Ottawa mayor wants to sell confiscated Freedom Convoy trucks — Analysis

Mayor Jim Watson praised PM Justin Trudeau’s controversial emergency powers, and said he wants to sell off vehicles seized from protesters

Jim Watson, Ottawa Mayor, has been praising the Canadian police’s crackdown against anti-mandate Freedom Convoy protesters. With the demonstrations cleared, he told state media that trucks, campers, and vehicles seized from the protesters should be sold off, claiming Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s controversial emergency powers allow him to do so.  

Watson spoke to CBC Saturday and praised Ottawa police for removing protesters from the city, where they were camping for over three weeks in protest of vaccine mandates. After Trudeau’s Monday invocation of the Never-before-used Emergencies Act, both city and federal officers broke up the protests on Friday and Saturday.

Even though video footage shows otherwise shocking scenesWatson stated that Watson was a victim of police brutality and claimed officers were responsible. “done a remarkable job,”And were “very measured in their response.”More than 170 protesters were arrested and more than 50 cars were seized. The government also frozen bank accounts belonging to at least 76 participants in the protests and their supporters.

“Under the Emergencies Act I’ve asked our solicitor and our city manager, ‘how can we keep the tow trucks and the campers and the vans and everything else that we’ve confiscated, and sell those pieces of equipment to help recoup some of the costs that our taxpayers are absorbing?’”Watson spoke to CBC.

Watson mentioned losses suffered by local businesses among the main reasons for his desire to try and sell impounded vehicles.

CTV News reported that Wendy Stephanson, the City Treasurer, claimed earlier Saturday that the cost of managing the protests was approximately CA$1,000,000 ($785,000 per day). “We should ding those people who have caused this chaos,”Watson made reference to the protesters in an interview on Saturday with CTV. 

Fed up, disenfranchised and frustrated – This is why Indigenous Canadians joined Freedom Convoy

It is unclear whether Watson’s plan will go ahead, and whether the Emergencies Act actually allows the city to auction off seized vehicles. Ottawa Police previously said that the seized cars will be kept for seven days before they can be recovered. The Emergencies Act, which is not currently under discussion in Parliament but could be significantly amended, is being implemented. 

While some of Canada’s provincial premiers have relaxed their rules on masking and vaccination since the protest began, Trudeau’s nationwide vaccine mandate for cross-border truckers and a rule requiring Canadians be vaccinated to leave the country remain in effect. 

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