Jim Watson

Jim Watson spoke 601 times across 1 day of testimony.

  1. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    On a Bible, please.


  2. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    James Alexander Watson, J-A-M- E-S A-L-E-X-A-N-D-E-R W-A-T-S-O-N.


  3. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    I'm good. Thank you. Thank you for ---


  4. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    --- the invitation.


  5. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    That's correct.


  6. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    I did.


  7. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)



  8. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    That's correct.


  9. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Yes, I've got our summary of chronology.


  10. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    It does, yes.


  11. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)



  12. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)



  13. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Not this one, no.


  14. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Just to be clear on the dates, the sequence of events that took place earlier this year.


  15. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)



  16. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    That's correct.


  17. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)



  18. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    That's right, yes.


  19. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Well, the information was not particularly clear. No one had a real sense of how many vehicles were coming, whether they were going to stay a long period of time, what their actual plan was. There was a sense on the -- the Chief indicated that the group was somewhat disorganized and did not speak with one voice.


  20. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    That they were coming from three different locations, the west, the east and central Canada to convene on or near Ottawa, and that they were upset with the mask mandates, which were primarily, as you know, a provincial matter, but they were upset with the federal government as well.


  21. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    My recollection was that they would be here for one or two days. That was the norm. You know, a lot of people protest in our city, and our police do a very good job of controlling and managing the situation. And to the best of my knowledge, we never had a protest in the 25 years I've been in public service that lasted more than a couple of days and then they gathered their signs and placards and went back home.


  22. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Yeah, there was a bit of a moving agenda for the organisers of the convoy because at one point they had, I believe, Mr. Bernier wanting to speaking, and then he wasn't able to come on the Friday or the Saturday and there was push back a day. So there seemed to be some challenges that they were having as to who was going to speak and when they were going to speak and that prolonged it. My view at the time was that it would probably last a couple of days. My understanding was most of these truckers were independent and if they weren't on the road doing business and pickups they were losing money, so that they would in fact go home on Saturday or Sunday, and obviously that did not happen.


  23. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    No, we didn't have any indication. We had a memo or an email from Steve Ball at the Hotel Association indicating that one of the organisers had come and enquired about a long-term booking of thirty-plus days at a number of hotels. They wanted, I think, 9,000 to 10,000 hotel rooms.


  24. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Well, it did, except, you know, when you're making a booking you have to have some evidence you're going to follow through with it. So simply asking about booking 11,000 rooms when the city only has about 11,000 rooms at its disposal for tourism industry, I don't think most took it seriously for the simple reason that there was no follow up. It was simply asking about rooms and room availability, and rates I suppose, and then it didn't really anywhere because my understanding is that the bulk of the people with large rigs stayed in their cabs, they didn't need hotels.


  25. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    I don't recall any other discussion on that at that point.


  26. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Well, a couple of points. First, when more people started to arrive; and secondly, when people were not leaving the Parliamentary Precinct. So there were those two points that really brought to light the fact that this was going to more of an occupation as opposed to a protest. As I said, the police in our city are very used to handling large protests, and large visits of state leaders and so on, but nothing of this magnitude has ever been seen, quite frankly, in any city that I'm aware of in Canada in the last 25 years.


  27. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    I don't recall being in any meeting when that was discussed.


  28. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    My bigger concern at that time, from recollection, was what can we do to ensure that the trucks don't go into the residential areas? Because we knew that the impact that would have. Because we'd seen in the first couple of days the constant horn honking, and they had some train whistles on some of the trucks, and there was just unruly behaviour on the part of these people who had come and basically occupied our downtown.


  29. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Well, I think there was concern, absolutely, because when you saw hundreds and then it turned out thousands of people arriving with different pickups and 18-wheelers and so on, that this was going to be bigger than any of us had imagined.


  30. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Not in my presence, to the best of my recollection?


  31. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    That's correct.


  32. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    To be honest, I don't recall whether it was me to him or him to me. I'm not sure.


  33. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)



  34. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    That's correct.


  35. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Well, I was interested in what the plan of action from the police was going to be in order to clear out the downtown core because my sense was that this was not shrinking in size, as people started to go back home, it was growing in size. So everyone could see that. And I -- you know, I stressed to the police -- as you know, we can't direct the police on what to do, but certainly in conversations I had with Chief Sloly, he understood very well the importance of getting this situation resolved sooner than later because it would grow into a bigger issue.


  36. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Sometime in that period, I don't know if it was a Sunday or a Monday, but you know, I was in contact almost on a regular basis with someone from the police service, whether it was the Chief or the Deputy, Bell.


  37. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    No, I -- as I said, I can't direct the police, but certainly I asked the questions, you know, "What is the game plan to move forward?", and he -- the Chief said that they're working on one, and I relayed that to the Prime Minister. He -- the Prime Minister wanted to get a sense of what was going on on the ground, and how this was affecting our city, in particular, our residential community and the small business community. Because as you know, we just got out of a lockout from COVID, and restaurants and businesses could start opening, and then all of a sudden we have another lockdown imposed really by the occupiers who came here to disrupt our quality of life.


  38. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Yeah, I think what was happening was disgraceful. We had some people dancing on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, we had other people urinating at the Cenotaph, we had a group that went and stole meals from the Shepards of Good Hope, we had "End the Mandate" placards put on the Terry Fox statue. It was completely despicable behaviour on the part of these individuals. We welcome protestors who are respectful of the law and respectful of our communities. The vast majority of these people and that kind of behaviour were not being respectful, and I think were hurting their cause, quite frankly. When you saw, you know, the Shepards of Good Hope, who do such good work in the -- in Lower Town, the Byward Market, having people bully their way in to get a free meal, that was just abhorrent.


  39. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    I think it’s -- it should say Commissioner Lucki and a few more resources. I think they just left off R-E ---


  40. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    --- off resource.


  41. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    We need -- our police service on its own was completely outnumbered. We could not deal with it just as an Ottawa Police issue. We needed the support of the other orders of government.


  42. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)



  43. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    That’s correct.


  44. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Well, I did relay the fact that we needed more resources and that once we had the number -- because at that point early on we did not have the exact number that Chief Sloly required to clear out the individuals in Centretown, Lower Town, Overbrook, Forbes, as well as the ByWard market.


  45. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    But it was very clear -- I made it very clear, and the Prime Minister fully understood that the RCMP we're going to have to be involved. They obviously have a very significant presence in Ottawa in any event, responsible for the IP security and public buildings and so on.


  46. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    That's correct.


  47. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    That’s correct. That’s right.


  48. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Well, as you know, the Go Fund Me campaign by the organizers was very successful, it was raising millions of dollars and that was, I think, one of the reasons why more people started to arrive thinking they would get a cut of that money for their gas, and mileage, and food and so on, if they needed places to stay. And so I was approached at some point in that time frame from the consulting firm that represented Go Fund Me in Canada, to see if I would be amenable to having a meeting with senior Go Fund Me people to discuss and to let them know that the funds they were collecting we're very much harming our city and in my opinion engaged in illegal activities. So the meeting was arranged and we had a number of people on the call. They had also spoken I believe earlier in the day, or after my call with, I think it was Chief Bell, so he gave them a more detailed situational report as to what was happening in our city, and why we felt that these funds should be frozen and ultimately sent back to the individuals, because those dollars were keeping the convoy going.


  49. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Well, I can tell you during the meeting I think they underestimated how big an issue this was, and I told them this was certainly hurting the reputational -- or their reputation, because they were funding a group that was very much involved in activities that were harmful to our city and our country. And I can't recall the exact time, but a few days later I believe, there was a decision by Go Fund Me to freeze the funds, and I lauded them for doing that.


  50. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    I don't believe I did. Whether some of my staff did, that may have been the case, or with their consultant. But they also, I believe, started to send the money back to individuals.


  51. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Well, the very first time that I had asked for additional resources was with the Prime Minister on the phone call, and he was -- he understood completely the situation we're in. He lives in Ottawa, obviously, and he was seeing first hand the challenges our city was facing. So he was the first person that I contacted. This call with Marco Mendicino, or Minister Mendicino, I may have had another phone call with him, I can't recall. But certainly, he was very, very, well aware that we needed additional resources. He asked how many, I said that's being worked on by our chief of police. And I also indicated that we were going to reach out to the OPP as well, and that Chief Sloly who had very good contacts with municipal leaders would reach out to municipal police forces as well. And I certainly call the number of my mayor colleagues across the country, bringing them up to speed on what was happening and said that, you may be getting a call from your Chief of Police, and we hope that you can help us during this difficult time. And the municipal police forces were very, very, responsive, and we appreciate their support in our time of need.


  52. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Yeah, I don't want to mislead you. I may have had another call beforehand, but I can't recall, and I don't have notes to that effect. But we may have had another call, but certainly this call and this memo that I sent to colleagues on City Council was to deal with the immediate, and the short term, and the long term. And if you just scroll down, one of the other parallel discussions I was -- or scroll up rather -- parallel discussions I was having was with the provincial Minister of Finance, as well as a Treasury Board President, Mona Fortier and Peter Bethlenfalvy, because we knew that a number of businesses were going to be severely impacted and we needed to receive not only officers to bring the situation under control, but in the mid term we needed financial support to help those businesses that were suffering.


  53. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Well, at some point I know Chief Sloly would have been in touch with his counterpart at the OPP.


  54. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    I may have had -- at one point I had a discussion with Minister Lisa McLeod and indicated to her we needed support, and she was very appreciative of the situation, and she said she would relay that back to her colleague, the Solicitor General.


  55. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Boots on the ground. Police officers.


  56. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    OPP and RCMP.


  57. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    But to the province of course, OPP, yes.


  58. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    I don’t recall. It was some time in that general area of when the memo went out.


  59. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    But she was ---


  60. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Yeah, she was very helpful because she to lived in Ottawa and she was seeing the first hand. I think one of the challenges that we faced with this is that people who live away from where this terrible situation was taking place didn't really have a full -- not everyone, but some didn't have a full appreciation for how horrific this situation was. We have about 18,000 people that live in these areas. This is not just Parliament Hill. This is Centretown. This is the ByWard Market. It’s Lower Town, Vanier, Overbrook, Forbes, having an impact on a wider part of the city. And I think, you know, people started to realize this was turning into a very volatile situation when we started seeing fireworks going off, and hot tubs brought in, and the behaviour I told you about, those four or five incidents. And, you know, the public who were living here understood fully that this was a horrific situation and the sooner it got resolved, the better it was for everyone.


  61. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Well, a number of factors, availability of individuals that the Council wanted to speak to. No sense in having a Meeting of Council if the Chief wasn’t there, if Steve Kanellakos wasn’t available. This seemed to be a date that worked well. Everyone was working around the clock, literally, trying to resolve the situation. And one of my objectives was to try to minimize the number of opportunities that we dragged the Police Chief and his senior command in because they had work to do back at their operations centre. And so this was a day that appeared to work for almost everyone, and that was the day the Clerk circulated the notice about.


  62. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    That’s correct.


  63. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Well there were a lot of people asking, up to that point, including Members of Council, and members of the public, and members of the media, why didn’t we declare a State of Emergency on the first weekend? There’s a little bit of an urban myth or misconception about what a municipal state of emergency is. It has very little impact on public safety. It really is an administrative tool that allows the City, for instance, to bypass the procurement policy of the City of Ottawa. A good example is during the pandemic, I declared a State of Emergency and it allowed us to go and get personal protection equipment without going through a tender process of the top three and so on. So it made those kinds of decisions quicker, it allowed the City Manager to take people from one branch of the City in a different collective agreement and move them into another area. We needed people, for instance, to administer needles and do COVID-19 tests. And, you know, if you had a job that was not essential to that, we needed extra people. So I think it was, in some ways, to give some comfort to the public that, yes, we consider this an emergency, but we were constantly explaining and trying to allow people to understand that this really did not have any impact on the overall removal of individuals.


  64. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Yes, but on every occasion that I’ve declared a State of Emergency, it’s been on the advice of our City Manager, and the City Manager brought this to me at that time and we had the Clerk draft the resolution and I signed it.


  65. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    I would have mentioned to Steve K, “Let me know when you think it’s necessary.” And, you know, he came to me, I can’t remember the exact day, it was probably the day before this was signed, on January 15th, I guess -- no, it’s later than that. And it was on his advice and the clerk prepared the document and I signed it and released it to the public.


  66. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Well I think there was some discussion with my Chief of Staff and Steve Kanellakos that there was -- this may act as a catalyst to get the other two Orders of Government to move. I didn’t see it that way, but they felt it might act to push the Province to do their own declaration and to put more pressure on the Province to come to the table.


  67. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    No, my understanding was it was Mr. Kanellakos felt that this was -- would be helpful to prod the Province into being more hands on in the situation. I didn’t happen to see it that way, but I’m not disputing the fact that I believe it did help, because later on in this crisis, the Province did declare a State of Emergency under their provincial powers, and the Federal Government brought in, of course, the Emergencies Act. So did the City consider that the Province wasn’t engaged enough in finding a solution?


  68. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    That’s correct.


  69. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Well, Minister Blair suggested that we have a tripartite table where the Federal, Provincial, Municipal Government elected leaders could get together, share information, bring forward any new information that we should have at our disposal, and the Province rejected that. They didn’t feel it was necessary to have three Orders of Government at the political level to have this table.


