A new round of Freedom Convoy reviews is is what you need to know

An investigation into why the federal government took urgent action to end last winter’s Freedom Convoy protests is asking the public to share their stories about the occupation of downtown Ottawa.

Meanwhile, a parallel process documenting the experiences of Ottawa residents during the crisis has announced public hearings that coincide with the investigative hearings.

Last week, the Public Order Emergency Commission (the official name for public inquiry) solicited submissions from people describing their experiences during the protests and their thoughts on the unprecedented use of the emergency law.

The committee hopes to receive responses via email by early September, a few weeks before the hearings begin on September 19 at the Library and Archives Canada building.

“We hope that the general public has participated in, been affected by, or has an opinion about the protest and the government’s use of the emergency law. — I will take this opportunity to participate in the commission’s work,” a commission spokesperson said in an email.

A new page on the commission’s website explains in more detail what the investigation wants to know from the public.

The investigation will examine the actions taken by the federal government under this law and the circumstances that led to its use. Multiple witnesses are expected to testify, including police officers, business owners and protesters.

“Among other things, the hearings provide the Commission and the public an opportunity to hear from federal ministers and officials. [of] Why did the government decide it was necessary to invoke the emergency law,” said a Public Security Emergency Commission spokesperson.

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson will appear before the committee, his office confirmed.

Tamara Rich, who hugs a supporter as she leaves an Ottawa courthouse after being released on bail on March 7, organized a fundraiser for protests in Ottawa that turned into weeks of lockdown. (Justin Tan/Canadian Press)

The Center for Justice for Constitutional Freedom, a group with ties to Freedom Convoy figures such as Tamara Rich, said last week that it had not yet finalized its proposal for a witness list for the Public Order Emergency Committee, saying the committee had not yet finalized it. He added that he has the right to decide. .

A full list of witnesses will be released closer to the start of the investigation, according to a commission spokesperson.

Persons or groups who are already allowed to cross-examine witnesses or are allowed other forms of “candidacy” during questioning may also testify themselves, the spokesperson added.

secret story

Research efforts to document the public experience of the occupation overlap with the focus of the Ottawa People’s Commission.

The Ottawa People’s Commission, a grassroots effort, said on its website, ” [people’s] It will hold governments and authorities accountable not only for the trauma and their loss, but for their failure to end the occupation and protect the health and safety of the public.”

Unlike the hearings, which will hold hearings continuously until Oct. 28, the Ottawa People’s Commission will hold on-and-off hearings and public meetings for several months in as-yet-unconfirmed public spaces. It’s a schedule.

Alex Neve, one of the three chairmen of the People’s Committee, said the first public hearing was held a few days after the hearings began “to ensure that the investigation received a great deal of attention”. said to be started.

“We see all of these as complementary,” said Neave, adjunct professor of international human rights law at the University of Ottawa and Dalhousie University.

“Obviously, there are limits to public bandwidth….but I think there’s a way that what’s coming out will stack on top of each other.”

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Alex Neave, one of the three commissioners of the Ottawa People’s Commission on Convoy Occupation, says residents’ stories are still waiting to be told.

Neve said he hopes the People’s Committee’s focus on residents’ experiences will build trust and attract people who were reluctant to share their experiences.

“I’m already starting to hear that a lot of people are just too scared,” he said.

Both committees aim to publish their final reports in February 2023. Neve said the People’s Committee may also release its preliminary findings before the October 24 Ottawa city council elections.

3 more reviews in progress

Three other processes are underway investigating the effects of the occupation and the use of emergency law.

A joint committee of senators and lawmakers began holding hearings on the act’s invocation in March, just weeks after the last protesters were dispersed by more than a dozen police agencies.

Among other things, the committee heard from Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino that Ottawa police control Wellington Street.

A committee clerk said last week that more committee meetings could be held as the House begins to open on Sept. 19.

Another group — the House Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs — met to discuss whether to extend the boundaries of the Houses of Parliament to include Wellington Street.

Yasir Naqvi, a parliamentarian for the Ottawa Center and a member of the committee, said he hopes the street will be permanently closed to vehicles.

“What I want you to flesh out is how can we encourage Canadians to participate in peaceful and legal protests, but not to the places we saw in January and February of this year? .” He said.

“I hope all the different processes that are going on will help guide us in that direction.”

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The Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs will produce a report with recommendations, but the timeline for that is unknown.

Meanwhile, Ottawa’s auditors are reviewing the city’s response to the occupation. Many complained that Ottawa police took too long to take decisive action against illegal protesters.

A public consultation was held last month to help outline the scope of that audit. Details will be announced in the coming weeks.

The audit does not include public hearings and accepts anonymous submissions from the public. No release date has been set for the audit report.

A new round of Freedom Convoy reviews is is what you need to know

Source link A new round of Freedom Convoy reviews is is what you need to know

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