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Politics Briefing: Chief Sloly says Ottawa police looking at impounding remaining trucks, calls for more resources – The Globe and Mail

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Ottawa Police Chief Peter Sloly, who is facing heavy criticism from downtown residents over his handling of the continuing protests that are now entering a second work week, said next steps could include impounding the remaining large trucks that are parked on the streets near Parliament Hill.

Protesters remain dug in on Ottawa city streets, even though similar protests over the weekend in Toronto and Quebec City have been fully cleared.

Ottawa police took a more interventionist approach Sunday that included dismantling a protester camp in Confederation Park near the Rideau Canal. Then late Sunday evening, police entered a baseball stadium parking lot on Coventry Road, east of downtown, that is being used a logistics support base for the main protest near Parliament Hill.

“We’ve removed encampments in and around the red zone and the core of the area,” Mr. Sloly said Monday morning in an interview with local radio station CFRA. “We are targeting the highest-risk areas with the resources we have available and dismantling them. We’ve been doing that since Friday and we’ve had two major successes. Confederation Park is gone. That entire encampment, [including] the wood structure, all of the fuel… that is entirely gone through negotiation and hardcore planning. We’ve dismantled the fuel operation of Coventry. Gone. Seven arrests, people going to jail. We will continue to do that on a daily basis.”

Mr. Sloly agreed when asked if one of the challenges police face is obtaining tow trucks capable of removing the remaining large trucks, as well as finding tow truck operators who are willing to do the job.

“We saw in, and still see, in places like Alberta, in Coutts, where they tried to attempt heavy enforcement. It was tow trucks that became one of the major logistical barriers to that. But we’re still looking at other options in order to either impound the trucks in place, or to take them lawfully into custody and remove them from the area. Everything is on the table.”

At a news conference later in the day, Mr. Sloly said he will be sending a letter to Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson to underscore the need for more support from the provincial and federal governments.

“We’re asking for a major push of resources to come in in the next 72 hours,” he said.

Even as he spoke of shutting down fuel supplies, journalists on the scene Monday reported images of protesters walking cans of fuel unimpeded to the idling trucks on Parliament Hill.

At a news conference Monday afternoon, federal ministers proposed a “trilateral table” for the federal, provincial and municipal governments to address the trucker protest. “It is well past the time to bring this protest to an end,” Emergency Preparedness Minister Bill Blair said. The federal ministers said Ottawa is willing to provide all appropriate assistance that is required.

Hello,

This is the daily Politics Briefing newsletter, written by Ian Bailey. Monday’s newsletter is co-written with Bill Curry. It is available exclusively to our digital subscribers. If you’re reading this on the web, subscribers can sign up for the Politics newsletter and more than 20 others on our newsletter sign-up page. Have any feedback? Let us know what you think.

TODAY’S HEADLINES

OTTAWA RESIDENTS, PROTESTERS SCHEDULED TO CLASH IN COURT: An Ontario court is scheduled to hear arguments Monday in a proposed multimillion-dollar class-action lawsuit by Ottawa residents who want protesters encamped in their downtown to stop honking their horns. Story here.

POILIEVRE RUNNING – Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre, the official opposition finance critic, has launched his bid for the party’s leadership by declaring he’s running to be the next prime minister. Story here. Meanwhile Quebec Conservative Alain Rayes has quit his post as the party’s deputy leader because he says he wants to play a role in shaping who will next lead the party. Story here.

BC LIBERALS ELECT NEW LEADER – B.C. Premier John Horgan is going to be facing a new political foil. Former provincial finance minister Kevin Falcon has won the leadership of the B.C. Liberal party, the official opposition in the legislature. Mr. Falcon, who finished second in the 2011 leadership contest, losing to Christy Clark, who served as premier until the party lost power in 2017, left politics a decade ago to spend more time with his young family and work in the private sector. Story here.