  70. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Well, a couple of things. They weren’t coming to the table and we were having difficulty convincing the Provincial officials the need to have significant more OPP officers on the ground for two reasons. First of all, at some point it was going to have to be a police operation to clean out Wellington Street and the adjoining communities, and that was important. And secondly, the -- we needed the Province on board because, as you know, municipalities are the creature of the Province. We don’t have all the powers that people think we do as Mayor, or as Council, and we need to show a united front, that all of us are legitimately concerned about the challenges facing our residential communities, our small business community, and we needed to move forward. So yes, it was frustrating that the Province was not as responsive. I can say though, in fairness, once they did get engaged, they were very good partners. The OPP was very helpful. But it was getting to that stage. And as I mentioned, I believe in our interview, the Solicitor General at the provincial level seemed to believe that there were 1,500 OPP officers on the ground, which was not true at all, and I checked with our police officials. I said, “How many OPP today?” And they said 50 to 55. So they -- the Solicitor General kept repeating that there were 1,500 police officers. You’d know if there were 1,500 OPP officers. You would see them.


  71. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    There weren’t.


  72. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)



  73. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Yeah, well there were tripartite meetings at the staff level and there was the tripartite group we tried to get together with the Federal Ministers, Mendicino and Blair, and myself, and we hoped Minister Jones.


  74. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Well, the -- of course, I was under pressure, but my bigger concern were the residents who were under much more pressure than I was, living through this hell. In terms of Steve Kanellakos indicating we wanted Ontario and Canada to be involved was that, first of all, we knew that none of the mandates that they were protesting had anything to do with the City of Ottawa or any municipality. They were all provincially run or federally run. Secondly, we did not have the resources, we didn't have enough police officers to continue doing all of the rest of the work of patrolling Ottawa streets, and as you know, we're 2600 square kilometres, so you couldn't take every officer away from Kanata and Orleans, Vanier and so on and put them in the downtown core. So pivot to Ottawa -- or pivot back to Ontario and Canada was to say please come to the table, we need your help.


  75. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    What date is that?


  76. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    No, it would be ---


  77. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    No, he was my EA.


  78. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Sorry, I was reading, it says to James Armbruster from me on what I'm seeing.


  79. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)



  80. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)



  81. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)



  82. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Right, and what date is that?


  83. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)



  84. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)



  85. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    That's correct.


  86. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    On that particular bullet point?


  87. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    That's something you'd have to ask Chief Sloly because it was his request, but my understanding was that they wanted to try to see if they could stop, for instance, gas stations from filling up jerry cans because we knew that was the transportation method by members of the convoy to keep the rigs running in the cold weather. So, you know, we also had I know over the course of this period, I was invited to I think five or so meetings with different business groups, including BIAs, and it never came up at those meetings that I was at that we were asking their merchants to stop selling supplies and so on. So that's something that the Chief asked for. I'm not entirely sure what benefit it would be, but I relied on his good judgment.


  88. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    I don't believe so because our number one preoccupation was to end the occupation and bring the streets back under control of the City of Ottawa. So you can only do so much. There are only so many balls in the air that you can juggle in order to get these issues resolved. But I don't believe, certainly I was not involved in contacting any financial institutions, for instance, aside from the GoFundMe discussion we had.


  89. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Yes, but that may have taken place before the formal request because we were basically trying to find any mechanism or method that could help us encourage the truckers to leave. And one of the suggestions that I believe a member of Council brought to my attention was there's a separate licensing regime and insurance regime for trucks. Could those organizations through MTO, Ministry of Transportation of Ontario, actually use those tools to basically force the trucks to get out or there'd be consequences to their actions of illegally blocking our streets. And the Ministry of Transportation did not follow through on that. They didn't seem to think that was a reasonable idea or maybe they didn't think it was a good idea.


  90. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    It wouldn't have been me. It would have been some member of staff, but not me personally, no.


  91. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    That's correct.


  92. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Well, there was -- they seemed to think that it would -- they couldn't do what we were asking them to do, so there seemed to be a bit of a contradiction in terms of what we thought was available under provincial law and what they were telling us was not available. And I think at one point, someone said it wouldn't make any difference. This was a group that was digging in and having a, you know, a paper exchange of rules and laws, and by-laws was not going to move this group at all.


  93. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Not public briefings. There are a number of press conferences that were held by both myself, and Chair Deans, and Chief Sloly, and the City Manager. So we did make ourselves available, not on a daily basis, when new information arrived. We weren't going to have a press conference for the sake of having a press conference if there was no new information. But there certainly were a series. I remember seeing, and I think we talked about it in an interview, a series of memos that went out over the course of the event, updating members of Council and the public.


  94. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    So it was ---


  95. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Yeah, well, I guess the public briefing would have been the press conferences that were carried on the City's social media networks.


  96. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)



  97. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Well, again, I'm at a bit of a disadvantage because these are not my requests. These are the requests that were sent to Chair Deans and I in an effort to write to the Prime Minister and the Minister of Public Safety as well as the Premier and the Solicitor General to seek the 1800 additional staffing and enforcement. We were pushing the police because one of the challenges we had was up until this letter came, or this memo came from the Chief, we did not have an exact number that was being requested of the two other orders of government. So this was something that Chair Deans and I pushed for because we needed that number to go back to our federal and provincial counterparts to say, all right, you asked for a number. Here it is and here's how it's divided. So on the issue of mediation, again, I can only suggest it may have been they wanted to have some capacity to go and try to mediate the safe removal of all of the trucks, but that would be something the Chief would have to ask ---


  98. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Yeah, again, I'm not sure the intent or why it was -- I think it's under advocacy, but my understanding was that these were requests for our staff. The one request that was for myself to play as really Bullet Number 1 to get those 1,800 resources.


  99. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    And what date is that?


  100. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)



  101. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    I don't believe so. I think it may have been done almost on a parallel basis. It was -- Councillor Egli that I believe drafted it, and the Jean is a Jean, Jean Cloutier, who was going to move it. I checked earlier this week because I saw this email, I hadn't seen it before, but it never went to City Council, it was a draft. And I know that at some point in that period I had also suggested publicly would there be a role for the Federal Government to appoint a distinguished Canadian who could go in and mediate and resolve this. The idea was not supported at all by the Federal Government. I referenced it, I believe, in a CTV interview. But I don't think the two were connected, even though the subject is the same. I think Councillor Cloutier, to his credit, and Councillor Egli were trying to come up with some reasonable suggestion to try to bring and end to this. Because I think, if I can put it in context, every member of Council, whether you lived in the downtown core and represented it or not, were feeling overwhelmed and under siege by constituents and by people from across the country harassing members of Council. And I think all members of Council, to their credit, were trying to do their very best to come up with sensible ideas that they could present to us, including the Chief and the City Manager and myself and my office, to see if this would help resolve the situation. So all members of Council, in good faith, were trying to do what they thought was best. And in this particular case, I don't believe this motion, I know for a fact it didn't go to Council, so it was just a draft, and I suspect it probably didn't go to Council because the quick response I received from the Federal Government was "We're not going to appoint a mediator."


  102. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    I can only speculate. So I shouldn't speculate, I don't know. You'd have to ask that question.


  103. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Again, I -- you know, I have a vague recollection that they -- that I raised it with either Minister Blair or Mendicini [sic], but I can't recall the context of why they were against it.


  104. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)



  105. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    That's a little further down.


  106. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    And I believe we did send the chart to these individuals as well that the Chief had indicated ---


  107. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    --- or put together.


  108. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)



  109. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Well, that was the implication. He provided us with his request, because Councillor Deans and I both agreed that we needed to get something in writing because it was putting us in an awkward situation where we were having these regular meetings with federal and provincial officials, and they said, "Well, how many resources do you need?", and we didn't have an answer. So to the credit of the Chief, he put together a very thorough -- it wasn't just police officers, there were obviously other components that he had asked for, including civilian staff and public order officers, cyber investigative capacity individuals and social media forensics and financial forensics. So we wanted to put that in writing, and this letter was basically the same as the one we sent to the Federal Government as well.


  110. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Absolutely. You know, I think if you just go back and look at the media coverage, and the media themselves were being harassed during this whole period of time, we now know that a number of children had to miss chemo and radiation appointments at CHEO. The residents living on those streets, having these horns honk literally 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, plus the diesel fumes, plus they're roasting a pig on one street, bonfires, lighting off fireworks, having a dance party, it was showing complete disrespect for the people who lived in the City of Ottawa. And I put that wording in very strongly to let the two other orders of government know that we needed their help. Our city's back was against the wall, we had this outrageous behaviour by people who seemed to have no respect for private property, public property, or the well-being of the citizens of Ottawa. And my job as Mayor was to speak out and say, "We have to end this, and the only way we're going to end it is with a significant increase and boost in the number of police officers."


  111. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Well, it was teetering on loss of control. We lost control in the red zone because we couldn't even contain jerry cans going in. You know, in one or two incidents the Chief explained to me the police tried to stop them and then they were swarmed by a hundred truckers. And one of the things I think is vitally important to remember in this whole terrible situation was that while there was a high level of frustration on the part of the public, rightfully so, on the part of our Council and City Staff and myself, at the end of the day there were no deaths and there were no serious injuries. And so the Chief, in his wisdom, and I agree with him, was not going to barge in there without necessary resources to make sure that the one shot they had, the one opportunity they had to actually get in there and clean up Wellington Street and Kent and O'Connor and the Byward Market and the baseball stadium was to do it with the necessary resources to move in quick, swiftly, and that's exactly what they did, and I appreciate the police doing that. But you're quite right, on the red zone it was lawlessness. People were having parties, there were open fires, and they were firing off fireworks that were a fire hazard to heritage buildings in the downtown core. They were harassing people in restaurants, tearing off their masks. These are not sort of made-up stories, these are all documented during the convoy occupation. And so yes, we -- we're not swallowing our pride by saying we -- you know, we could do it on our own. We needed help, and we needed the help of the other two orders of government.


  112. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)



  113. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    That's correct.


  114. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    I’d have to go back and look in files. Often these letters go out, they’re publicly made and you necessarily get a response.


  115. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    What we were looking for is not a nice type written response. We wanted action. And we believe that -- I certainly believe that this letter acted to break the log jam to put in writing, for the first time, our specific requests that we needed help.


  116. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    I recall her sending, I think, a two-page letter to I believe it was both Councillor Deans and myself.


  117. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    No. But I think, you know, as a former Minister myself, in the Provincial Government, this is the kind of letter that, you know, is pretty much a template. You thank them, you explain the situation, and you are told that, rightfully so, the Minister can’t direct the OPP on what to do, but she forwarded it to the Commissioner of the OPP. So you know, we knew at some point we would get through to the Province and they would come and help us. And when they did, it was very much appreciated, and the OPP did a remarkable job. But, you know, there’s -- the level of frustration that we had was that it’s fine to forward this to the Commissioner of the OPP, but by that time, the Commissioner would have known what our request is, because Chief Sloly was in pretty regular contact with both Commissioners.


  118. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Well, again, when I had a call with her, I can’t recall the date, but the Premier and the Solicitor General were both on the call, and they indicated that they would not be participating in the tripartite group, which was disappointing, but it’s their call. But I reiterated with the Premier on I believe the two calls that I had, that it was essential that we get police officers here as quickly as possible. And the whole issue, as I talked about earlier, the Solicitor General was under the impression that there were 1,500 officers assigned to Ottawa, which was not the case. I think what may have happened was that the Minister or the OPP were, you know, giving a cumulative number, you know, 50 here, and then maybe 40 came back, and then another 60 arrived, so you count 50 plus 60. And the other thing is, I think you have to keep in mind, in this period, was the Windsor situation, which was viewed as a higher priority, given the billion dollar a day trade blockade that was taking place in Windsor.


  119. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    And so we certainly saw through the news a significant OPP presence in the Windsor area. And I -- you know, I thought at the time, well, you know, I wish they were here, because we think we’re just as important as Windsor, but I thought, well, at the very least, they did a very good job in Windsor, and once that’s wrapped up, they’ll be sending those officers to Ottawa.


  120. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Yes. And that’s in fact what happened.


  121. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)



  122. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    I’m not aware of any such request.


  123. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    That’s correct.


  124. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    And actually, in fairness, I have not seen this letter. I don’t believe it was CC’d to me. So it’s ---


  125. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    --- the first I’ve seen it.


  126. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    No, that was never an option that was presented to me or anyone in my office.


  127. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Yes, it was all done virtually.


  128. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)



  129. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    That's correct.


  130. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Well, I have to say, Minister Mendocino was very reproachable and reasonable to deal with in the many opportunities I had to deal with him. He understood the file. But we had a disagreement in terms of what the -- I'll call it 250, I guess, officers, you know, on the ground as the federal government was saying. They were on the ground in Ottawa, but they were assigned 50 to West Block, which was the new centre block, 50 to Rideau Cottage and 50 to Rideau Hall. So out of the 250 or 257, you remove 150 right away because those individuals stationed at West Block, Rideau College [sic] and Rideau Hall were not helping Centretown or the residential area of Centretown or the ByWard Market or Overbrook-Forbes. So, you know, it was a bit frustrating because, you know, when I read through this, once you get down to 100 spread over 3 shifts of 8 hours a day, it's not a lot of officers. And so while we appreciated every time we saw a Mountie or we saw an OPP officer, we needed the large number of 1800 to get the situation under control and kick these yahoos out of our city who were disrupting the quality of life of the people of Ottawa. So, you know, at the end of the day, fast forward, we got what we wanted, and we appreciate the federal government and the provincial government's support. We wanted it sooner because this thing should not have lasted three weeks.


