As a six-day old blockade of North America’s busiest trade corridor ended on Sunday, Canadians voiced questions on policing tactics used to quell the demonstrations in the border city of Windsor and in Ottawa where protests entered a third week.
The “Freedom Convoy” protests, started by Canadian truckers opposing a vaccinate-or-quarantine mandate for cross-border drivers, have turned into a rallying point for people opposing the policies of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau‘s government, covering everything from pandemic restrictions to a carbon tax.
Meanwhile a social media outcry has been triggered by images of police mingling with a sea of protesters in Ottawa, helping some put a fallen tent back up, and one video showing an Ontario Provincial Police officer telling demonstrators “I support you guys 100%.”
The police department said the officer’s comments were “not in line with the OPP’s values” and they were investigating.
At least two members of Canada’s Special Operations Forces are also under investigation for allegedly supporting the protests, the military said.
Hundreds of counter-protesters on Sunday blocked vehicles trying to join the protest in downtown Ottawa, frustrated by what they said was police inaction.
“We need to come together as people and say this will not stand,” said one demonstrator in front of the city’s police headquarters who said he was an Ottawa resident, but declined to give his name, fearing reprisals. “We need the police to actually support the oath that they took to support this community and if they can’t do that, then they should resign.”
Trucker protests: ‘Huge step in right direction,’ Windsor, Ont. police chief says of clearing Ambassador Bridge
Police in Windsor cleared the Ambassador Bridge, a vital trade route to Detroit, peacefully two days after the province of Ontario declared a state of emergency and the city got a court injunction to end the protest.
The bridge blockade choked the supply chain for Detroit’s carmakers, forcing Ford Motor Co, the second-largest U.S. automaker, General Motors Co and Toyota Motor Corp to cut production. The estimated loss so far from the blockades to the auto industry alone could be as high as $850 million, based on IHS Markit’s data.
The jurisdictional overlap between, federal, provincial and local policing has been blamed for the response by police in Ottawa.
A federal minister described a lack of law enforcement in the capital as “inexplicable.”
“I will tell you the country needs the police to do their job,” said Emergency Preparedness Minister Bill Blair, who previously led Toronto’s police force, speaking to a local TV channel on Sunday.
“We need them to enforce our laws, to restore peace and order at our borders and in our cities, and we need them to use the tools that are available to them.”
Windsor Police said that throughout the demonstration, police have respected the protesters’ freedom of expression and their right to a peaceful assembly. Before the Ambassador Bridge was cleared, there was a tense standoff between police and the protesters for more than 24 hours. The police arrested 20 to 30 people, but there were no reports of violence.
“The importance of public safety remained the number one priority of officers with the goal being a peaceful resolution,” a police statement said on Sunday.
Protesters have also shut down smaller border crossings in Alberta and Manitoba last week and, on the weekend, shut down the Pacific Highway border point in British Columbia.
© 2022 Reuters
Prince Charles and Camilla kick off Canadian tour – CTV News
St. JOHN’S –
Prince Charles and Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, arrived Tuesday in St. John’s, N.L., to begin a three-day Canadian tour that will largely focus on reconciliation with Indigenous people.
Under partly cloudy skies, the couple landed at St. John’s International Airport aboard a Canadian government jet. They then headed by motorcade to a welcome ceremony at the provincial legislature with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Gov. Gen. Mary Simon.
The couple were met by an honour guard and various dignitaries before shaking hands and exchanging pleasantries with people in the crowd. On the steps leading to the legislature, about 100 schoolchildren waved small Canadian and provincial flags.
Grade 6 student Anna Jeans said she was thrilled at the possibility she might get a high-five from Charles or Camilla. “I’m very excited,” she said, bouncing on her toes. “It’s a big opportunity for me.”
Nearby, Tara Kelly — wearing a homemade fascinator with a tall plume of green feathers — said she’s long been a fan of the Royal Family. “It’s a fantasy,” she said.
Inside the Confederation Building’s purple-lit foyer, the prince and the duchess looked on as Innu elder Elizabeth Penashue offered a blessing and Inuk soprano Deantha Edmunds sang.
The event began with a land acknowledgment honouring the province’s five Indigenous groups as well as the Beothuk people, who were among the first inhabitants of Newfoundland, their history stretching back 9,000 years.
