Joint command centre to run protest response as Ottawa police chief resigns

In the wake of the Ottawa police chief's resignation, three levels of policing have come together to jointly run the response to the protests, now in their third week, in the capital. 

Interim police chief announced as Peter Sloly officially resigns

Chair of Ottawa police board criticizes response to ‘carnival of chaos’ downtown

2 years ago
Duration 1:04
Featured VideoCoun. Diane Deans, chair of the Ottawa Police Services Board, criticized the Ottawa Police Service for failing to quell the ongoing protests despite having weeks to put together an enforcement plan.

The latest developments for Day 19 of the protest:

  • Steve Bell announced as interim police chief. 
  • Ottawa Police Services board confirmed Chief Peter Sloly's resignation. 
  • Ottawa city council's special meeting is delayed again.

In the wake of the Ottawa police chief's resignation, three levels of policing have come together to jointly run the response to the protests, now in their third week, in the capital. 

Deputy Chief Steve Bell has been appointed the interim police chief and will work alongside the RCMP and the Ontario Provincial Police as part of the policing command centre co-ordinating response. 

"An integrated command centre has now been set up so that the RCMP and the OPP can share and assume command and control over the enforcement operations that will be necessary to bring about public safety on the streets of Ottawa again," Marco Mendicino, the federal minister of public safety said Tuesday. 

The command centre has brought resources the Ottawa police requested at the beginning of last week, Bell said. Last Monday, former chief Peter Sloly had called for an additional 1,800 officers to support the local police response. 

Protest response has cost the City of Ottawa $14.1 million, which includes the cost of the Ottawa Police Service, and the OPP, as well as city services. It does not include the help from the RCMP, according to the board's chief administrative officer.

That reportedly breaks down to $785,000 per day, but that number is set to rise as police receive the resources they've requested.  

Overnight, Ottawa is seeing 150 protesters on the streets with 360 vehicles left in the city, acting deputy chief Trish Ferguson told a meeting of the Ottawa Police Services Board on Tuesday. 

That number is down from police's estimate of 400 trucks in the city going in to last weekend. When trucks are removed, Bell says new trucks are not being permitted to take their place.

Chair of the board Diane Deans called on the interim chief to ensure the new expertise and officers from the RCMP and OPP expedite the process of encouraging protesters to leave the city. 

"I need to see the difference that it makes. Our patience is wearing thin. We need everybody working together," Deans told Bell.

She also officially announced Sloly's resignation as the city's police chief at the meeting. 

WATCH | Public safety minister comments on Ottawa police chief's resignation

Public safety minister comments on Ottawa police chief's resignation

2 years ago
Duration 1:54
Featured VideoPublic Safety Minister Marco Mendicino says Peter Sloly's resignation was a personal decision and the federal government will work with the Ottawa Police to put an end to the convoy protests.

"It is with a heavy heart I am announcing I have stepped down," Sloly said in a resignation letter posted on Twitter late Tuesday afternoon. 

His resignation comes amid allegations of bullying and volatile behaviour, sources tell CBC News, which has reportedly damaged relations with senior leadership, and has compromised the force's ability to cope with the truck occupation.

WATCH | Reaction from federal minister, Sloly's former boss:

Emergency preparedness minister reacts to news of Ottawa police chief's resignation

2 years ago
Duration 2:11
Featured VideoEmergency Preparedness Minister Bill Blair says the federal government will continue to work with local police to put an end to the convoy protests.

Coun. Catherine McKenney, who has been active in calling for more police enforcement in downtown neighbourhoods, said there has been a growing call for a change in police leadership and they weren't surprised by the move. 

"People were seeing a paralysis, really, in terms of response to what was happening with the illegal occupation and every day in terms of enforcement and the lack of enforcement of any of our laws or bylaws in the occupied areas," McKenney said. 

However, McKenney also acknowledged the difficulty of having a key part of the city's leadership resign "in a time of crisis."

WATCH | City councillor not surprised by resignation of police chief amid protest 'paralysis:' 

City councillor not surprised by resignation of police chief amid protest ‘paralysis’

2 years ago
Duration 1:29
Featured VideoCoun. Catherine McKenney says residents were upset about a lack of police enforcement that allowed protesters to occupy residential neighbourhoods, criticism that ultimately led to calls for change in police leadership.