  131. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)



  132. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Well, disappointment that the province didn't want to take part in the tripartite. And when I had that conversation with Minister Jones and the Premier on that phone -- I think it was a phone call or Zoom. I can't recall, to be honest. The Premier was adamant that he did not feel it would be useful to have three levels of politicians sitting around a table.


  133. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Well, you know, I think he felt it would be a waste of time. You know, I -- you know, when he said that, I was quite frustrated with him. He said, "Look at, what's it going to accomplish? A bunch of people sitting around a table talking and making decisions." And I said, "Well, that sounds like a cabinet meeting." And he didn't like that, but the end of the day, it was his call. If he wasn't going to go to -- force his Minister to go to the meeting or not go to the meeting, he just said they're not going to be part of it. So as I said, now in fairness to the Premier, when he did engage, it worked. We had the police officers and the OPP, we had the RCMP, and we were all on the same book, but this thing should have been resolved in week one, not week three.


  134. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    I'd have to look through my notes, but it was, you know, I think probably sometime by the end of the second week of the protest, sometime in that period.


  135. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Well, you know, notwithstanding the fact they didn't want to participate in the tripartite, they were obviously available to us. And, you know, as I mentioned, you know, at the local level, federally, I had very good liaison and connection with Minister Yasir Naqvi, the MP for Ottawa Centre; Mona Fortier, the President of Treasury Board -- I think she was in a different portfolio at that point; and Minister McLeod. So we were having ongoing discussions at the political level, and all three of those and other elected officials were acting as a very good conduit for our requests back to their political establishments. And I can't give you an exact time when the province was more engaged, but they were always engaged. They just weren't at the tripartite table. And I think certainly after Windsor, they recognized the next big problem is Ottawa and they better, you know, get there as soon as possible because this thing was close to swirling out of control. And what we were seeing was every weekend, people were treating this like it was some sort of a rave, or a party, or something, and arriving. And there were DJs, and loud sound systems, and racist flags, and desecration of our National War Monument, and I think -- you know, I can't give you the exact date, but eventually, the OPP came on board. Eventually, we got the RCMP. But as I said, this thing frustrated me because, you know, the public were saying, "Well, why don't you tell the police to do this?" And as we all know, or most people know, in our society, a politician cannot by law direct a police service on operational matters. So we have to work at the political level to do whatever we can to get some resolution to a situation that was extremely hurtful to thousands of people.


  136. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)



  137. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Okay. I see that, yeah.


  138. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Yes, I -- you know, I don't know the sequence of dates as to whether -- you know, because I did have that conversation with the Premier where he rejected the idea, but, you know, I know that the federal Ministers were also trying to get the Solicitor General to engage on the tripartite table, which she declined.


  139. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Well, I had at least two calls with the Premier, so you're probably correct in the sequence of events.


  140. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    I really don't recollect what the reference to visible or invisible was.


  141. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    I can only speculate.


  142. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    So I don't really know what -- -


  143. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    --- was going through their mind at that point. They certainly knew that they were more than welcome to the table. And they had had our letter from Councillor Deans and I with the specific request and the breakdown ---


  144. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    --- the officers needed.


  145. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Where is this?


  146. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Okay. Right.


  147. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Thank you.


  148. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Yes. And my understanding, because I was briefed on this, was that the Chief indicated there were -- criminal elements I believe were involved with the biker gang community in Quebec, and they were blockading the corner of where Rideau, Wellington, Sussex, and Colonel By connected. It was also -- had shut down, as you know, the Rideau Centre which was a major economic generator, as well as a lot of small restaurants and shops along Rideau Street and the ByWard Market.


  149. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Well, and also it's a major transit hub for both STO and OC Transpo as well.


  150. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    And a lot of small businesses in that area.


  151. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Well, what I think we were trying to do was to keep that number confidential because we didn't want to show our hand, or the police’s hand as to how many resources were coming in. But I don't know when the 1,800 came out, it may have come out of the Police Services Board or a question from a Member of Council, you know, you couldn't keep it suppressed forever. But you know, I certainly was not concerned with protesters coming all the way from Windsor. What my preoccupation was to get the police officers that had quelled the situation in Windsor to get to Ottawa as quickly as possible. I think his point is it was a bit of a game of whack a mole. When they’d sort of resolve one situation another thing would flare up. A good example of that was the shack that was being built near the canal and the NAC in Confederation Park, this permanent structure where it was a food distribution point, and it was very, very, unsafe. There was propane, open fires, gasoline, all stored in this area, and our Fire Chief and fire service said this is a tinderbox that could explode. So you know, we had to request from the NCC, because it was their property, to move in. They eventually did move in and tore all of that down, but then people started to come back again. So it was one of these great frustrations that people had where you've got one thing resolved and then you moved on, you just didn't have the resources to keep enough police services there to ensure that a flare wouldn't happen again. So it all boiled down to, we needed more boots on the ground.


  152. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Well, you know, the police have the responsibility for the Highway Traffic Act, you’re correct. And you know, police can issue tickets for bylaws, parking and so on, but we had you know, I think the figures are in the documentation, there were thousands of tickets that were issued, hundreds of people that were charged and arrested. But we couldn't, for instance, send unarmed bylaw officers into a very volatile situation to hand out parking tickets. If police were being swarmed, you know, certainly you can expect even worse treatment of individuals who are not given the proper training to deal with a confrontation of that nature.


  153. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    I would not want to send a friend or foe into that red zone, or into the area where the Quebec biker group was.


  154. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    You know, I just would -- you know, I wouldn't in good conscience what to force bylaw officers who are not geared to dealing with angry unruly mobs, into a situation where their safety could be in danger.


  155. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)



  156. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Well, you know, there was a level -- we were a bit like the meat in the sandwich. We were trying to get both orders of government to provide their national and provincial police services to the City of Ottawa, and the numbers that the Chief and his command team required to get this issue resolved. And we knew, you know, if you go back and look at the sequence of events from week one, to week two, to week three, we started to see a lot more action on week two than we did in week one. And what was important I think from my perspective was, you know, we all had a skin in the game in the sense that we had a police force, the OPP is a provincial police force, and the Mounties are the federal police force. And we need it all to be working and following the same script, because the last thing we needed was a bunch of distractions where you know, they don't agree, and they are fighting and squabbling. You know, at the end of the whole process when the police finally did move in and they have the 1,800, I believe it went up to 1,900, it was in my opinion -- and I'm not a policing expert -- but a very good case study on how to resolve a situation relatively quickly. They moved in, I believe on the Friday, they had the notices attached to all the vehicles on Thursday, and most of the work was done on Saturday, and then the last of it cleaned up on Sunday. And so, my point was I can't go and start criticizing the province if you still haven't given me a commitment for the number of officers we needed from the RCMP. Now, to get back to my point on sequence, I understand, you know, I think a lot of public would say, well, why weren’t there more police here more quickly? We had police from Vancouver, Calgary, you know, all over the country, municipal forces, the Mounties had to ship people in from all parts of the country, and that takes time, there's logistics to that. That's why I wish that had started two weeks ago, at the end of week one instead of at the end of week two. But at the end of this process, there was a logistical challenge to get that number of officers, most of whom had to fly or drive to get to Ottawa. We had to put them up, this is an expensive undertaking, we had to make sure they had proper food, that had to be sworn in, those Mounties that were coming in, because they didn't have jurisdiction on municipal grounds as a Mountie, but the OPP did. So there were a lot of things that took time, so I wish I could have snapped my finger and said, let's have 1,800, get them in there and end this nonsense. But that was not the case because it took, you know, four, five, six days. When they finally ramped up and they had the 18 to 1,900 individuals it was a very good show of leadership, and a very good show of the professionalism of the police officers. And I repeat this, because I think this this gets lost, we'd be having a much different Commission and discussion if someone had been shot and killed or seriously injured. That did not happen, and that is good, I think, credit to the police officers on the ground in miserable conditions. As you recall, it was freezing, February, ice all over the place, and you know, they cleaned it out, and I give great credit to our first responders and others who worked very hard, paramedics, fire service, by law, public works, OC Transpo. It was all hands on deck. And I know the public wanted us to move faster, and I empathize with what they were going through, but at the end of the process I think we have to remember that there was not -- these things are tinderboxes, you see them in other jurisdictions where it flares up and you see the tragedy of, you know, unprofessionalism taking hold.


  157. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Well, in fairness, I think it's six of one, half a dozen of the other in many respects. You know, whether we get the province to agree first or the federal government, we're a little different as a city, because we are the nation's capital. We have a large RCMP presence as result of headquarters being here, the VIP protection detail, protecting federal buildings and so on. So even though we're dependent on the province, we're equally dependent on the federal government as our largest employer and the group that pays the most in payments in lieu of taxes. So the reality is they were -- I would consider them equal partners during this crisis. I wasn’t going to go through the niceties and protocol and say, “Well, we’ll just keep hammering the Province until they agree and then we’ll go to the Feds.” We were trying to do it at the same time on two different tracks to get them both to agree, which eventually they did, but it took some time.


  158. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    More time than I liked.


  159. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    I don’t believe that was the case. Certainly, the federal Ministers asked me to, you know, communicate with the Premier, and I had a pretty good rapport with the Premier and, you know, as many people know, he’s very accessible on his phone and takes calls quite quickly. And he - - you know, he was, I think he was sincere when he said, “You know, anything you need.” But we needed to translate that into actual action.


  160. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    And so, you know, I was asked by Mr. Mendicini [sic] to raise the issue of OPP officers, and that’s when I said, “Well, I can’t go and keep pointing a finger at the Province when you haven’t delivered your end of the bargain.” They eventually did, and we’re grateful for that because that ended the blockade.


  161. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)



  162. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    No, it was never once raised that, you know, “Well, don’t talk to us, you’re a creature of the Province.”


  163. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    That never happened.


  164. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Yeah. I’m just looking for my notes.


  165. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    It’s February 8th?


  166. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Just trying to ---


  167. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Sorry; I’m not seeing it on the 8th on my chronology. But if you have it, I’ll believe you.


  168. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)



  169. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    I’m assuming it’s the Province. Usually you think of PT as provincial, territorial, but...


  170. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Well, it’s the tripartite table that he didn’t think was helpful.


  171. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Yeah. I think it was 1,500 but close to 1,400, correct.


  172. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    And on the Sylvia Jones, her name was on it, but she did not participate.


  173. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)



  174. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Well, I think he was alluding to the fact that it would have been helpful to have the Province -- you know, it’s like a three-leg stool; if you only have two legs on it, it’s not that sturdy. You need all three; the provincial, municipal, and federal orders of government, number one. And I just think, you know, during a crisis, from a leadership point of view, the more information you have, the better to share with your partners. We’re not in opposition to one another, but we need all three to be singing from the same hymn book, as they say. So my interpretation of that on that call with the Prime Minister was that he felt that we needed to continue to put pressure on the OPP and the Province -- not the OPP, but the Province to get the OPP to come in good numbers, just as they did in Windsor. I think Windsor was wrapped up relatively quickly, and there was the situation in a small town in Alberta where there was a fairly large RCMP presence. We needed both of those police services on board in order to move in. The police from Ottawa cannot do it on their own, and having 50 OPP and another 50 or 100 RCMP was not going to cut it. We needed the 1,800 total.


  175. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    No, I wouldn’t interpret that. I think normally, in the normal course of events, you know, for instance, the declaration of a state of emergency or requesting military, there is that process where you have the Municipality ask the provincial government, who ask the Minister of National Defence. We did that, for instance, during the flooding, I believe, in 2017, 2019 where the military were very helpful to come in and help. But from my perspective, this was completely different. We weren’t -- this is not a regular, you know, situation; this is a very unique situation. And, again, I challenge anyone to come up with any time in our recent history in the last two generations where this kind of a -- you know, an occupation took place for a prolonged period of time. So, you know, I think he was referencing probably the normal course of events is that we would normally go through the OPP and up the chain of command. But we had requested, based on the letters Councillor Deans and I sent to both orders of government, and it was very clear that we needed both of them to respond as quickly as possible with action and not words.


  176. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Well, we knew what help we wanted, and they knew what help we needed because we sent the letter. So they were fully aware of our request and specific demand.


  177. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    No. Again, you know, I think you know, I only had, I believe, two or three calls with the Premier, and I think only one of those was with Minister Jones so I don’t recall -- in fairness, I don’t know why they would be asking us what we need when, in fact, we told them what we needed in that letter to the Premier and to the Minister.


  178. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Sorry; where is that? Which paragraph?


  179. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Okay, I see that.


  180. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    I don’t. And I don’t believe I asked for clarification. I had confidence, full confidence in Chief Sloly. He was a relatively new Chief, as you know, to the City of Ottawa, but he had extensive experience as a deputy chief in Toronto, and in particular, with some large events, I think it was either the G7 or the G20 meetings that took place in Toronto. So I can't recall where Chief Sloly and I were not on the same page. You know, most of the press conferences dealt with police matters, so he was the lead in it, and I would be scrummed, for instance, after a Council meeting of when we had a Zoom call of any nature. But I don't recall any rift that we had. I think one of the things was, you know, I was probably very impatient at how slow the process was going to get the police officers and how slow it took to get the actual breakdown as to what the Chief needed. So I may have said, you know, in public, that I wanted to see this letter go off to the two orders of government much more quickly, and he may have had a different opinion because, you know, he sent it when he sent it.


