glebe Annex in Ottawa, improve our neighbourhood, and bring those who live and work in our community closer together.

We are writing to express our gravest concern over the occupation of Ottawa that began on Jan. 25th, and ask you to take concrete measures to bring it to an end. The actions by the protesting truckers and their supporters go well beyond legitimate, lawful political protest. This situation is unique in recent Canadian history in that ordinary residents of residential neighbourhoods are being targeted for political ends.

The protesting truckers and their supporters have violated basic rights and undermined security in Centretown and other neighbourhoods in Ottawa, in addition to harming the environment. Here are a few of our concerns:

  • The Glebe Annex is within a walk of downtown Ottawa. Due to ongoing harassment from protesters, many women and members of minorities do not feel safe walking on the streets of downtown Ottawa. As just one recent example, a protester spat at and swore at a young woman in Centretown as she was walking back to her home in the Glebe Annex. It has become common for women and minorities to ask neighbours to escort them when they need to go outside.
  • Medical personnel have been harassed and told not to wear their scrubs to work.
  • It is difficult for older adults, those living with disabilities, and those who are homeless and using the shelter system to access the supports they need.
  • The blaring of air horns at all hours is affecting the hearing and mental health of residents. Those who live on the street cannot sleep at night.
  • Several businesses in the downtown have been forced to close. Some fear that they will lose their jobs or businesses.
  • There have been several incidents of racism and hate speech. We appreciate that Ottawa Police Service are laying charges in some cases.
  • The constant running of trucks so that owners can blow their horns and sleep in their cabs is having a negative effect on the environment and affecting those with respiratory conditions.

We want to add our voice to the many concerned citizens and organizations who have come forward already.

We appreciate the hard work of Ottawa Municipal Police, including efforts to step up enforcement, and City Council’s recent move to increase fines for violations such as honking and idling vehicles. We are encouraged by the declaration of emergency by the City of Ottawa on February 6th and we fully support Mayor Watson’s request that the provincial and federal governments deploy an additional 1800 security personnel to Ottawa to help put an end to the occupation. We urge all parties to take action as expeditiously as possible, given the urgent need to end this occupation.

Residents of our community and the National Capital Region have a right to live without fear of harassment, intimidation, and threats.

Sincerely,

Sue Stefko
President
Glebe Annex Community Association