Saskatoon

Mayor of Ottawa demands apology after Sask. Conservative MPs, senator take picture at convoy protest

A social media post by Saskatoon-Grasswood MP Kevin Waugh is drawing the ire of people in Ottawa, including the city's mayor.

Post said caucus members wanted to show appreciation for people at protest

Five Saskatchewan MPs and Sen. Denise Batters pose at a protest against COVID-19 restrictions in Ottawa. From left to right, MPs Warren Steinley, Kevin Waugh, Andrew Scheer, Sen. Denise Batters, MPs Fraser Tolmie and Rosemarie Falk. (Kevin Waugh/Twitter)

A social media post by Saskatoon-Grasswood MP Kevin Waugh is drawing the ire of people in Ottawa, including the city's mayor.

On Wednesday, Waugh posted a picture on Twitter showing himself, along with four other Conservative MPs and a senator, posing for a picture at the protest against COVID-19 restrictions in Ottawa.

"A few of our SK Caucus members went to show our appreciation for the hardworking, patriotic truckers who have kept our supply chains healthy & grocery shelves stocked for the past two years," wrote Waugh in the post.

"It's great to see Canadians championing freedom on Parliament Hill."

Former Conservative Party of Canada leader Andrew Scheer posed for the picture, along with Battlefords-Lloydminster MP Rosemarie Falk, Moose Jaw-Lake Centre-Lanigan MP Fraser Tolmie, Regina-Lewvan MP Warren Steinley and Sen. Denise Batters.

The protest has begun to wear on people living in Ottawa. Many citizens have complained that the protesters are aggressive and are tying up traffic throughout the city.

On Wednesday, Ottawa Police Chief Peter Sloly said that the protests had become a national issue, and that the city is considering requesting military aid or the forced removal of protesters.

In response to the social media post, Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson called Waugh's statement inappropriate and demanded that the MPs apologize.

"These members of parliament and senators should know better," said Watson in an interview.

"What would they think if their residents, for the last six nights, were kept up by horn honking, people throwing out racial slurs to people just walking down the street, grabbing people's masks off their faces, forcing small businesses to close? It's a completely disgraceful performance by these Members of Parliament."

Meanwhile, Waugh defended the post and his visit to the convoy. He said he was visiting protestors from Saskatchewan and challenged Mayor Watson, as well as Liberal cabinet members, to visit the protest and talk to people.

"This is the only way this is going to get resolved," said Waugh.

"We don't need tow trucks out here moving these people out. We need dialogue. We need dialogue from Ford provincially, Watson and most importantly, the Trudeau government."

In a written statement, MP Rosemarie Falk echoed Waugh's appeal for dialogue.

"I reject the assertion that I, as a Member of Parliament, should not take the time to meet and listen to Saskatchewanians who have come all this way to be heard," she wrote.

"Premier Scott Moe's recent announcements have done more to bring resolve to the protest than the Prime Minister who has only disparaged and dismissed the serious concerns and frustrations of those demonstrating."

On Monday, Waugh made another post on Twitter, supporting the protesters.

Other people in Ottawa aren't as happy with the protesters, however.

Lori Turnbull is the director of the school of public administration at Dalhousie University and is in Ottawa right now. She was surprised politicians are supporting the protesters.

"It is awful downtown. There is constant honking of trucks and the sound is intimidating and it's awful," she told Saskatoon Morning.

"To have a Member of Parliament, any Member of Parliament shaking hands and taking selfies and endorsing this is just, where is your mind?"

With files from Chris Rands, Saskatoon Morning

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