  181. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Well, the concerns were what happened to our intelligence system, both at the three orders of government, that we did not have a better sense that these individuals were going to come and stay a long period of time. Why were so many vehicles allowed to enter what I consider the most significant historic street in the history -- in the country because it's the street that houses our Parliament buildings? And why the roads were not blocked off when we started to see an increase in the number of trucks coming down the street and parking on King Edward? And I think almost every Canadian has that same questions. Why were these allowed to happen? And it's easy to be, you know, talking about hindsight and looking in the rear-view mirror. I think this thing came about, and it just kept growing and growing, and we collectively, all three orders of government and the police, did not respond quick enough, and we allowed that major street, and led into the residential streets, to be taken over by a group of people that had no respect for the law and no respect for the people of our city.


  182. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Well, again, I'm not an expert on policing matters, but the first thing should have been was to, you know, once we saw a number of vehicles arriving on Wellington Street, getting in there with a jersey barrier and shut off Wellington Street. That would have pushed them onto other roads. But my understanding, from the discussions that I saw taking place in the media, was that the prize pig was Wellington Street. They wanted to have Wellington Street, a flat bed truck and a podium and a sound system to denounce the Federal Government. So if they couldn't have that, going onto Queen or Albert or Slater, not much of a backdrop on those streets. So this was very much, I think their intention was to go in and have them, with these vulgar flags and swastikas and confederate flags and so on, swirling all over the place, with the backdrop of Parliament Hill like they'd taken over the country.


  183. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    No. Again, you know, that would've been handled at the staff level. You know, as you know, the staff, I think By-law and Public Works, would be responsible for blockading physically the street, but you would need a police presence there because you had to maintain a corridor, as they do now. If you go down to Wellington Street, there's still a corridor where an ambulance or a firetruck can get through. But you're quite correct, you know, the challenge we all faced was that this thing came, we didn't think it was going to be as big as it did. And I've had conversations with other mayors who said, "you know what, we learned lessons from you." You know, Toronto, I think handled the situation, and the mayor told me, Mayor Tory, that, you know, we were the guinea pig of these protests and it allowed them to get their act together at the start of the issue because they saw what -- the pattern of activity, the truckers were doing here in Ottawa. And as a result, they were able to secure tow trucks quickly and they were able to close off access points to Queens Park, and the same thing happened in Quebec City. So you know, these mayors, you know, learned lessons from us, and if it had happened in another jurisdiction, I think we would've acted differently and quickly to secure Wellington Street as quickly as possible.


  184. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)



  185. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Well, it's not the time to change the leadership of the police service, namely the Chief. But if you go back, I just wanted to -- you know, that was one of the frustrations I did have with Chief Sloly when he said it was not a -- this is not going to be a police solution. And I think a lot of people were sort of scratching their head, and they said, "Well, if it's not a police solution, how are you going to solve it?" These individuals, you know, by and large you could not argue rationally or sensibly with. They were emotionally charged, angry people from all parts of the country. And I just thought that was a strange statement to make. But again, you know, as I said, I very much backed the Chief, and I thought, given the situation he found himself in, he was doing the very best he could to manage a lot of different groups, his officers, two other orders of government, the Police Services Board, City Council, residents. It was a very stressful time for everyone, I'm sure self included. But you know, I don't know at that point if there was some discussion about whether to remove the Chief or not, I certainly don't recall it. Later on, yes, because obviously he did in fact leave the police service, I can't recall how many, I think it was on the 15th.


  186. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    15th; correct.


  187. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Yeah, not with the -- to the best of my knowledge, not with the federal government, although I do recall some comments that Minister Blair made because he knew Chief Sloly because Minister Blair used to be the Chief of the Toronto Police, but I can't recall the context or what was said about that. I know, for instance, during the call I had with Minister Jones and the Premier, they expressed some concern about the Chief's plan or lack of plan to get this issue resolved. And you know, again, I suspect Premier Ford knew Chief Sloly from his days as a Toronto City Councillor, but it didn't go farther than I think there was -- Minister Jones made some reference to the fact that she was hearing that things were not operating at the Operations Centre as well as they should be, and there was some conflict and division.


  188. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Well, I can't speculate on what the Prime Minister said, but I think I shared his frustration that they wouldn't participate in the tripartite, we couldn't get a clear answer as to whether they were going to support the number of officers that we needed, and you know, the Premier did not come to Ottawa during the occupation. I think there was a sense by some in the community "Why is the Premier not here?", but in fairness, you know, sometimes when you bring a leader into a situation it causes more disruption because you need extra police and so on. But you know, we had an open line of communication with the Premier, but I felt that -- I think he was probably more comfortable not getting into the mix of this until they were able to come up with the number of officers that he could announce were supporting our officers.


  189. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Well, I look at we're all politicians, the three of us, and my sense is that he didn't necessarily want to wear the situation because he felt that it was very much the responsibility of the Ottawa Police Service. And I fundamentally disagreed with them. I said of course they’re the lead police service, they have that legal jurisdiction, but we need the help of the other two orders of government with police officers.


  190. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Yeah, well I’m sharing my frustration because I was, you know, on the frontline trying to explain to the public why it was taking so long to get so many resources into Ottawa when Windsor went quite quickly, and obviously when the guns were discovered in that small community in Alberta, it was shut down pretty quickly. But ours was lingering on and there was -- you know, while we’d see -- you know, we’d have sort of a bit of an up and down where, you know, one day we’d get a count saying five or six of the rigs moved out, which was good, and then the next day we’d have, you know, seven or eight are coming back in. So it was very, very fluid and very frustrating, and I think, you know, I was expressing my frustration, as was the Prime Minister, that on two fronts, one, we need the pressure on the OPP -- or the Province to get the OPP here, but secondly, the Federal Government had to step up and do its duty, particularly being the Nation’s capital. We needed the RCMP. And, you know, as I said, I went through this period where you were spending an hour arguing that we don’t have 250 officers, you’ve already assigned 150 to those three. And I’m not disputing, you wanted to protect the Prime Minister and the Governor General and Parliament, but don’t keep repeating the fact that there’s, you know, 250 officers out on the street in Ottawa, because that was not the case, and no one -- and I think, at the end of the process, you know, was there a little of, sort of, you know, if we push him on this front politically, he might act? It worked, because we got the police officers we needed. You know, you don’t necessarily want to go and constantly prod and attack and so on, but most of this was done behind the scenes so that we were not going to show, at least at the political level, there was this fractious debate. We could have a post mortem and deal with that after, but the immediate urgency was to give some piece of mind and comfort to those people who were living through hell in Centretown, and the Market, and Overbrook, Forbes.


  191. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Absolutely. I think that would have sped up the process because, you know, it’s almost like that game of telephone, by the time you get the translation of the last person, it’s a lot different than the first person. I think everyone in the same room -- that was -- and I give credit to, I think it was Minister Blair that was the one that suggested the tripartite political group meet. And unfortunately we weren’t able to convince the Province, but, you know, we can’t force them to do what they don’t want to do. But, you know, the end result, albeit a week or two late, we did see unity on the frontlines with OPP, municipal police services, and Ottawa Police and RCMP. And as I said, they did what I consider a textbook case of cleaning up a really, really terrible situation.


  192. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    I can only speculate, because it’s a theoretical question, but I truly believe it would have. If we’re all at the same table speaking to one another, we can have our arguments back and forth, but, you know, in fairness, you know, at the other levels, there seemed to be some positive relationship, but there were obviously disputes with respect to what was the final plan that was going to be signed off on? And then of course, as you know, Chief Sloly left the Service, so that created an element of instability. But it didn’t last long, because just a few days later, the Police, with their plan, took hold and cleaned up the city.


  193. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Yes, I do.


  194. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    I believe so, yes.


  195. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Well, my understanding was that it was still being worked on and there was still debate amongst different agencies as to what was going to be the final plan. But in terms of the specifics, as I’m not a member of the Police Services Board, I would have no information or knowledge about what was going on behind the scenes.


  196. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Again, I can only speculate because I wasn’t part of that decision-making but, obviously, the Chief felt comfortable days earlier giving us the number 1800 of police officers that one would assume would work its way into the plan that he was working on. So I think, you know, the pressure we were putting on OPS was to give us a number so that we could go back to our partners at the federal and provincial levels of government to get the officers that would fit the plan ---


  197. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    --- that was still being worked on.


  198. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Yes. And they would have received that, I suppose, from the RCMP that are at that command centre. As you know, you know, politicians are not part of a putting a plan together to deal with an operational matter.


  199. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    So I’d have to rely on their comments to get that information.


  200. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Well, I -- at one point, I received a -- or had a conversation with Steve Kanellakos that indicated that there was some dispute and argument about what the final plan was going to look like but that was really the extent of it. My understanding was that these were not insurmountable issues and that they were close to signing off on the plan that would incorporate the 1800 officers to get this whole terrible situation resolved.


  201. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    I don’t know if I did or not, whether that would have come from Steve Kanellakos or Serge Arpin, but I don’t recall me raising the issue with them. Any time I have any conversation about the plan, he would indicate to me that they’re closing in on finalizing it, and while not giving me the specific date when they actually would start, it was alluded to on a number of occasions that they would start the process to clean out the whole area in days, not weeks.


  202. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Well, again, that would have been done at the staff level, not at the political level, so Steve Kanellakos or Serge Arpin. But, you know, the reality is that we have to separate our roles. Even though I’m sitting in on this group, it’s not making operational decisions. We were relying on the OPS to work with their partners to come up with a plan that was achievable and attainable in a relatively short period of time with the resources that we’d secured.


  203. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    I believe so, yeah.


  204. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    That’s correct.


  205. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Well, I assume it was because we were closing in on that date when the police were going to start moving and it was no longer necessary. If we have secure the number of OPP officers in that period time or a couple of days later, there was not much point in meeting again. Although, I suspect if you looked at all of the different phone calls and Zooms and so on, we would have had meetings, bilateral or multilateral but not the full tripartite. That was the last one.


  206. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Well, at that time, but then we sent the letter; we had the two calls with the Prime Minister; had a number of calls with Minister Mendicino; and eventually, it all culminated in the officers arriving, both -- I forgot to mention Municipal Services as well. They were quite substantial. You know, when you walked through the site and you saw Belleville police cars, and York Region, and Toronto, it was actually quite a relief to see those other police officers helping their fellow police officers. So, you know, at the end of the day, the process unfolded as it should. But as I’ve said, one of the frustrations I had as a common theme was the lack of commitment to officers earlier on in the process.


  207. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Well, with the cleanup of the streets ---


  208. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    --- where the police moved in and ---


  209. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Yes, and that was -- my biggest criticism was that it took so long to get this resolved. And again, you know, it’s easy for me as an armchair critic to go and say, "Well, why didn’t you move faster?" I understand there's some logistical -- you know, we had officers from Vancouver. Well, it takes time to get the plane tickets and get over here and get hotel accommodations and so on. So you know, I'm not being overly critical of the fact that there are some logistical challenges, but I was pushing from really, Day 1 or Day 2. We needed more help, because the chief told me we couldn't handle this on our own.


  210. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Yeah. That was why I took on the role of ensuring that we had the political lines of communication open, why we established the tripartite committee, and why we sent the letter from my office and from Councillor Deans, and why we continued to have dialogue with local elected officials, members of council and our political counterparts at the federal and provincial government.


  211. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)



  212. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    And other municipal officers.


  213. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    No. You know, we -- I think the other level of frustration was that we pushed for some time to get a number. You know, I mentioned this earlier this morning, that we just couldn't go in -- continue going into meetings, whether bilateral or the tripartite meetings, without a clear idea from OPS as to what we needed. We finally did get that, and that acted as a bit of a mechanism to unclog the decision making, but it just took too long.


  214. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Sorry, can you -- I don’t quite understand the first part of your question.


  215. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    In theory, I hope that would have been the case, yes.


  216. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    That’s correct.


  217. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    That’s correct.


  218. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Yeah, there's no question that you know, when you look at -- look back, you know, hindsight on what happened, there were many failure points along the way, and you know, whether it's the City or the provincial or the federal governments, we all have to take responsibility for the fact that we did not act fast enough and that the people of Ottawa suffered the most as a result of the fact that we did not clean up that occupation for three weeks. It should have been done sooner.


  219. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Well, as you know, we have limited authority and responsibility and powers in a situation like this. This was early on, literally within the first 24 hours. This was clearly a police issue. And I'm not simply shrugging our responsibility. We had certain responsibilities from bylaw and keeping the streets opened and municipal requirements and policies and permitting process. This was just -- this overwhelmed the City of Ottawa. It overwhelmed us at the administrative, bureaucratic, operational, and political levels. We had never seen anything like this in our lives, and I think we were all, quite frankly, treading water, trying to keep our head afloat as we saw this situation unfold in front of us, both on television and in person. So it was, you know, a horrific experience for the people who lived there, who tried to work there, who tried to visit our city. It's had long-lasting impacts on many people's health. It's hurt our tourism industry, for instance. And you know, we have to rebuild that trust with the public and with the police, and we have to, on a go-forward basis, learn lessons and hopefully the Commission's report will bring forward a series of recommendations that we -- if we ever have a situation like this, we'd do much better for the public.


