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Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson

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OTTAWA (LifeSiteNews) – The Mayor of Ottawa, Canada’s capital city, has declared a state of emergency as the Freedom Convoy protests head into their second week. 

In another attempt to crack down on the overwhelming peaceful protests against COVID measures, Ottawa mayor Jim Watson declared a state of emergency on Sunday afternoon while claiming the Freedom Convoy protest is “the most serious emergency our city has ever faced.” 

“The state of emergency gives our staff and our city a few extra tools to speed up things like procurement,” Watson told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) on Sunday.  

“We’re in the midst of a serious emergency, the most serious emergency our city has ever faced, and we need to cut the red tape to get these supplies available to our police officers and to our public works staff.” 

Despite the declaration of a state of emergency, the Ottawa police’s press release from Sunday shows that just seven arrests for minor offences were carried out, even though tens of thousands of protesters were present over the weekend.  

According to the CBC, city solicitor David White told city councilors on Saturday that declaring a state of emergency “does little” in terms of legal authority and does not grant more power to the city’s police.  

Nevertheless, Ottawa police told the public that anyone giving “material aid” to the protestors, such as fuel, could be fined and arrested under this new emergency order. 

Immediately following the announcement, the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, one of the foremost legal groups in the country, released a statement saying they had taken legal action against the city as there is “no basis” for declaring a state of emergency.  

“The Justice Centre today challenged Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson over his accusation that peacefully protesting truckers are ‘a danger of major proportions that could result in serious harm to persons or substantial damage to property,’” reads the groups statement 

“Mayor Watson has not divulged publicly what facts he might rely on to justify his assessment of truckers as posing ‘a danger of major proportions,’ in light of their law-abiding behaviour since arriving in Ottawa more than one week ago,” added the group.  

“This is a truly disturbing overreach and misuse of emergency powers,” chimed in lawyer Nicholas Wansbutter. 

“There is no factual basis to support the Mayor’s declaration of an emergency.”