Simon welcomed Charles and Camilla to Canada in Inuktitut. She asked Charles and Camilla to listen to the Indigenous groups they will meet in Canada and to learn their stories.
“I encourage you to learn the truth of our history — the good and the bad,” she said. “In this way, we will promote healing, understanding and respect. And in this way, we will also promote reconciliation.”
The prince started his speech by noting that the land that became Canada has been cared for by Indigenous people — First Nations, Metis and Inuit — for thousands of years.
“We must find new ways to come to terms with the darker and more difficult aspects of the past, acknowledging, reconciling and striving to do better,” he said. “It is a process that starts with listening.”
The prince said he had spoken with the Governor General about the “vital process” of reconciliation.
“(It’s) not a one-off act, of course, but an ongoing commitment to healing, respect and understanding,” he said. “I know that our visit this week comes at an important moment with Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples across Canada, committing to reflect honestly and openly on the past.”
Charles and Camilla then moved on to Government House, the official residence of Lt.-Gov. Judy Foote, the Queen’s representative in the province.
Outside the residence, they will take part in a reconciliation prayer with Indigenous leaders at the Heart Garden, which was built to honour Indigenous children who attended the province’s residential schools.
Earlier in the day, Trudeau said reconciliation will form part of the discussions Charles and Camilla engage in during their visit. But the prime minister avoided answering when asked if he thinks the Queen should apologize for the legacy of residential schools.
“Reconciliation has been a fundamental priority for this government ever since we got elected, and there are many, many things that we all have to work on together,” he said. “But we know it’s not just about government and Indigenous people. It’s about everyone doing their part, and that’s certainly a reflection that everyone’s going to be having.”
Metis National Council President Cassidy Caron has said she intends to make a request for an apology to the prince and duchess during a reception Wednesday at Rideau Hall in Ottawa.
Caron has said residential school survivors have told her an apology from the Queen is important as she is Canada’s head of state and the leader of the Anglican Church. “The Royals have a moral responsibility to participate and contribute and advance reconciliation,” Caron said in Ottawa on Monday.
Earlier this year, Pope Francis apologized for the Catholic Church’s role in residential schools when Indigenous leaders and residential school survivors visited the Vatican. He will travel to Canada to deliver the apology this summer.
Leaders from four of Newfoundland and Labrador’s Indigenous groups were expected to attend the prayer ceremony at the lieutenant-governor’s residence in St. John’s. Elders and residential school survivors were also invited to take part in a smudging ceremony, musical performances, a land acknowledgment and a moment of silence.
Charles and Camilla will then tour Quidi Vidi, a former fishing community in the east end of St. John’s.
The couple are expected to arrive in Ottawa tonight. Their tour will also take them to the Northwest Territories.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 17, 2022.
— With files from Michael MacDonald in Halifax and Kelly Geraldine Malone in Winnipeg
Sanctioned Russians will be banned from entering Canada, government says – CBC News
Russians sanctioned by Canada will be barred from entering the country, Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) say.
In a statement from CBSA, Mendicino announced he’ll introduce changes to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) that will prevent those sanctioned individuals from coming into the country.
“These changes will allow the Canada Border Services Agency to deny entry to, and remove, individuals subject to sanctions, and will allow Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) officials to deny visas,” the statement reads.
“Once in force, these amendments to IRPA will apply to all foreign nationals subject to sanctions by Canada, and any accompanying family members.”
The government has sanctioned over 1,000 individuals and entities from Russia, Ukraine and Belarus in retaliation for the Russian invasion of Ukraine, according to Global Affairs Canada.
Among those sanctioned are senior Russian government officials such as Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, billionaire oligarch Roman Abramovich, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s adult daughters Katerina Tikhonova and Maria Vorontsova, and Putin himself.
The sanctions prevent them from receiving financial and property services in Canada or from Canadians outside of Canada.
“In the face of the Putin regime’s brutal attack, Canada stands with Ukraine. Banning close associates and key supporters of Putin’s regime, including those responsible for this unprovoked aggression, from entering our country is one of the many ways in which we’re holding Russia accountable for its crimes,” Mendicino said in the statement.
“We will continue to exhaust all options to uphold freedom and democracy, punish Russia and support Ukraine.”