  220. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)



  221. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    No. Our staff were very clear that again, you know, I reiterate the fact that a municipal state of emergency, I think people see on television mayors in the United States cities declaring states of emergency with the powers they have. It wouldn't have made a big difference at all. In hindsight, I suppose if I was to recommend to my successor -- we often get this question by the public and people get, "Why not exercise -- why aren't you declaring a state of emergency?" In hindsight, you know, maybe we just declare it so it brings that peace of mind to the public that we know it's an emergency. We didn’t need a document to know that this was an extraordinary, dangerous, serious situation that was going to have negative impacts on our residents, and quite frankly, the country. And the frustration was that the reason why we wanted the RCMP there was the protestors were protesting federal legislation right across Parliament Hill, the prime minister's office. We needed provincial support as they did in Windsor because there was an economic imperative that our city not be shut down for three or four or five weeks.


  222. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Well, we're going through the debate as to what to do with Wellington Street, for instance, so I think we're going to have a -- you know, there's a motion passed, many motions passed by my colleagues on council, and one of the motions passed clearly indicated that we have to do something to protect the parliamentary precinct, both in terms of who should be patrolling Wellington Street, the roles and responsibilities of PPS versus OPP versus OPS versus RCMP, and then the military police. So we're very much a jurisdictional challenge because we have so many different layers of responsibility. But you know, if I was looking back and had the ability to you know, change what was done early on, I would have insisted that we have barricades blockading Wellington Street as a first step, because as I said, I think it was symbolic on the part of the truckers. They wanted that as their backdrop, and you know, forcing them to come in on Slater or Albert or another parallel street to Wellington did not have the same effect or impact.


  223. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    So now we're going through a dialogue with First Nations, with community groups, with all of the different policing organizations to determine what are we going to do with Wellington Street, because you know, we were concerned a few weeks after the convoy, there was the motorcycle rally that was somewhat disruptive, but much better contained with Chief Bell, Acting Chief Bell; and concerned about July 1st. There was some protest, but it didn’t amount to much. And what's going to happen next February and January and March? Are they going to come back and try to repeat the behaviour that we saw this January and February? So we have to be better prepared to protect those national symbols such as Parliament Hill.


  224. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Absolutely. It was unacceptable for one day let alone three weeks, but we know that, you know, in a free society, people have the right to protest. But this went well beyond protest. It was illegal activity, hurtful activity, harmful to the public's health, and you know, I think the the Organizers, you know, seemed to show very little respect for the law and very little respect for coming into our neighbourhood. We even had members of Parliament going out and taking selfies and so on. And I asked those individuals who were critical of us moving them out, "How would you like to have 40 18-wheelers blaring their horn, literally 24 hours a day, spewing diesel fume, cooking a roast pig on a spit, throwing off fireworks at all hours, threatening people, being called, you know, homophobic slurs and racist slurs, how would you like that in your neighbourhood in Saskatoon, or Halifax, or Winnipeg, or Red Deer? You wouldn't tolerate it for a minute." Downtown Ottawa is not just some sterile environment called Parliament Hill. There are people that live there, thousands of people that live there. And they were affected the most, and, you know, we have to do better. If this situation ever comes close to being repeated, we must do better for the people of Ottawa.


  225. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    The deal was to -- let me just backtrack for a moment. The reason why I went down this route was simply there was very little progress being made on any front to get the situation resolved. And my preoccupation number one was to bring some relief to the residential community. I wasn't as concerned about Parliament Hill or Wellington Street, even though those are important symbols in our country, but the people being affected the most were the people who were trying to get a good night's sleep and that were living in that red zone. And so I was approached, as you know, by Mr. French, who said he had contacts with trucking companies and those -- some of those that were involved. And he said, "I'm willing at no charge. I'm not doing this for money or anything else. I'm trying to be helpful." Because he was watching what everyone else was watching on television, this mess that was, you know, hurting so many different people and small businesses. So I'd met him two or three times. He was the former Chief of Staff to the Premier Ford. I'd had occasion to deal with him in my capacity as Mayor and he as Chief of Staff and was in two or three meetings with he and the Premier over a number of months. So I was a little skeptical. It was, you know, who does this guy know? You know, and I said, "I'm not interested in meeting them, but, you know, if you can come broker some kind of a deal to get trucks out of the residential community, good for you." So I referred him to my Chief of Staff, and I think Steve Kanellakos. And over a couple of days, they negotiated an agreement based on the letter that I sent to one of the organizers, Ms. Lich, indicating that I would be willing to meet with them on a number of conditions, and there are I think four different conditions. I think you have the letter. I don't want to give you the wrong conditions, but basically, you know, you got to get a number of trucks out of the residential area. They can't be replaced by other trucks. And if this is done and a couple of other things, then the Mayor would be pleased to meet with you. This stemmed from the fact that the Police Liaison Teams approached the City because there was concern that communication had broken down between the liaison teams from OPS and the protest leaders. And as you know, there was not one united voice that spoke for the protesters. There were many different leaders and different camps. So prior to Mr. French's call, Steve Kanellakos did meet with a number of the protesters in his office and heard them out. And when he told me they'd asked for a meeting, I was initially reluctant, not with me, but I said, "I'm not sure if this is a good idea for Steve." And he thought it was, and I said, okay.


  226. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Well, you know, that we're meeting with this group that has been causing such damage and is this just a public relations stunt to get a couple of pictures to say, "Look, we've met with the top City bureaucrat, and we're going to meet with the mayor, and we didn't get anything in return." And, you know, remain the status quo. So they met, and Steve Kanellakos reported back that they seemed to be serious in their attempt to try to bring the temperature down. And then I believe a day or two after, that's when Mr. French got involved. We sent a letter, Ms. Lich sent a reply back, agreeing to the conditions. And they started, I believe on the 13th or 12th to move the trucks. The letter I think was the 13th. They started to move some of the trucks out of the residential areas onto Wellington Street.


  227. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    The 13th it was the letter.


  228. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    I think it was dated.


  229. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    And the police assigned a senior officer to go down by basically outside of this building roughly, to coordinate the movement of those trucks. And my understanding -- sorry, go ahead.


  230. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    My understanding was that 40 big rigs moved and there were upwards of 60 other vehicles of different sizes that started to move onto Wellington, away from the residential community. And then that process was stopped when the Emergencies Act was implemented, I believe, on the 14th.


  231. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Campers and things like that, so I think it was -- it totalled about 102.


  232. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Well, my recollection was that Steve Kanellakos said as a result of the Emergencies Act, all of that activity was stopped and they had to redeploy all of our police officers to the main event, which was to take back the street.


  233. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    That's correct.


  234. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    No. No, we were under no illusions that it was going to solve the problem. It was going to solve one small part of the problem in a residential area along the streets such as, you know, Kent and O'Connor and so on where people live, get the out of harm's way. So, you know, and that was made very clear, you know, with my conversations with Serge who had discussions with Mr. French that this was not going to stop the rest of the activity that we were fighting against.


  235. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Well, the deal was they were to move out of the residential areas onto Wellington Street where no one lives, as you know, on Wellington Street. They're just government buildings. And most of those were empty, because obviously, they were in the red zone. No one was working out of their office from a safety point of view. So it was very much trying to deal with one preoccupation that I had, which was the concern for those people in the residential areas who had been putting up with, you know, close to two weeks, two weeks plus of ear-slitting noise and, you know, train horns and so on.


  236. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    No. No, there was no such part of the arrangement. The reality is that we were hoping that some of those individuals who, quite frankly, were blocked in by other trucks would decide to leave. And I was told by someone with the Police Service, I can't recall who it was, that in fact five or six of those trucks actually just left because it was -- you know, they were stuck behind three or four deep trucks. If they wanted to leave, they couldn't leave anyways. So I think this gave a little bit of relief to those people who felt they'd made their point and they had to go home.


  237. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Well, in the downtown. There were more at Coventry and more at Rideau and Sussex.


  238. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    No, I wasn't.


  239. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)



  240. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Well, when it was released, I think like most people, very few people knew exactly what the Emergencies Act was, to be perfectly honest. I remember growing up in Quebec, what the War Measures Act was and the implications that had for the province of Quebec and the rest of the country. But no one had raised the Emergencies Act with us, but when it was invoked and I was briefed on what its powers were, I thought this is a very positive step to getting this situation resolved once and for all because of the provisions of the Act. So I very much supported it, and I was -- as you may recall, the current chair of the Police Services Board, Eli El-Chantiry and I, sent a letter to the Prime Minister thanking him for invoking the Act, because it actually acted as the catalyst for us to move forward and get that whole situation in the downtown core resolved once and for all, and give people their street and their homes back.


  241. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Well, the single biggest issue for us was that we did not -- even if we moved in, we didn't have the capacity to move the trucks out, because we had basically two OC Transpo large rig trucks, tow trucks, and so this compelled tow truck companies to provide this service. And I can tell you it sounds a little bit hokey, but you know, when I came out of City Hall after the Emergencies Act and I saw a whole row of tow trucks parked on Laurier Ave, I thought -- I never thought I'd see the day where I'm so happy to see a tow truck, because these tow trucks ended up doing an excellent job basically hauling all of the trucks, and trailers, and campers, and everything else out of Wellington Street. And you know, what they had to do, because the companies were still fearful there would be retribution by some of the trucking convoy, they had to put decals of the Ottawa Police Service over their company decal, almost deputising them with the logo, so that they wouldn't be harassed after the whole incident was over.


  242. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Well, I'm assuming that it would have been a combination of the police in the City that procured them. I know for instance, I wrote to, or I texted John Torry, because I saw the number of tow trucks they had in Toronto, and I said where -- you know, do you have tow trucks that you can lend us? And he said, well, here's the names of three or four different companies in Toronto that we use, because he had some but he couldn't give up his TTC tow trucks, just as we couldn't give up our OC Transpo tow trucks. So he provided names and I passed that along to Steve Kanellakos and the City staff, and the tow trucks showed up because they had no choice, and they did great work, and they helped to speed up the cleanup of the street substantially.


  243. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Well, we were told by every tow truck company that they were not going to participate, and then when the Emergencies Act was introduced tow trucks suddenly appeared. So I think the cause and effect was yes, the Emergencies Act compelled them. I read the section just the other day in preparation of this hearing, and it was made very clear that they were not going to be coming and helping us unless they were forced by law, and that’s what the Emergencies Act did.


  244. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Well, yeah, I don't know the procurement policies ---


  245. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    --- of OPS versus the City’s procurement policy. We often procure vehicles, for instance, for the OPS, so whether it was OPS doing it directly, or the City of Ottawa, it was one or the other.


  246. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    I don't know definitively, no.


  247. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    No, I received a press release like everyone else did that day.


  248. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    I thought it would be helpful that that information was shared by me. There's no requirement, I suppose, of the Board to do that. But it would have been helpful because if I was -- found myself in a scrum I was being told this for the first time it would've been nice to have a heads up about that.


  249. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)



  250. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)



  251. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Yeah. It was on Zoom or Teams with myself, Steve Kanellakos, Robyn Guess from my office, Serge Arpin, and Councillor Deans, and I believe one of her assistants we're on the Zoom call. And she indicated it based on a press release that, I can't recall the exact wording, but it was something to the effect -- it's in the documents -- it's something to the effect that we're working on a new command structure. And I was curious about what this was, and it also indicated a new command structure and hiring a new chief. I thought, well, this seems a little strange. We're in the midst of a crisis. I didn't get into a long, detailed discussion with Councillor Deans about Chief Sloly’s departure and whether he was fired, or resigned, or what the compensation package was. That was the business of the Police Services Board. But it was clear that Councillor Deans wanted to move quickly to bring in a new acting Chief, and that was the bulk of the discussion that we had that -- with that call.


  252. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    I had a deep concern about it, because you know, we had Chief Sloly on one day, the next day we had Interim Chief Bell, and then the next day the Board was going to appoint another chief, so we had three chiefs in three days. That's not stabilizing for the situation that we were about to deal with in two or three days when the police moved in to resolve the situation.


  253. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    That’s correct.


  254. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Technically no, they didn’t. But I thought, you know, I know for instance when chiefs have been hired in the past, the Board as a courtesy, would bring the individual or their proposed candidate to my office for a get to know you session. And I was concerned about the instability of having three chiefs in three days, I didn't think that sent much confidence to the community, particularly when the chief -- my understanding -- was in Florida at the time and probably couldn't make it back, you know, in time to oversee the implementation of the plan to clean up Wellington Street, which took place that weekend.


  255. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    That’s right.


  256. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    And Councillor Deans, or Chair Deans at the time, said to the effect, you don't want me to sign this contract, because the contract had not been signed. And I said, yes, I can't tell you what to do, because you are independent and autonomous, but I think it would be wise not to sign a contract until we get this situation stabilized in Ottawa, to have someone from another jurisdiction come and try to, you know, learn the street names, let alone the command structure that the Chief had put in place. And Chair Deans committed not to signing the contract, and then later that day it was discovered that in fact, she had signed the contract.