NEW NAME FOR B.C. LIBERALS? – Speaking of the B.C. Liberals, the party’s new leader says he’d like to see the party change its name. Mr. Falcon said he’d like to find a name that people like and can live with, while also preventing a new group from taking the B.C. Liberal brand. Story here.

THIS AND THAT

The projected order of business at the House of Commons, Feb.7 is here.

THE DECIBEL – The Globe and Mail’s Science reporter Ivan Semeniuk explains how the new James Webb Space Telescope is able to see way beyond its predecessor’s range and further back in time. Mr. Semeniuk explains how this new telescope works, what scientists hope to learn from it and why Canada’s contributions are critical to the mission’s success. A link to the podcast can be found here. The Decibel is also available on all major podcast platforms.

PRIME MINISTER’S DAY

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is in “private meetings” and has no public events scheduled Monday, according to the Prime Minister’s Office.

LEADERS

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh held a news conference Monday, during which he called for an emergency debate on the occupation in Ottawa. He also accused the Prime Minister of a failure of leadership and the Conservatives of emboldening the protesters.

Conservative interim leader Candice Bergen released a statement Monday on Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee, marking her 70th year as Queen. Ms. Bergen has not held a news conference since she was elected interim leader by members of the Conservative caucus last Wednesday. Earlier that day, the caucus voted 73 to 45 in favour of replacing Erin O’Toole as party leader.

OPINION

Former Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney, who is considered a potential Liberal leadership candidate should the job become available, is weighing in on the Ottawa protest in an opinion piece for The Globe and Mail: “By now anyone sending money to the convoy should be in no doubt: You are funding sedition. Foreign funders of an insurrection interfered in our domestic affairs from the start. Canadian authorities should take every step within the law to identify and thoroughly punish them. The involvement of foreign governments and any officials connected to them should be identified, exposed, and addressed.”

John Ibbitson (The Globe and Mail) on the trucker protest and Pierre Poilievre’s weekend announcement that he is entering the Conservative Leadership: “A new force has arrived in Canadian politics, the culmination of growing populist resentments over the inequality of globalization, the presidency of Donald Trump that reflected those resentments, and new resentments over pandemic restrictions.

This populist conservative force is powerful and militant. And it has found a political voice in Carleton MP Pierre Poilievre, who on Saturday announced his candidacy for the leadership of the Conservative Party.

Yaroslav Baran and Geoff Norquay (Canadian Politics and Public Policy) on why the Tories need a united and not a headwaiter: The future success of the party will largely hinge on how capable it will be of finally transcending its traditional factionalism. Under Erin O’Toole’s watch, the residual tribes remained, and continued to yank and pull the leader this way and that, impeding compromise to the detriment of unity and national interest. A successful future leader – whoever she or he may be – will be one who serves not as headwaiter to the factions, but rather as co-ordinator and steward, channelling all their energies forward

Shachi Kurl (The Ottawa Citizen) on why Conservatives’ embrace of the truck protest in Ottawa isn’t helping them: The CPC must decide if it wants to be a party that meets only the needs of a stringent base, or whether it wants to be the party in power. The Liberals figured it out after another humiliating smack in 2011. The party cast off its senators, and took a tough stance on abortion, leaving some loyal Catholic Liberals on the outs. It shed some supporters to pick up others. Like it or not, these were bold moves, motivated not by staying true to past elements the party base, but by a desire to govern. For the Conservatives, it is once again a time for hard choices. But not hard-line ones.”

Got a news tip that you’d like us to look into? E-mail us at tips@globeandmail.com. Need to share documents securely? Reach out via SecureDrop.

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Politics This Morning: Trudeau in Germany for G7 leaders' summit – The Hill Times

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A ‘small army’ of Conservative Party staffers are going through hundreds of thousands of party memberships with ‘rigour and speed’ to weed out fraudulent memberships, says party spokesman Yaroslav Baran.
Even if Pierre Poilievre doesn’t win, Conservative pundits and political analysts believe that whoever does will have to accommodate Poilievre. But if he does win, he’ll need to reach out to his Quebec and Atlantic caucu
When Peter Van Dusen was first hired by CPAC more than 20 years ago, it pretty much covered the House proceedings, but he turned it around. Today, it covers news, leadership conventions, and election campaigns.

