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Ottawa Wants to Sell Impounded Freedom Convoy Trucks to Cover Policing Costs

Neil lives in Canada and writes about society and politics.
Published: February 22, 2022
The Mayor of Ottawa wants to sell impounded Freedom Convoy trucks to cover the costs of policing.
Police and a tow truck begin to clear the Ottawa Freedom Convoy trucker occupation protest on Feb. 18, 2022. Mayor Jim Watson says he wants to sell impounded trucks to cover the city’s cost of law enforcement. (Image: ANDREJ IVANOV/AFP via Getty Images)

The Mayor of Ottawa says he wants to see the rigs seized during the clearance of the capital’s Freedom Convoy trucker occupation protest sold to cover the costs of policing. 

The notion was promulgated in a Feb. 20 article by federally funded state messaging outlet Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, which quoted Mayor Jim Watson as saying the Justin Trudeau Liberal Party minority government’s implementation of the never-used-before Emergencies Act gave the city the power to liquidate protestors’ assets.

Watson stated directly that he wants “to see [the vehicles] sold.” He added, “I don’t want the return to these people who’ve been causing such frustration and angst in our community.”

In a second interview with Watson circulating on Twitter, the Mayor complained, “This is costing a small fortune for the taxpayers of Ottawa.”

Watson said he asked both the city’s legal department and management team, “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?”

According to Feb. 21 reporting by U.S.-based Breitbart News, a total of 76 vehicles were seized during the crackdown of what remained of the protest after one organizer, retired Canadian military veteran Tom Marazzo, announced the Convoy would “peacefully withdraw from the streets of Ottawa” because “there is nothing to be gained by being brutalized by police,” reported Epoch Times.

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Citing the Ottawa Police Twitter account, Epoch Times also noted the vehicle count seized appeared to be 79, with an additional 20 more vehicles being towed from “a Coventry Road location previously occupied by an unlawful assembly.”

According to the outlet, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland vaguely confirmed Watson’s notion when she said, “I talked about federal powers. There are also powers that lie with the municipalities and provinces,” in regard to the Emergency Act. 

According to the text of the Emergency Measures Regulations (EMR) published in the Government of Canada’s Gazette dated Feb. 15, the text strictly prohibits public assembly that interferes with the movement of goods and people or trade and critical infrastructure, specifically targeting the Parliament Hill region of Ottawa.

A second piece of legislation published the same day titled Emergency Economic Measures Order compels all entities to cease dealings and financial services with a “designated person” defined as “is engaged, directly or indirectly” with activity contravening the EMR. 

The Measures Order requires entities to register with FINTRAC, Canada’s financial oversight regulator, produces a duty to disclose information to the RCMP and CSIS, and also requires insurance companies to cancel policies issued on vehicles participating in the protests. 

Neither of the published pieces of law appear to either reference or allude to giving cities the ability to sell impounded vehicles to cover the costs of policing protests.

A Feb. 20 interview with Watson by CTV News blamed Freedom Convoy participants for costing “the taxpayers of Ottawa millions and millions of dollars.” 

“That’s only police costs. That’s counting all of the extraordinary costs the city has to absorb. Bylaw, fire, paramedics, public works people.”

He added, “It shouldn’t be up to the taxpayers of Ottawa to pay for these extraordinary costs through their property taxes. We should ding those people who have caused this chaos.”

The outlet said the City Treasurer calculated costs incurred at approximately $1 million per day.