  257. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Yes, but she'd indicated that she was not going to do it, because she understood my deep concerns about moving at that pace.


  258. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    No, I didn't think I did. It was ultimately her choice, and she said she wouldn't sign the contract, so I took her at her word.


  259. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    And that date is?


  260. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)



  261. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Well you’re correct. From my perspective, it was the decision to sign the contract, despite giving me assurance that she wouldn’t sign the contract, number one. And secondly, the instability that that had. And thirdly, that no on, really, outside of the Police Services Board was consulted. There was no public consultation with different groups in society, in civil society. And in fact, it was two thirds -- about two thirds of Council that voted to remove Councillor Deans as a member of the Police Services Board, and the rest of the motions, including appointing Councillor El-Chantiry, who was then supported at their next Board Meeting to be made the new Chair of the Board.


  262. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    That’s right.


  263. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Yes. And after he sent the Board a note asking that his name been withdrawn from consideration, I phoned him to thank him for the gracious way that he dealt with a very awkward and potentially embarrassing situation to himself and his reputation and the fact that he was not going to pursue any action against the City and wished us well in our search, and it was a very civil and kind call from the former Chief of Waterloo, I believe.


  264. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    No, she asked if I’d lost confidence in her, and at that point, at that meeting, I said, “I’m talking to Members of Council. I can’t give you an answer on that.” But then obviously when we learned that the contract had been signed, despite assurances it wouldn’t be signed, I did lose confidence in her, and that’s why I supported the motion by Councillor Moffatt, ---


  265. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    --- and two thirds of Council.


  266. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Well you’d have to ask the Province, because they rescinded the three appointees to their Board as well. But the reality was that the Board, as you know, does not involve itself in operational matters. It’s policy, and budget driven. So, you know, the challenge we had was that I think there’d have been greater instability if we had Chief Bell, Interim Chief Bell, who was working on implementing the plan, signing off on it, and ready to deeply the officers into the red zone to clean it up, it would have been -- I think it would have delayed the process if you had someone from an entirely different jurisdiction who did not know, and this is no criticism to Mr. Torigan, but he wouldn’t know the intricacies of the City of Ottawa and their road grids and so on. that would have -- you know, if he was coming in on Monday, he would have said, “Don’t start until I get there.” I assume he’d want to be involved. And so I was pleased that when Chief Bell, you know, oversaw the operation, we got sign off by the other police services, and the action that took place at -- on Wellington, Coventry, and Rideau, was quite remarkable at how quickly they moved it out and cleaned out the streets as fast as they did and as efficiently as they did, without losing a life.


  267. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Thank you very much.


  268. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Good morning.


  269. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)



  270. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    No, I think I would characterize it as given all the information and the circumstances, we did the best we could, which obviously was not good enough.


  271. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    No, I disagree with that.


  272. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)



  273. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)



  274. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Ultimately, yes, they did handle it properly, but it took some time to get to that stage.


  275. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)



  276. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Yeah, they were on the ground from day one, but obviously, as I’ve expressed, I would have liked to have seen the intervention to bring back our streets to our people done much sooner.


  277. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    That’s right. They were the jurisdictional police service.


  278. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Well it’s not a security clearance matter. It’s a matter that there’s a separate autonomous organization called the Ottawa Police Services Board that has full jurisdiction over policy and governance of the Police Board, and the hiring and firing of four key officers, and that is their responsibility. The only direct link that the City has, as you may now from the Police Services Act, is that we approve or reject the budget of the police.


  279. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    I wouldn’t know what their operational activities were, but they were coming under the jurisdiction and responsibility of the Ottawa Police Service. But again, I was never made aware of the operational plan, nor was I given the specific time that it was going to be launched, because it would be outside my jurisdiction. You can put two and two together, when you started to see more police arrive, you knew it was happening imminently, but I didn’t have the specific date, nor should I.


  280. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Well, I don’t know if all of them were in their uniform. There were lots that were plain clothes, I suppose. But I saw a lot of OPP officers in Ottawa when we finally got to that 1,800 number. That’s for sure.


  281. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Well our Chief said that on average, we had about 50 to 55 police officers from OPP at different stages on a daily basis.


  282. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    But nowhere near the 1,500 that the Solicitor General referred to on one day.


  283. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Well there’s Church and State. You know, there’s a separation. The Police Services Board is autonomous under provincial legislation, and even the Board itself, and I sat on the Board for a number of years. But even the Board itself does not have the ability to direct the chief on an operational matter, you know? So if they wanted to get together and say, you know, "Pass a motion. We want you to go and, you know, take care of speeders on Carling Avenue for the next two months," that would be ruled out of order. It's not appropriate.


  284. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Not on the operational plans, but obviously, we received information in terms of their discussions with other police services in terms of securing those resources in the Nation's Capital.


  285. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    That’s correct.


  286. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    No, I became a member of City Council.


  287. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    No, then mayor.


  288. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    No, then President of Canadian Tourism Commission.


  289. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    You got it now.


  290. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)



  291. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)



  292. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)



  293. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Well, the minister is responsible for the Acts, you know? I'm not the overseer of municipalities, but they are my, I suppose, client, if you could put it that way, that any municipal issue, I was responsible for in Cabinet.


  294. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    I am, yes.


  295. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)



  296. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)



  297. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Yes, constitutionally.


  298. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Pretty much.


  299. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    It depends on the issue. There are sometimes where we feel that we're under served in terms of provincial grants and contributions, and other times, we feel we're treated fairly.


  300. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    I don't know if I had a call with Steve or not. I certainly had discussions with his colleague, Minister MacLeod on a number of occasions, and she was very helpful in relaying information. But really, the matter we were dealing with fell completely outside the jurisdiction of the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. It was very much the Solicitor General who was the lead minister, and that was amplified by the fact that the premier brought her on the calls.


  301. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Resource of people, yes, police officers.


  302. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)



  303. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    No. I did with the premier.


  304. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)



  305. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    No. There has to be a program in place. You just don’t go up to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and ask for a grant. We indicated to the premier very clearly, as I did with the prime minister and his ministers, that we are counting on those two orders of government, when this is all said and done and finished, that we would be keeping very close tabs of all of the extraordinary costs that we incurred in order to bring peace to our city, and both the prime minister and the premier said that, "We'll be there for you to help financially." And we have since submitted all of our costs. It's in the tens of millions of dollars, because as you know, particularly when the municipal police services arrive, they have to be put up in hotels, they have to be given three meals a day, there's expenses. And we reimburse all of those municipalities. I, for instance, ran into the mayor of Belleville a few weeks ago here in Ottawa -- a few months ago, rather, at the AMO Conference, and he thanked us for the quick repayment of the invoice that they received. So the premier was very specific and very generous, as was the prime minister, that they would be here to help us financially because the protestors were coming, not to protest the Corporation of the City of Ottawa, they were protesting mandates that were imposed by the provincial and federal government. We happened to be the -- as I said, the meat in the sandwich. We're caught in this middle fight between protestors and two other orders of government that are responsible for various mandates with respect to COVID 19. So you know, I wouldn't have gone to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing because most of his funding on an emergency basis is through the DRAP Program, the Disaster Relief program. This was not a disaster.


  306. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    No, it was a crisis.


  307. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    A disaster is a natural disaster. The bad storm we had a little while ago; the flooding in 2017, 2019; the tornado in 2018; that’s where we seek support of the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, and also through again, the Solicitor General when we called the army in to help with the sandbagging and the flooding in Ottawa.


  308. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Well, there has to be a program in place. There's not a slush fund that’s kept by the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing that is there in case a bunch of truckers come and take over a city. There's no such program. You can't ---


  309. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    No, that’s not true.


  310. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    And secondly, I'm not sure why we would be going to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing for a grant. All we were asking for was the compensation to make us whole to ensure that we received after the whole situation had been resolved, to make sure that we had the necessary receipts -- and our treasurer is very good at this, along with the CFO of the Ottawa Police -- all of the costs were incurred. I think the figure was -- and I stand to be corrected -- well over $36 million in costs. So that is being worked on now.


  311. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Yes, we did.


  312. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    We have healthy reserve funds.


  313. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Well, getting bodies, yes, but also having the Emergencies Act so that we could get tow trucks and we could have a plan in place that once the police moved in, we could actually move those trucks that refused to move and tow them to a central location.


  314. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)



  315. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Well, we needed something to get the tow trucks because we were not successful. So when the Emergencies Act was introduced, and it was made clear specifically one line that towing was one of the requirements that people could not say no to, that was a big win for us in the City of Ottawa.


  316. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Correct, yes.


  317. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)



  318. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    No. When the Act was introduced and my staff basically printed off a copy of the Act and highlighted those sections that we could use, the one that caught my attention the first was the towing capacity to clean up the situation in centre town and Byward Market.


  319. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Yes, they don’t pass bylaws but ---


  320. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    That’s correct.


  321. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)



  322. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)



  323. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Yes, he was in contact with Chief Sloly.


  324. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    That’s correct.


  325. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    No, that would be inappropriate.


  326. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    To contact an OPP officer.


  327. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Because we have a system in place where we do not have politicians interacting directly with police officers, or superintendents, or commissioners. That would highly inappropriate. That’s why, as a politician, my counterpart is not the OPP Commissioner, it’s the premier and the minister responsible for the solicitor general, so it would be highly inappropriate. During this whole period, I did not once speak to the Commissioner of the OPP or the Commissioner of the RCMP -- completely inappropriate. So, you know, I dealt at the political level with members of parliament, members of Provincial Parliament, ministers, and the Premier, and the Prime Minister. That was my role in this period in our City’s history.


  328. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Well, we had discussions with the solicitor general and the Premier. And at the federal level it was the Minister of Emergency Preparedness and Public Safety, and the Prime Minister.


  329. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Well, I’ll have to look them up. I don’t recall what they are but I believe it was in -- it was two or three during the month of, I believe, February.


  330. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    I stand to be corrected but I don’t know the specifics. The Prime Minister’s Office did provide a quasi-transcript so we have the specifics on that, but these calls that I had with the Premier were -- one of them was, basically, he called me on my cell phone; we had a long discussion about the situation that was on the ground. And then the other was when of the Minister -- the solicitor general joined us and we had a discussion about the need for OPP officers.


  331. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)



  332. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)



  333. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    I don’t know if he told me that but the solicitor general sent a letter, as we saw earlier today, indicating that she had sent our request -- the letter that Councillor Deans and I sent to the Premier and the solicitor general, she had sent that to the Commissioner of the OPP, which is the proper route, not telling him what to do, indicating that this request has come in and to please take the appropriate action.


  334. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    He felt it was a waste of time.


  335. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    How do you know that?


  336. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    No, that’s -- I don’t think you fully understand the situation, that I can’t pick up the phone and start barking orders at a commissioner of any police service, whether it’s the OPP or the RCMP. There’s a protocol in place and that protocol is to have a politician-to- politician. And the RCMP and the Minister said the same thing; he can’t direct Commissioner Lucki but he can certainly pass along our request. And she made the decision and we that her and the Commissioner because, at the end of the day, they did provide the resources that ended up cleaning up this terrible situation our residents found themselves in.


  337. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Well, it’s the law that politicians are not allowed to direct police services. It’s very ---


  338. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Again, I think that would be entirely inappropriate; you know, to give the powers of operational responsibilities to politicians is a very slippery slope.


  339. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Well, our City solicitor advised that the route that we should be taking is the letter to the Premier and the Prime Minister and the two appropriate ministers.


  340. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Well, I’m assuming that he would have told me what to do based on the law of the land.


  341. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    And the policy is very, very clear.


  342. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)



  343. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Sorry, with what?


  344. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)



  345. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)



  346. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    That’s correct.


  347. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    You’d have to ask them. I can’t speculate why, although, as you know, there was a movement on the same day by two colleagues on Council to bring a resolution to Council to ask the Federal Government to allow a mediator to try to find a middle ground. That motion never made its way onto the Council agenda so ---


  348. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    --- Council didn’t take a position.


  349. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Well, again, the issue the protestors were in Ottawa was not to protest the City of Ottawa but federal and provincial mask mandates, among other issues that the truckers were upset with, so it was not really up to the City to start that kind of a broad-based mediation. What we did do, and what we were somewhat successful, was to secure and agreement by Ms. Lich and those truckers who fell under her jurisdiction, for lack of a better term, and I believe that was successful. We were able to get 40 big rigs and about 60 smaller ones out of the residential area and onto Wellington Street.


  350. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    So that was not mediation, that was an individual, Mr. French, who came forward and offered, at no charge, the ability to see if there was some common between our police service and the protesters. But in terms of why the Federal Government didn’t want to deal with a mediator, you’d have to ask them.


  351. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)



  352. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Well, he was a facilitator because he ended up getting a letter from me, and then a subsequent response from Ms. Lich, and the activities took place, I think, the next day, and then they were halted once the Emergencies Act was implemented, I believe, on the 14th.


  353. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    No, the police were there, actually, to help facilitate and traffic-manage the congestion to bring them on to Wellington Street and away from the residential area. So a senior officer was assigned and my understanding was that it worked quite well and then the Emergencies Act basically put a halt to that because all resources for police were needed to clear the area the following days.


