Ford Government Skinned by Rouleau Report

Ford Government Skinned by Rouleau Report

More decisive and quicker action by the province could have sent a clear message to Ottawa residents that their provincial government has not failed them in times of crisis, Commissioner Rouleau said in his more than 2,000-page report released on Friday.

“I find the reluctance of the Province of Ontario to fully participate in efforts to resolve the situation in Ottawa disturbing. »

— A quote from the Report on the Public Inquiry into the State of Emergency Declared in 2022, Vol. 1

Ontario only took the lead when the Ambassador Bridge was blocked following a phone conversation between Justin Trudeau and Doug Ford on Feb. 9, several weeks after the protests began, the report said.

The Prime Minister of Canada then expressed some frustration at the way Ottawa authorities were handling the situation downtown, we can read.

A man in a sweater and a Canadian flag during the convoy.

Demonstrators stormed the streets of Ottawa to oppose the passport vaccine, among other things. (file photo)

Photo: Getty Images/Spencer Platt

Lockdown in Windsor: Doug Ford’s priority

Doug Ford considered the closure of the Ambassador Bridge to be the most important issue, according to the report.

After the lockdown was lifted, Mr Ford expressed his relief, the report said, noting that the auto and agribusiness industries were pressuring the prime minister to remedy the situation.

Mr Rouleau’s report also highlights Ontario’s refusal to participate in a tripartite table with the city of Ottawa and the federal government, a decision the commissioner said was based on two beliefs.

On the one hand, the country sees the solution of the situation as the responsibility of the federal government, as the convoy is demonstrating “against the federal vaccination requirement at the gates of parliament,” according to the report, which quotes the words of federal Ontario Attorney General Mario Di Tommaso.

According to the report, Ontario’s second argument was that the situation was a police matter best left to the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP).

The province responsible for the police

On this point, Commissioner Rouleau states that the province is ultimately responsible for effective policing in Ottawa.

“Given the obvious overwhelmed by the city and its police, it was the province’s duty to get involved visibly, publicly, and wholeheartedly from the start. »

— A quote from the Report on the Public Inquiry into the State of Emergency Declared in 2022, Vol. 1

The commissioner cites a statement in which then-Ontario Attorney General Sylvia Jones said there had been 1,500 OPP officers in Ottawa since the occupation began. However, the police had only deployed 1,500 shifts of OPP officers.

The bridge and police vehicles.

Law enforcement intervened at the Ambassador Bridge in Windsor to open access to this nerve center of Canadian-American trade. (file photo)

Photo: Radio Canada / Thomas Daigle

OPP Commissioner Thomas Carrique and Mr Di Tommaso later called the release of those figures unhelpful and reckless, the report said.

Ontario more responsive than Ottawa, says Ford government

A spokesman for the Ontario Attorney General’s office said in a statement that the province is fully committed to arming our law enforcement agencies with the tools needed to end this situation.

The statement said the OPP had been providing information, deploying officers and providing resources to the Ottawa and Windsor police services in response to their requests even before the occupation began.

The Ford government adds that it declared a state of emergency before the federal government applied the emergency law, adding that it also froze convoy funds from the Give Send Go platform to prevent the occupation of downtown Ottawa.

The New Democrat opposition to Queen’s Park lashes out at the Ontario government, calling its approach soft.

Commissioner Rouleau’s report confirms what was clear all along: that Doug Ford and his cabinet have turned their backs on the people of Ottawa at a time of crisis, according to a statement released on Friday by lawmakers from the region’s New Democrats Ottawa, Joel Harden, and Chandra Pasma

They have chosen not to use the resources at their disposal to help Ottawa residents, they say.

The Ontario Liberals went further and issued a press release demanding an apology from the prime minister.

It is clear that Doug Ford’s refusal to testify was an attempt to hide his inaction when Ottawa was under siege. He must apologize today to the people of Ottawa and all Ontario citizens for his dereliction of duty, said John Fraser, interim leader of the Ontario Liberal Party.

Rally in Toronto

On Saturday noon, protesters rallied outside the Toronto Legislative Assembly to defend freedom, they say.

Among them, Rob Carere is delighted at the lifting of health restrictions but still admits he is concerned that his rights have been taken away so quickly and easily.

“It starts with small steps and progresses. »

— A quote from Rob Carere, protester

He adds that it is important that people can express their frustration and be heard by the government. But unfortunately our government didn’t do that, he laments.

Asked about the Rouleau report, he said he disagreed with its conclusions. According to him, there is a lot of corruption in politics and that is a problem.

Andrew Jones, another protester, believes more Canadians should be present at this mobilization. Torontonians should be there to support freedom so the government doesn’t [la] don’t take

According to him, the truck convoy was a movement for freedom to vote, to have the choice to say yes or no to the vaccine.

“Wake up, the government is forcing things on us. But no one notices until it’s too late. »

— A quote from Andrew Jones, protester

For her part, Michelle Kloet wonders what Justin Trudeau intends when he offends people.

Why does he want to share, why doesn’t he want to listen? She asks.

I thought I was the happiest girl born in this country, says the one whose parents grew up in another country.

I work hard […] I pay all my taxes […] “I love this country,” emphasizes Mr. Kloet, wondering if the “my body, my choice” formula still exists in Canada when it comes to government vaccination policies.

“You call your mayor, your deputy, you demonstrate on the street and everyone ignores you. »

— A quote from Michelle Kloet, protester

However, Rob Carere says he has hope but believes prevention is necessary. This is the goal of this demonstration, he explains, noting that it must be done in a respectful manner.

With information from CBC News’ Catharine Tunney and Shanifa Nasser, Camille Gris-Roy and Andréane Williams