Some vehicle movement

Some protesters have relocated their trucks out of residential areas in Ottawa to a more central location, but others say they plan to stay put, showing the lack of consensus among organizers of the occupation now in day 19.

The agreement was announced Sunday between Mayor Jim Watson and organizer Tamara Lich, with protesters asked to limit parking trucks to a stretch of Wellington Street between Elgin Street and the Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway.

Ottawa police did not provide an update as to how many vehicles had relocated by Monday evening.

Two police officers talk to someone on a city street in winter. Someone sticks their head out of the window of a truck cab behind them to listen.
Police liaison officers speak to protesters during their ongoing demonstration in Ottawa. (Patrick Doyle/Reuters)

Some streets were clear of trucks Tuesday morning and because of this, OC Transpo routes 10, 11 and 16 could get closer to their original schedules using streets such as Bronson and Gladstone avenues.

The COVID-19 vaccine clinic at the University of Ottawa is open again.

Other streets were still blocked and services and businesses closed, including in residential areas where people have reported harassment and abuse since the occupation of streets around Parliament Hill began Jan. 28.

While many protesters have flocked to Ottawa to voice their opposition to vaccine mandates, others have said their goal is to force the dissolution of the elected federal government, or to create a logistical nightmare that forces the federal government to repeal all mandates.

Watson had acknowledged that given the large number of trucks in the downtown core, it could take up to three days to move the ones that are willing. 

Some protesters have indicated they don't plan to to relocate, despite the agreement.

WATCH | The protesters not swayed by recent developments:

Protesters unmoved by efforts to clear encampments

2 years ago
Duration 1:51
Featured VideoProtesters in Ottawa say neither the implementation of the Emergencies Act or an agreement with the city are enough to move them away from Parliament Hill.

What's next under the Emergencies Act?

The federal government now has sweeping powers in the City of Ottawa under the Emergencies Act.

The key question remains if and how they'll actually be used on people and vehicles occupying streets near Parliament Hill while other powers have sat seemingly unused.

One power under the act, invoked by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Monday, gives the federal government the ability to compel essential service providers to fulfil their contracts.

The City of Ottawa has had trouble convincing the companies it has under contract to tow any vehicles out of the protest zone. At least one company has already been threatened for moving an illegal structure at the request of convoy organizers.

Councillor says protests cannot erode ‘the rule of law’ as federal government invokes Emergencies Act

2 years ago
Duration 1:13
Featured VideoCoun. Matt Luloff says it’s reasonable to have an “adult, mature” conversation about pandemic restrictions, but occupying the downtown core is not the way to accomplish this.

"It's unfortunate, as a private company, we have been put in the middle of this when it's really a [government] issue," Ibrahim Masri, owner of Alliance Towing told CBC. His company didn't move that shed.

He said tow truck companies have been caught between the public who want them to tow illegally parked vehicles and those who are part of the convoy. At the same time, COVID-19 mandates and lockdowns have also put a strain on his business.

"It's put a lot of emotional stress, a lot of financial stress, a lot of uncertainty. It's really left a scar."

City council meeting delayed again

There was supposed to be a special city council meeting on Tuesday afternoon, which had already been delayed once, but a late-morning memo to city councillors moved the meeting to Wednesday.

WATCH | City councillor, military veteran on the use of the Emergencies Act:

Police in Ottawa are surrounded by protesters

2 years ago
Duration 1:07
Featured VideoPolice attempt to stop organizers from putting up a tent on Wellington Street in downtown Ottawa, but back down after being surrounded by a large crowd.

Another recent city development is the granting of an injunction to the city on Monday that covers a lot of the same activities as existing bylaws.

An injunction against honking horns downtown has not been followed by all protesters, with little immediate action. Police have said they're taking down information when possible when they see a law being broken so they can act later when it's safer.

WATCH | What police met when they tried to stop a tent from going up:

In an update to the board, Ferguson said police have 172 investigations open, while the force has laid 33 charges, and made 18 arrests, in relation to the ongoing protest. With the help of bylaw, police say officers have handed out 3,000 tickets. 

With files from Joseph Tunney