Police prepare for ‘Freedom Convoy’ anniversary and the mayor’s state of the city address: Five stories to watch this week

Ottawa police monitor for potential vehicle-based protests ahead of the one-year anniversary of the Freedom Convoy and Mayor Mark Sutcliffe delivers his state of the city address.

CTVNewsOttawa.ca looks at five stories to watch in Ottawa this week.

Anniversary of the ‘Freedom Convoy’

Ottawa police says the service continues to “closely monitor the potential” for vehicle-based protests in downtown Ottawa, as the one year anniversary of the ‘Freedom Convoy’ approaches.

On Jan. 28, 2022, thousands of vehicles and people rolled into downtown Ottawa to protest COVID-19 vaccine mandates and other public health measures. The ‘Freedom Convoy’ demonstration lasted for more than three weeks, with protests closing roads in downtown Ottawa and forcing the closure of several businesses, including the Rideau Centre. Ottawa police, with the assistance of the RCMP, OPP and municipal police forces, moved in to remove the vehicles and end the occupation of downtown Ottawa.

Police say residents and businesses will see an increased police presence “from time to time” in the downtown core between now and mid-February as officers monitor for vehicle-based protests.

“Although we are not seeing specific information to indicate that there will be large-scale demonstrations or protests in Ottawa, the potential for some level of protests exists,” police said on Twitter.

“As such, we will have resources, logistics, traffic, towing and staffing plans in place to address any type of scenario and will not allow the conditions to occur that resulted in the February 2022 convoy.”

James Bauder, co-counter of the group Canada Unity, initially announced plans for a ‘Freedom Convoy 2.0’ in Ottawa in mid-February, before announcing the event would be held in Winnipeg instead. Organizers called off those protest plans earlier this month.

New Ottawa Police Chief Eric Stubbs is expected to address the police preparations for a possible protest during Monday’s police services board meeting.

Day 10 of the Freedom Convoy demonstration in downtown Ottawa in February 2022. (Josh Pringle/CTV News Ottawa)

Mayor delivers state of the city address

Mayor Mark Sutcliffe will outline his plans for the New Year at Ottawa City Hall this week.

Sutcliffe will deliver the mayor’s state of the city address on Wednesday to kick off the first council meeting of 2023. This will be Sutcliffe’s first state of the city speech since being elected mayor in October.

The speech comes one week before staff present the 2023 city of Ottawa draft budget, with an expected 2 to 2.5 per cent property tax increase and a freeze in transit fares.

Mark Sutcliffe puts his hand over his heart as supporters chant his name as he speaks on stage with his family by his side after being elected Mayor of Ottawa in the 2022 municipal election, in Ottawa, on Monday, Oct. 24, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

The future of Wellington Street

Ottawa’s transportation committee will debate the immediate future of Wellington Street this week, as the road in front of Parliament Hill remains closed to vehicle traffic.

Councillors on the committee will discuss whether to remove the barricades and reopen the road to vehicle traffic in the short-term.

Council voted to keep the road closed to vehicle traffic for the rest of 2022 to prevent similar protests, while a House of Commons committee recommended permanently closing Wellington Street from the National War Memorial to Kent Street.

Mayor Mark Sutcliffe says he leans towards reopening the road in the short-term because of the closure’s impact on residents and businesses in the area.

“Again, my inclination is towards an exciting plan for the future of Wellington, but that plan is going to take some time and unless there’s a valid reason for the road to be closed in the meantime, and I’m willing to hear those reasons, my inclination is to reopen it.”

A 500-metre stretch of Wellington Street, which fronts Parliament Hill, remains closed after February’s truck convoy occupation. Ottawa, Ont.. May 31, 2022. (Tyler Fleming / CTV News).

Porter Airlines lands new plane in Ottawa

Porter Airlines’ new Embraer E195-E2 plane will land at the Ottawa International Airport on Monday, ahead of its inaugural fight on Feb. 1.

Porter is in the process of building two hangars for new aircraft maintenance at the Ottawa Airport, as part of a $65 million investment. The 150,000-square-foot facility will house all of Porter’s E-2 aircraft maintenance.

The new E2 aircraft provides Porter with the ability to operate throughout North America, including the west coast, Mexico and the Caribbean.

Porter is also expanding its destination list out of Ottawa. Starting in March, it will begin new daily non-stop flights from the Ottawa International Airport to Thunder Bay, Quebec City, Boston and Newark.

A 500-metre stretch of Wellington Street, which fronts Parliament Hill, remains closed after February’s truck convoy occupation. Ottawa, Ont.. May 31, 2022. (Tyler Fleming / CTV News).

Bell Let’s Talk Day

Wednesday is Bell Let’s Talk Day, a day to raise awareness about mental health in Ottawa and across Canada.

The campaign is intended to start the new year by putting a spotlight on the growing need for mental health services, inviting Canadians to take meaningful action for mental health.

Bell has announced an additional $10 million to Canadian mental health initiatives, and on Wednesday it will put the focus on community organizations across the country that are providing supports and services for Canadians experiencing mental health issues.

Here are some of the actions we can take to create change in your home, schools, workplaces and communities, according to Bell Let’s Talk.

  • Choose a mental health organization to learn about or support
  • Help a friend struggling with their mental health by learning how to support them
  • Ask about how your school, workplace or community is creating change for mental health
  • Nurture your own well-being by practicing and learning mental health strategies

A 500-metre stretch of Wellington Street, which fronts Parliament Hill, remains closed after February’s truck convoy occupation. Ottawa, Ont.. May 31, 2022. (Tyler Fleming / CTV News).

Events in Ottawa this week


Ottawa Police Services Board meeting – 4 p.m.


Ottawa Catholic School Board meeting – 7 p.m.


Ottawa City Council meeting – 10 a.m.

New York Islanders vs. Ottawa Senators – 7 p.m. at Canadian Tire Centre


Ottawa Transportation Committee meeting – 9:30 a.m.


Ottawa Public Library Board meeting – 9 a.m.

London Knights vs. Ottawa 67’s – 7 p.m. at TD Place


Montreal Canadiens vs. Ottawa Senators – 7 p.m. at Canadian Tire Centre

View original article here Source