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'Pride is a protest' — queer folk voice power amid politics and pandemic – Mission Local

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Missing the Pride Parade was not an option for Emily. 

Though she attended numerous parades in the past as an out lesbian, recent political attacks on the queer community imbued a different sentiment for Sunday’s parade. 

“People think it’s time to have a rager,” Emily said. “But our rights are in danger as we speak.” 

So the 19-year-old threw on her rainbow-striped button-down and, friends in tow, came to San Francisco’s annual LGBTQ Pride Parade determined to counter “the [negative] way Republicans paint us.” How? By celebrating. “Queer joy is really radical right now,” she said. 

On Sunday, the city’s 52nd annual Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Pride Parade kicked off at the Embarcadero and ended in usual fun at Civic Center. Parade participants included local gay politicos State Sen. Scott Wiener and District 8 Supervisor Rafael Mandelman, longtime queer organizations like Dykes on Bikes and San Francisco Bay Times, and any company that could capitalize on the optics. 

But as Emily said, for many spectators it was a few hours of radical joy. 

Take Malaki, a 16-year-old from Fresno. He didn’t know he was going to Pride until yesterday — his very first one — and the gay young man was thrilled. “I was visiting my family, and they asked if I’d like to go. I was like, yeah, Oh my god!” 

It’s been years since Malaki started noticing his feelings toward men had changed, and as a sixth grader, he realized he was gay. Luckily, Malaki’s family is supportive and inclusive, and joined him Sunday. 

“It’s so good to be here,” said Malaki, flashing a huge smile. “I feel so safe. I have a warm feeling that I am not alone, and that I’m able to be who I am. I can be hype!” 

Malaki, 16, enjoys his first Pride Parade. Photo by Annika Hom. Taken June 26, 2022.

It was 13-year-old Bibi’s first Pride Parade too. “I really wanted to go,” he said, waving a transgender flag and holding a stream of colorful balloons. 

The new teen rose at 7 a.m. to make it from Novato on time, and thus he was perfectly positioned in front to collect the tiny flags and beaded necklaces that parade participants threw out.  

Bibi, assigned a female at birth, realized at the age of 10 that he was a transgender boy and bisexual. 

Accompanying him at the parade was his mother, Sol Rocha, who is still learning about how best to support her son. “It hasn’t been easy,” she said. “I’m learning, and it’s a process. But I want to understand. As parents, you have to accept them no matter what. Like when you held them as babies for the first time — unconditional love.”

Bibi, 13, and mom, Sol Rocha at the Pride Parade. Photo by Annika Hom. Taken June 26, 2022.

Just a few people over, Courtney, Ash, and Trystan whooped at the roller skaters and pocketed Planned Parenthood condoms. 

“I wanted to go to Pride in 2019, but the pandemic happened,” Courtney said, who uses she/they pronouns. This was their first one “out” as a bisexual. “With everything going on, I wanted to support everyone. People want to take away our rights,” they said. 

Relatives on Courtney’s mother’s side rejected her after coming out, but after her mother passed, she cares less what her family thinks. And “if they think that I should stay in the closet, I don’t want to be in that family.”

Their friend Ash came from Willows, a small town near Chico. In that environment, Ash said he doesn’t correct people when they misgender him for “safety reasons.” But the parade is a relief, and a nice place to be with “like-minded people.” ​​

Trystan agreed. “Pride has always been a big thing for me until Covid-19 stopped that. This is my first as an adult. I can dress up more,” they said, pointing out the rainbow sequins on her face and the yellow, black, blue, and pink striped jersey. 

Trystan, Ash and Courtney grab their spots before the Pride Parade. Photo by
Annika Hom. Taken June 26, 2022.