  354. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    No, I believe that we did our best to live up to the agreement and as did the truckers, who did move, and we appreciate that ---


  355. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    --- because that was the first time, as you know, where there’d been any kind of movement on the ground. There was a level of frustration. There was more and more rowdyism that was talking place on the streets of Ottawa and we felt, as my number one preoccupation was to protect those residents who had been putting up with horn honking 24 hours a day, diesel fumes that were coming into their apartments and condominiums, and general unruliness where people were afraid to leave their homes.


  356. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    So I'm not sure who you're referring to.


  357. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    People ---


  358. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    On that particular issue, yes.


  359. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    No, I didn't get involved in it because I did not believe that I should be personally involved, but Mr. French acted as a go-between between the City, OPS and the group under Ms. Lich. And, you know, we were appreciative of Mr. French. He had really no skin in the game. He was not being paid for this. There was no business angle. I think he saw what was happening and ---


  360. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    --- it was his capital as well and ---


  361. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    --- took action.


  362. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    I had one call -- one or two calls with Mr. French and then it was handed over to Mr. Kanellakos and Mr. Arpin.


  363. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    That's correct.


  364. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    No, I didn't because I wasn't involved until the final agreement ---


  365. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    --- put forward.


  366. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Thank you.


  367. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)



  368. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    That's correct.


  369. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    That's correct.


  370. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Almost daily, yes.


  371. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    He did. Obviously, I was not involved behind the scenes, but certainly in any dealings he had with me or senior City staff, we came away confident and impressed, number one. And secondly, I thought he was a very good communicator. He was reluctant to have daily press conferences, which was a bit of a bone of contention, but when he did, I thought he handled himself with distinction.


  372. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    He was. I think if I could just elaborate on that, I think he found the non-stop flow of questions and complaints and so on stressful, as we all did. And I think at times, he probably was frustrated himself with the volume of work that was coming in and legitimate questions by members of Council because as you know, the members of Council were representing the voices of those people particularly in Sommerset ward and Rideau Vanier that were under tremendous stress. And that stress percolated its way up to everyone within the organization including the Chief. But I certainly -- you know, I never saw him be disrespectful to any member of Council. I think he was firm from time to time with a few members of Council that what you're proposing Mr. or Mrs. Councillor is illegal, but I never saw him lose his cool.


  373. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Yes, and I think that's the same case for his command team ---


  374. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    --- and a lot of our staff and so on. I -- as I said, on -- what I saw of him, I had his confidence, or I was confident in him. I don't know what was going on behind the scenes in terms of the ---


  375. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    --- operations. I'd heard through Mr. Kanellakos there was a level of division within the various police forces. Having never been involved in a protest or an occupation of this magnitude, I would not have any knowledge to compare that kind of give and take that we heard was taking place behind the scenes. But certainly, it was my expectation that he would continue to see the operation through and clean out Wellington and Rideau Centre and Overbrook-Forbes.


  376. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)



  377. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Well, you know, as I mentioned earlier to the Commissioner and to Commission Counsel that, you know, I've been in public life as a political representative for 25 years, and nothing comes close to this. Now, I think obviously COVID, because it affected so many people in Ottawa, over 800 people died, that was a bigger challenge, but in a condensed period of time and a condensed section of the city, nothing compares to what we went through. And I think the vast majority of people who saw what was going on empathized with our citizens, but there were those who thought it was no big deal, and that was what was frustrating I think for myself and the frontline officers and the Chief.


  378. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    I wanted it to move faster. I suspect the federal government will say, "Well, you don't have your plan ready yet, so why are you asking for resources?" But we knew, regardless of what the plan was, there was going to be a need for a significant number of new police officers coming in, particularly public order police officers, those that basically deal with crowd control. So regardless of the fact that we didn't have all of the Ts crossed and the Is dotted on the plan, we needed, and we knew there was going to be lag time by the time you make the decision and the time they get on a plane and arrive in Ottawa and get geared up, it was going to take some time. So, yes, you know, the frustration I have and where I think there was a failure point was I wish all order of government had worked faster to get the plan ready and to get the officers on the ground and we could have resolved this hopefully by the end of week one instead of week three.


  379. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Well, I'm not a police expert, so I can't give you an informed decision. I can certainly on the surface of it, we knew that we were going to need hundreds and hundreds of police officers because we were outnumbered a hundred to 1 or 200 to 1. You just have to see the video of the raves and the dance parties and the honking of the horns, and all of the other activities that were taking place. It really stole neighbourhoods away from the people who live in them.


  380. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)



  381. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)



  382. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    That's true.


  383. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    On the surface that is -- makes eminent sense, yes.


  384. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Thank you.


  385. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    We do, yes.


  386. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    That's correct.


  387. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)



  388. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Yes, on occasion there's been arrangements made where they'll park on Wellington Street. For instance, I know there was a farm protest sometime ago, and that was arranged in collaboration with the police liaison, and it worked well, and they left after they had their speeches.


  389. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    I think most objective people would see that as a most likely scenario. There was no thought that this thing was going to drag on for three weeks, when... You know, the first time I saw some trucks on Wellington was the Thursday before the Friday, and I think there were two or three pickup trucks with some flags and that was it, and then obviously we received a lot more vehicles on the Friday and the Saturday and it jammed the street.


  390. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    I had no information that it was going to go on for three weeks. I think we saw early on there was a little bit of disorganisation in terms of timing of speakers which pushed their agenda backs, and I thought, you know, worst case scenario they'll be gone back home by Sunday.


  391. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    To the best of my knowledge, I don't recall receiving any briefing of that nature. That would've been through the police to the City Manager because obviously there are implications for city services, rerouting of busses, and parking regulations and so on.


  392. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Yes. So as you know, the jurisdiction for the highway as an entry on to and off highways is the provincial government through the OPP, not the OPS.


  393. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    That's correct.


  394. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    That's my understanding, yes.


  395. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Well, I knew he was making those calls with other chiefs, I don't know the extent of it, but my understanding, over the last 25 years, is that, you know, there’s a reciprocal agreement when police services need help. We’ve often been sent to help in circumstances outside our jurisdiction and vice versa. So that -- I just assumed that would be taking place because he has those contacts across the province.


  396. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    I do, yes.


  397. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Director of Policy, correct.


  398. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)



  399. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    I think -- can you scroll so I can see the whole memo, please?


  400. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    The other way.


  401. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Yeah. This -- this was a letter that was a draft for people writing me via email about the convoy. Because the gentleman it’s from, if you scroll up to the top again, Ben Poirier, he’s our correspondence officer in the Mayor’s office. So he would have received a draft from probably Robyn Guest, in terms of this was the template that we would use initially when people started to write in with concerns about the convoy.


  402. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)



  403. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)



  404. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Well, this is a memo to Councillor Deans, so I assume, based on the wording of the first paragraph, she’d asked for this information, not my office. But I remember seeing this. It was interesting to look at the different Acts that were out there, but this was something that I believe Councillor Deans had asked for and it was sent to her from Julia Keast.


  405. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    I do, yes.


  406. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Well, I know that Chief Sloly had asked -- I can’t recall the exact date but asked for staff, legal staff for the City of Ottawa to consider an injunction, I believe on the 30th of January; I stand to be corrected on that. And then there was the City asked legal staff to draft an injunction to enforce municipal bylaws on February 11th, and they got the injunction on the 14th. But, unfortunately, then the -- well, not unfortunately but subsequently the Emergencies Act overrode the injunction.


  407. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    It very much did, yes.


  408. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)



  409. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)



  410. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    I believe that’s correct.


  411. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Yes. And we had to redraft the letter and decided that both Councillor Deans and I would sign the letter that was sent to the Premier, Minister Jones, Prime Minister Trudeau, and Minister Mendicini [sic].


  412. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Yeah. My understanding was that Chief Sloly was making many calls to other police agencies, municipal police services across the country, and that was taking a fair amount of time, but at the end of the day I think it was helpful because they supplemented the resources that we got from the OPP and the RCMP.


  413. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Yeah. So it’s quite detailed, and to my surprise there were, you know, references to additional resources for jails and lawyers and other people, not just frontline officers. So it was quite a detailed request, and that was the basis of the letter that we sent to the two other orders of government, correct.


  414. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Yes. I don’t know when that number became public but at some point we knew it was going to get out. But I think the concern on the Police Service’s part was that it was best that it not be public because that shows our hand, to a certain degree, in terms of the magnitude of the police operation to clean up our city.


  415. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    That’s correct.


  416. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Yeah, initially I didn’t understand that to be the case. I just thought he might be saying we need, you know, whether it’s a mediator or, you know, some other resource to solve this. And most people, I think, were under the impression -- they were scratching their head wondering, “Well, if it’s not going to be a police operation, what other kind of operation is there?” So I think, given time, that makes more sense when he says it’s not going to be a police operation, because he doesn’t have the resources. But, at the time, I was surprised that he’d said it that way and didn’t really elaborate or clarify what he meant.


  417. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    I believe that is the case, correct.


  418. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Absolutely, yeah. There’s no way -- I think any -- even a layperson like myself recognized that the Ottawa Police Service was outnumbered in terms of the resources they had. Plus, as I mentioned earlier, we have a whole city to police. We can’t take all of the police from rural Ottawa and suburban Ottawa; there’s still calls and activities that require police services. They couldn’t all go down to the Byward Marker or Centretown. That’s why we needed to supplement them with the other two forces plus municipal forces.


  419. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Yes, I truly believe that. We needed those 1800. That was the best estimate of the police service and their expertise. And in combination, we also needed the Emergency Act or I believe, truly, that we would have been at a stalemate for several more weeks, which would just be intolerable for the public.


  420. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    I did. It was several weeks later. I invited him to lunch to say thank you for his service. I think when these things are done in a public fashion, it’s not the kindest way to bid goodbye and to thank someone who had served their community so I brought him to a restaurant and we had lunch. We didn’t get into a lot of the details, obviously, of what he went through but I just thought it was my opportunity to thank him for his service.


  421. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Yeah, you know, obviously there were concerns on the part of some members of the Police Services Board and I think he did the honourable thing, and I stated that in a statement I released.


  422. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Well, there was no reference specifically to Wellington but it -- just common sense would dictate, if they’re coming down from where the Garden of the Provinces is, into that area, around this building, in fact, that it would be onto Wellington because there was space on Wellington. Whether the Chief knew immediately or not, I’m not sure, but a senior officer was assigned to help with traffic management, of getting those 102 vehicles out of the site.


  423. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    In 22 days, I think, four hours.


  424. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)



  425. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    I don’t recall exactly when were informed about the GoFundMe. The first time I had any contact with GoFundMe was when their consultant approached my office and, as a result, we had a discussion with three of their senior people asking them to do what they could to prevent the dollars from coming into the community, and they subsequently -- I think a week later -- agreed to freeze the account. And then, ultimately, my understanding was that the money was returned to the individual donors.


  426. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Yeah, almost all of the back and forth on this issue was dealt with by Councillor Deans and Mr. Arpin, correct.


  427. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    I don’t believe she has my phone number. Actually, very few people do have my phone number. I never keep the ringer on so I don’t rely on that very often. But she had a good rapport with Mr. Arpin and he’d brief me on any item and we did have at least one Teams call, or two, during the course of the occupation.


  428. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    I believe he does from my time at -- when I met with him through the Premier’s Office.


  429. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Yes, or his deputies.


  430. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    More with Deputy Chief Bell because I knew him better. It would vary. Sometimes it would be one or two calls a day, sometimes there would be no calls if there’s no information. I often got a lot of information from the police via Steve Kanellakos, which was the more appropriate route, and he would provide me updates. As you know, or as you may know, Mr. Champ, my office is right next to Mr. Kanellakos so we’d see each other literally every hour during the crisis.


  431. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)



  432. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    I don’t know if he did or not. I’m not sure.


  433. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Well, usually through a Teams or a Zoom meeting, or he’d be in my boardroom.


  434. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    I don’t recall I had any conversations with her. I think, at some point, she was -- there was one point, I think, she was on leave but I didn’t really know her. I saw her at press conferences, for instance; when there was a press conference she was often there with the Chief and the other Deputy.


  435. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    That’s correct, yes.


  436. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    No, I wouldn’t equate that -- the lack of a plan with the request for boots on the ground. We needed both. We needed a plan, but we also knew that it was going to require a significant amount of time just simply to get these police officers from coast to coast to coast to arrive in Ottawa and get them set up and get them sworn in, if they were RCMP or municipal police services from other jurisdictions in Canada. So the two had to go in tandem, and I think as the previous lawyer talked about, the reality is that you -- we knew that we needed 1,800, and we had to be flexible enough to determine if we're only going to get 1,000, then the plan would have to change. So I think it was in flux, but there was no question from my briefings by Mr. Kanellakos that there was some argument in the command structure as to, you know, what the right plan was. At the end of the day, I believe they chose the right path because it solved the problem and it brought our residents back to some degree of peace and quiet.


  437. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Yeah, no deaths, no serious injuries, and given the fact the number of people that were involved and the anger level, I'm very grateful that the police did a very professional job ---


  438. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    --- and a very -- you know, and I was like most other, I think, Canadians -- certainly Ottawans -- glued to the television watching this take place, as the officers were moving in from Rideau and Sussex, Coventry, as well as Wellington Street and the residential areas.


