Ottawa police are calling in support from the RCMP for Canada Day festivities, as the service prepares for possible protests over Canada’s birthday.
A report for the Ottawa Police Services Board requests special constable status for 491 RCMP officers to respond to events surrounding Canada Day, with operations planned for Monday, June 27 to July 4.
“And other major events that occur up to and including November 30, 2022,” staff say.
Ottawa setting up motor vehicle control zone in downtown Ottawa for Canada Day
The service is requesting an extension of the special constable appointments to 291 officers previously sworn in in April for the Rolling Thunder biker protest. The board is also being asked to approve the appointment of up to 200 additional RCMP officers with special constable status.
The special constable status ensures officers can carry out the “full scope of their assigned duties,” according to the report.
All the appointments and reappointments will be valid until Nov. 30, 2022.
In April, the Ottawa Police Services Board approved special constable status for 831 RCMP officers until July 4. The two and a half month appointments were in anticipation of additional events and demonstrations in Ottawa.
Ottawa police interim Chief Steve Bell and the senior command will provide an update on plans for Canada Day during Monday’s Ottawa Police Services Board meeting.
The service said last week they are aware of planned protests for Canada Day, and vowed they won’t allow a repeat of the ‘Freedom Convoy’ occupation that took over downtown Ottawa in January and February.
“We will be bringing multiple extra policing resources from several services,” police said.
“The right to lawful and peaceful demonstrations will always be protected. We will not allow for conditions that led to the unlawful protests in February to reoccur. We are applying lessons learned from the unlawful protest as well as the Rolling Thunder and associated protests to build our plan.”
On Thursday, the city of Ottawa unveiled plans for a motor vehicle control zone in the Parliamentary Precinct and through the downtown core.
A motor vehicle control zone will be established from June 29 at 8 am to July 4 at 6 am in an area stretching from Colonel By Drive/Sussex Drive in the east, Wellington Street in the north, Booth Street in the west and Laurier Avenue in the south. There will also be some road closures in the control zone from 12:01 am on July 1 until 2 am on July 2.
The city says the roads will not be closed, and residential and business traffic, pedestrians, cyclists and public transit are permitted to enter and exit the control zone.
“Motor vehicles taking part in any form of demonstration, event, protest or rally will not be permitted,” the city says. “Barricades, heavy equipment or police officers and vehicles will be at various access points surrounding the control zone, to filter lawful traffic onto those streets.”