Other parade veterans celebrated the post-pandemic party as well. Oakland resident Greg Cabiness, 66, and San Franciscan Sam Kaufman, 59, said “it was good to be out.” The pair have been partners for 10 years, and after some typical couple back-and-forth, figured out they had marched in it twice. 

“It’s nice. We may go to Civic Center after this. That’s where the party is at,” Cabiness said. “It seems like a more diverse crowd. A lot more allies and acceptance is good to see,” Kaufman added. 

Greg Cabiness and Sam Kaufman watch another Pride Parade. They’ve marched in two. Photo by Annika Hom. Taken June 26, 2022.

And Emily, the 19-year-old in the rainbow button-down, brought along plenty of allies from home. One of Emily’s friends Isaiah noted he was adopted by gay parents. He’s been at Pride for years, and it’s a joy to return. His other friends stressed the importance of love at Sunday’s parade in the face of politics.

“When there’s so much shit happening with Roe v. Wade, it’s important to stick together and show there’s resistance,” said Matt, a Lower Haight resident. “People want to think of Pride as a party. It’s a protest.”

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How much influence should politicians have over police? – CBC.ca

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Controversy erupted this week when allegations came to light that the Liberal government may have tried to interfere in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) investigation into the 2020 Nova Scotia mass shooting where 17 people were killed.

According to RCMP Supt. Darren Campbell’s notes, RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki said in a phone call that she had promised the Prime Minister’s Office and then-Minister of Public Safety Bill Blair that the RCMP would publicly release information about the weapons the gunman used. Lucki was reportedly angry when the RCMP did not do so.

The Liberal government is alleged to have wanted the information made public to further their gun control agenda. Critics and opposition politicians have accused the government of attempting to use the tragedy for political gain. Lucki, Blair and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau have denied that there was interference in the investigation.

But how and when — if ever — should those who make laws be able to boss around those who enforce them? When has police interference taken place, and to what consequences did it lead?

CBC News spoke to some experts in an attempt to explain the tense, legally fuzzy and often controversial relationship between police and policymakers in Canada.

Why is policing supposed to be separate from politics?

The Supreme Court of Canada cites the Rule of Law as the founding principle of Canada’s democracy. It’s considered important to our constitutional order that no one, even the most powerful politicians in the country, can think of themselves as above the law.

But there’s another reason for police independence — in our democracy the government is supposed to be accountable to the people, which means people aren’t suppose to fear police going after them on the orders of the government.

“I think what we want to do is avoid a ‘police state,'” Kent Roach, a professor in the University of Toronto’s faculty of law, said. “And by that, I mean we want to avoid politicians telling the police who to investigate and who not to investigate.”

In states where the government can tell police what to do, experts say a pattern quickly emerges of government critics and opponents ending up in jail.

For those reasons, police autonomy in enforcing the law and protecting the public is a key ingredient in most well-functioning liberal democracies.

“Political leaders are not supposed to micromanage police services, that is antithetical to the very idea of democracy,” Temitope Oriola, a professor of criminology and sociology at the University of Alberta, said.

What does the law say?

While those principles seem like part of a basic civics lesson they’re ones Roach says many people, including police officers and politicians, often don’t understand well.

But there may be a reasonable excuse — the law itself isn’t clear.

“I think part of the problem here is that the lines of legitimate government direction to the police and illegitimate government direction are very vague.” he said.

While police independence from government is important in our democracy, Roach says it’s a principle that’s not always reflected in our laws.

“For example, the police cannot lay hate propaganda charges without prior approval of the attorney general,” he said.

“So there’s kind of no absolutes.”

Kent Roach, law professor at the University of Toronto, said Canadian law is very vague when it comes to inappropriate government direction of law enforcement. (Oliver Salathiel)

In Lucki’s case, the RCMP Act states the Commissioner “has the control and management of the force and all matters connected with the force” but “under the direction of the minister.”

Roach said the law is confusing because it doesn’t go into details about what direction means, including what type of direction is appropriate for a minister to give to an RCMP Commissioner. It also doesn’t say whether a direction has to be in writing or can be given orally.