Russia has sanctioned Canadians in retaliation for Canada’s sanctions — including premiers, military officials and journalists.
UFOs: More Canadian politicians briefed – CTV News
Canadian members of Parliament are urging the government to pay more attention to recent U.S. news about “unidentified aerial phenomena,” or UAP: a term used for what are more commonly known as unidentified flying objects and UFOs.
According to Conservative MP Larry Maguire and a Texas-based researcher, at least three Canadian politicians have now sought UAP briefings from former Pentagon officials.
“When you see the information that’s come out of the United States, you’d have to take it seriously,” Maguire told CTV News from his Ottawa office. “We need to have a parallel program to what the United States already has.”
On Tuesday, a pair of senior U.S. military officials testified during the first public congressional hearing on UFOs in more than 50 years.
“We know that our service members have encountered unidentified aerial phenomena,” Ronald Moultrie, who oversees the Pentagon’s current UFO research office, said during the hearing. “We’re open to any conclusions that we may encounter.”
Earlier this month, CTVNews.ca revealed former Canadian defence minister Harjit Sajjan also received a UFO briefing ahead of the June 2021 release of an unclassified U.S. intelligence report on recent military sightings, which have included UAP that appeared to “maneuver abruptly, or move at considerable speed, without discernable means of propulsion.” Military personnel, police and pilots have also filed reports in Canada.
“We need to identify the origins and the intent of these UAPs, and that certainly can’t hurt anything,” Maguire said Tuesday.
Maguire’s office states it arranged a Feb. 16, 2021 briefing for the Manitoba MP and another Conservative parliamentarian with Luis Elizondo, a former U.S. Army counterintelligence officer who reportedly ran a UAP research program before resigning from the Pentagon in 2017.
“Mr. Maguire is absolutely correct in his concern, because he knows that these reports do occur,” Elizondo told CTV News from Wyoming on Tuesday. “I think the time has come for us to have an open and honest dialogue about this topic without fear of retribution, without stigma and associated taboo.”
Maguire has penned a recent op-ed on the subject and has even used his committee work to raise questions about UAP sightings in Canada. Earlier this year, Maguire’s office arranged another briefing with members of the Scientific Coalition for UAP Studies (SCU), an international think tank dedicated to applying scientific methods to UAP research.
Engineer and founding SCU board member Robert Powell was part of that Jan. 28 meeting and says he also participated in an Oct. 20, 2021 briefing for a Liberal member of Parliament.
“Both MPs were very interested in the subject,” Powell told CTVNews.ca from Austin, Texas. “The main thing I try to get across in these types of meetings is basically to give them as good an understanding as I can of the history and the current status of the UAP subject.”
According to Powell, the Oct. 2021 UAP briefing with the Liberal MP included former Pentagon intelligence official Christopher Mellon.
“We have no idea where they’re coming from or what their capabilities are, or what their intent is,” Mellon told CTV News in a June 2021 interview. Mellon did not respond to a request to comment on this story.
Internal briefing documents obtained by CTVNews.ca state the Canadian Armed Forces “does not typically investigate sightings of unexplained phenomena outside the context of investigating potential threats or distress.”
Meanwhile in the U.S., Pentagon UFO programs have operated under various acronyms for years. Questions about the national security implications of sightings have even sparked rare cooperation between Democrats and Republicans, which was evident during Tuesday’s congressional hearing and with a late 2021 Senate initiative to establish a new UAP research office.
“One of the interesting and noteworthy points about the study of UAPs is that everything I have seen both in Canada and the United States is that there is no partisanship on this question,” Powell said. “All parties seem to be interested in this subject, and it’s not a political issue.”
“If there’s any issue that we can be nonpartisan on in Canada, it should be this one,” Maguire added.
Ontario NDP MP Matthew Green agrees, saying Canada has nothing to lose by investigating UAP.
“If the testimony coming out of the States provides the public with a glimpse into the seriousness in which they’re taking it, then I think it would be well-advised for us to follow in the same pursuit,” Green told CTVNews.ca on Tuesday from Ottawa. “If they’re having public hearings of this nature, I can only begin to imagine what they already privately know.”
With files from CTV National News field producer William Dugan
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