“It’s utterly vague, right?” Roach said. 

Roach would like to see the RCMP Act amended to clarify what types of orders the government can legally give RCMP leadership. 

He said there is a clear divide between directions that set rules for police generally, which are acceptable in a democracy, and directions for police to act in a particular way in a specific case, or to take action against a particular person, which are not.

He says a legitimate government directive to police might be guidelines on what information the police are allowed make public, or ordering the police to stop using a particular technique or practice.

But a directive that would not be acceptable would be directing police to charge someone with a crime.

During the 1997 APEC Summit in Vancouver, the government was found to have interfered with RCMP operations by directing how the Mounties protected then Indonesian president Suharto. In a public inquiry report on the summit, Justice Ted Hughes concluded that the government twice tried to interfere with police operations by attempting to get police to keep protestors away from Suharto.

Hughes recommended the government amend the RCMP Act to legally clarify police independence from government. To date, no government has taken up the recommendation.

Roach says there may be a reason for the lack of action and clarity.

 “I suspect that in some ways both the police and the politicians like to kind of keep the status quo, which is quite vague and murky,” he said. “I think that is unfortunate.”

What happens when politicians try to be police?

Politicians aren’t supposed to tell police what to do, but sometimes they can’t resist. While some politicians do come from a law enforcement background, most don’t — and it can show when they try to interfere with police work.

“They don’t have the the skill, the knowledge, the expertise, the lived experience, to make operational decisions,” Laura Huey, a professor of sociology at Western University, said.

She cited the 1997 APEC Suharto controversy as an example, but there are more recent ones too.

Huey says Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson’s attempt to negotiate with the freedom convoy protestors earlier this year comes to mind — a move critical incident command experts told her made a bad situation worse.

Ottawa mayor Jim Watson attempted to negotiate with Freedom Convoy protestors during the occupation of Ottawa earlier this year. Western University professor Laura Suey says the incident is a good example of why it’s a bad idea for politicians to take over law enforcement’s responsibilities. (Giacomo Panico/CBC)

“Most police services that deal with public order have people that are highly experienced, highly trained professionals that specialize in negotiating in situations like that,” she said.

“So do we want the mayor going down and mucking around on something of which he knows absolutely nothing and had zero effect anyway?”

Roach says his favourite example involves former RCMP Commissioner Leonard Nicholson, the most decorated Mountie in history whose name the RCMP headquarters bears.

In 1959, the John Diefenbaker government told Nicholson to send more officers to police a labour dispute in Newfoundland. Nicholson chose to resign instead of comply with the order.

“So that kind of shows that this idea that the RCMP doesn’t like political direction … is built into the RCMP’s DNA,” Roach said.

Is there a better way?

If too much political interference in policing is an issue, there are also perils in too little.

Voters don’t elect police officers but do elect politicians, so they have a role acting as a check on police.

“Society also cannot afford to have a police service that is not accountable to anybody,” Oriola said.

A section of the Liberal’s 2021 campaign platform is dedicated to changes to the RCMP, in particular making the Mounties more accountable.

Oriola calls the government-police relationship a “delicate” one that requires “a fine balance” and one where intentions should be considered.

“Are you giving directions to the police service to punish political opponents, or are you giving direction … in order that we might have a better society, and improved society based on the policy priorities that you campaigned on?” he said.

Huey says more training for police services boards, who hire police chiefs, may allow them to make better hiring decisions, which in turn could inspire more confidence in police leadership and result in less political interference.

“I think that if we hire highly competent people, we need to give them the space to make the decisions,” she said. 

Roach says a potential solution, on top of more legal clarity on interference, is a law requiring any government ministers who direct police to do so in writing — including a requirement that the direction be public.

He thinks the RCMP Act could be amended with this requirement, and to permit it only outside of individual cases.

“It seems to me, in a democracy, citizens have a right to know what the minister is doing,” Roach said. “I think that that directive system could not only promote transparency, but could avoid all of these controversies.”

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