  439. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)



  440. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    No. My understanding was that the people who were responsible for the plan, which were the three police forces under the jurisdiction of the OPS and Chief Sloly, there were disagreements. I don't know what the magnitude of the agreements -- disagreements were, nor should I be meddling in the development of a plan, so ---


  441. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    --- this was information that was relayed to me from Steve Kannellakos, and as you pointed out, there was some concerns raised by both the premier and the federal minister.


  442. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    I don’t have any specific evidence of that. I think there were some rumblings and rumours, but I could not -- no one came to me directly to say there were concerns. I think any time there's a new chief that’s brought in from outside, there's always some degree of animosity that people think it should be an internal candidate, and so on, and Chief Sloly was brought in really, as an agent of change. I know we'd been well served by Chief Bordeleau, but I think it was remarkable that we had, for the first time in our history, an African Canadian leader who had served the people of Toronto very well for over 30 years. And I was very supportive of his hiring. As you know, I didn’t sit on the Police Board at that time when he was hired, but when I was introduced to him when Councillor Deans brought him around before the announcement, I was impressed with his qualifications and his way of handling himself. And in fact, I think before he moved into Ottawa, I had breakfast with him and just got to know him a little better.


  443. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Well, these meetings will the premier and the prime minister were held as confidential meetings, and I didn’t think it was appropriate to breach that confidentiality.


  444. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Yeah, but not directing operational matters. And what was being discussed by the prime minister and the premier and myself was resources to help him implement the plan and rid the streets of the occupied truckers.


  445. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    That’s correct.


  446. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    No, because the concerns that had been raised by the premier and Ms. Jones were general in nature. There were no specific allegations or -- of wrongdoing on the part of the chief. The same with the Federal Minister Blair. I think Mr. Blair knew Chief Sloly, obviously, as the former Chief of Toronto Police himself, and he, like others, at the political level, those confidential meetings was expressing concern that the plan was not coming together as quickly as possible. And I was putting pressure on everyone to get moving on this, because on the one hand, I was being asked with the support of Councillor Deans to send the letter that we've shown the public today to the premier and the prime minister. And my obsession, really, was to get the commitment by those two orders of government to get more police officers because we knew full well with our contingent of OPS, we could not do the job that the public expected us to do, and that was to clean up what was a horrific experience for your clients and our citizens.


  447. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    No. Again, those meetings were held in confidence and I wanted to respect the confidentiality so that we could have these frank discussions. With respect to the specifics of those meetings, there was nothing really that set off any kind of an alarm, from my perspective, that Chief Sloly was not capable and competent of putting together a plan and overseeing it. With respect to internal divisions, that’s something you can ask Councillor Deans, as she is the Chair, but I don’t have any inside or outside knowledge of what was going on behind the scenes with that command team that were putting the plan together. I can speculate that obviously, once Chief Sloly left the OPS, it was literally a matter of, I believe, two days and the police action started. So one has to assume that the plan that he put in place, by and large, was the plan, and there may have been some tweaking by the new Interim Chief Bell, but I certainly give credit to Chief Sloly for bringing it to that stage, and Chief Bell deserves great credit for bringing it to the actual point where the police officers moved in swiftly, carefully, and succinctly to bring an end to what was a miserable experience for the residents and small businesses of both Centertown, Downtown, as well as the Byward Market ---


  448. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    --- and Overbrook Forbes where the stadium, the baseball stadium is located.


  449. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    That’s correct.


  450. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Sorry, the meetings between?


  451. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Yeah. My understanding from Mr. Kanellakos was that it was a respectful, positive, meeting.


  452. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    And they would keep the lines of communications open.


  453. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    I'm just checking the date here, and that’s correct. Yes.


  454. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    That’s correct.


  455. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    No. No more than two, the first call, and I believe I had a second one, but I can't recall what the specifics was because I indicated to him at that first call that the primary contact he would have would be with Mr. Arpin and Mr. Kanellakos.


  456. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Yeah, and I had no other, when the letter was signed, no other contact with Mr. French, but, you know, I can certainly say publicly, I appreciate the fact that he stuck his neck out. There was nothing in it for him, from what I could see. Lots of comments about Mr. French himself and, you know, his time with the Premier, but I found that he was acting in good faith, and that resulted in the letters, which resulted in taking some pressure, not all the pressure by any means, but some small pressure off that portion of the residential area, you know, down by the Garden of the Provinces.


  457. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Sorry, who was that?


  458. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    No, he ---


  459. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    --- he didn't indicate that he was aligned. He indicated that he had contacts with some members of the trucking industry, but he didn't offer an opinion that he supported their grievances or anything like that to me in that phone call. It was simply that he had some kind of connections. I don't know whether he made those connections through his private sector life or through his time in provincial government, but it was very much along the lines that he saw what was happening, and he saw that it was getting worse, and he called me. I literally had not seen or heard from him I think since he left the Premier's office.


  460. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)



  461. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Correct, yes, with Mr. Kanellakos' help because he had met with others that were from that same orbit a couple of days or two days earlier.


  462. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    I didn't give any specific directions to him, but certainly, the police were aware that we had this contact because the police were the ones that asked Mr. Kanellakos to engage with representatives of the protest group, because as the liaison team mentioned, they were -- they no longer had any communication. Something went wrong where they stopped talked, so this group went in to see Mr. Kanellakos, and then two days later, we had the Dean French issue. So the police were involved, and both Chief Sloly and Deputy Chief Bell were aware that we had this call from Mr. French. And ultimately, they signed off on it. I think Chief Sloly wanted to make one change to the letter, but unfortunately, the letter had already gone out. And the police then, whether it was the Chief or the Deputy, then assigned a senior officer to go and help with the facilitation the following day to get the vehicles away from the residential area as much as possible.


  463. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)



  464. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    That's correct.


  465. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    No, I don't recall the exact date. It was obviously sometime between those two dates, but I don't recall the specific date. I remember discussing it with Chief Bell -- or Deputy Chief Bell at the time in my boardroom and he had no problem with it. And that was, again, sometime between the 8th and the 12th. I can't recall the exact time. I don't have a record of that.


  466. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Well, he was there for one of our regular briefings, and we raised it with him at that time. And I don't know if he knew about it at that time, but certainly he didn't express any opposition. He felt that if it helped get some of the pressure off, one of the things he pointed out was that it shrunk the footprint of the protest, which helped the police in the long term contain the situation when they finally went in that weekend.


  467. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    No. You know, I don't ---


  468. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Well, good will and common sense. You know, we were in a crisis, and we needed all hands on deck, and he's been my Chief of Staff for 12 years, excellent communicator, solid education, and Francophone, and I was -- I had no hesitation in asking him to do this. He was -- over 12 years he was given a lot of different tasks and I had full confidence that he could negotiate this. He was dealing with another former Chief of Staff, namely Mr. French, so they had, I suppose, some connectivity. But at the end of the day, I think what ended up happening was that we were able to get an agreement, we were able to get 40 big rigs, 60 smaller rigs out of there, total 102, 101, and it did shrink the footprint, as Deputy Chief Bell said, and it also brought a little bit of relief for those people who lived in those corridors on Kent and so on farther south down Bay Street.


  469. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)



  470. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Although in fairness, absolutely, they were the worst hit, but it had a ripple effect on the whole city because obviously, residents in Orleans work downtown and people downtown work in Kanata and so on. But no question, it was ---


  471. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    --- Sommerset and ---


  472. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    --- Rideau Vanier ---


  473. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)



  474. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    No, no.


  475. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    But also ---


  476. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    --- I think we have to include Councillor King's ward as well because the baseball stadium was there and that was turning into quite a circus as well with, you know, fires and so on.


  477. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    I saw a number of Tweets and video online, yes.


  478. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Yes, I think there was -- you know, I know Councillor Deans had expressed concern about having counterprotests because it took ---


  479. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    --- away from police resources, but I think, you know, both Councillor Fleury and Councillor McKenney did good work representing their constituents during a very difficult time.


  480. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Well, I went back and reviewed that I had at least two calls and one Zoom call with Councillor McKenney. I had two or three calls during the period with Councillor Fleury. And then post the event, I invited both Councillors to breakfast at a downtown restaurant to show our support for the downtown, along with Chief Bell to do a -- our own post-mortem on what went wrong and what went well. And then a few weeks later, I hosted a breakfast or a lunch in my office and invited Minister Marco Mendocino along with Councillor McKenney and Councillor Fleury and our first responders, the Chiefs of the different services to thank all of them for the work that they did, including the two Councillors.


  481. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Yeah, I did. I had at least two calls with each of them, and then I think at least one Zoom call with both of them.


  482. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Every day.


  483. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    No, I wouldn't use those words. I think it's a lot more challenging and lot more pressure filled. You know, when you take into account what this Council has had to deal with, and forget just the Council, the public. There were two tornadoes, there was a flood, there was the massive storm derecho -- I can't remember the name of it. There was COVID-19 that was with us for 2-and-a-half years, and there was the truck convoy occupation. So all of my colleagues and Council, myself included, were feeling the pressure of a very challenging time in the history of our city. You know, as I mentioned earlier, I was asked by some students that I spoke to at I believe Algonquin College the other day last week. They said, "What was the most stressful time as mayor this term?" And I think a lot of them were going to say, you know, the truck convoy. And I said, "Well, actually, not to diminish the truck convoy, but it was COVID. Eight hundred (800) people died as a result of COVID, thousands more were seriously impacted, people lost their jobs, their livelihood, and that was a project that or a challenge that every single citizen of the world had to face. The truck convoy was a terrible experience, but it was for a set period of time, three weeks. It affected dramatically the people in the inner core, but it ended. We're still dealing with COVID and we're still losing people every day. So from my perspective, I think that added a tremendous stress because people were calling and upset with vaccination policies and mask mandates and everything else, and all of that came to a boil, obviously, when we had to deal with the storm and then with the convoy.


  484. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Well, I think it was -- you know, it was Churchill I believe that once said, you know, parliament in his case was not a tea party. You know, people come to these seats after a hard-fought election, they have strong emotions, they have strong opinions on different issues, and there's often clashes. That's the joy, I suppose, of democracy, where you don't have everyone agreeing all the time with everyone else. What our Council went through was horrific. What I tried to do was to provide as much information, do as much work as I could do with the federal and provincial contacts that I had made over the course of my public service career to bring realistic solutions to the problem so that we could give the city back to the people of Ottawa. And ultimately, we did do that. It was not a error-free, problem-free situation, and even Council voted that we apologise to the public, which we did. Because we let down an awful lot of people in Ottawa with a situation that we had never seen before and there was no roadmap to guide us. And given the fact that no one lost their lives, no one was seriously injured, people were affected, but the police, I believe, should be commended. And secondly, I think the Prime Minister did the right thing by bringing in the Emergencies Act because that solved our problem. It's easy to sit back and be a Monday morning quarterback, but the people who were suffering the most were the people of Ottawa, not the people of the West Coast or the East Coast. And so I thanked those colleagues, all colleagues, particular the two that were affected the most, Ms. -- Catherine McKenney and Mathieu Fleury. But all members of Council were feeling the pressure because they were getting emails from around the world, you know, with some pretty vulgar foul language and lots of threats against individuals, myself included.


  485. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Thank you.


  486. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)



  487. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    That's correct. It's an understatement, but correct.


  488. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    I recollect that is in the ballpark. You probably have more specific figures. But there was also -- you had to include the assessment growth of the city as well, which was I believe about, I stand to be corrected, about 3 percent on top of that.


  489. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Yes. There was some members of Council that wished to be engaged with this defund the police process, but the majority of Council, myself included, did not support that, and we felt it was important to support the Chief's request. And also, you know, the increase also included, or also included assessment growth, which, I'll have to check back, but I think it was another 2 percent on top of that.


  490. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    I believe that's correct, yes.


  491. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    In fairness, I'm not trying to be glib with this, but almost every chief says that when they don't get 100 percent of their budget. So I think that's probably what he said. And you know, our job as City Council is to basically vote up or down the budget. We don't get into the micromanagement because the Act says that we can't do that. But you know, we've -- I've been proud of the fact that we've been able to provide annual increases to the police for a number of reasons, including the fact that our population is bigger, we have 2,600 kilometres of road to cover and patrol. It's a big task, and we felt, those of us who supported the police budget, felt that it was an appropriate amount, and it was accepted.


  492. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    I believe that is correct, yes.


  493. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Sorry, are you now talking about the ---


  494. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Yeah, it did take a lot of resources, and as I pointed out, we have every intention of recouping those dollars based on the conversations I've had with other orders of government because it should not come out of the base budget of the Ottawa Police Service, which is always hovering around a surplus or deficit every year.


  495. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Yes, under very difficult circumstance if you recall back. I recall very well the weather was miserable. The roads down in that area could not get plowed so they were almost impassable. It was -- you know, some officers were working 12, 13 days in a row. You know, one of the reasons why the Chief was going out getting supplemental municipal services was to give his officers a day off to recharge their batteries.


  496. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)



  497. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Absolutely. It was very stressful for them. You know, I saw a lot of news footage over the course of the time where the officers were spat upon and they were yelled at and screamed, and they kept their cool, and you know, for that we're grateful. There were some incidents where I felt, you know, the images of the police being buddy- buddy with someone, a protester was not appropriate, and my understanding was that the police reminded their officers first and foremost they're there to be neutral. And when they did their job they did an excellent job. And I have no problem defending the Ottawa Police Service and the actions that they took to bring this crisis to an end.


  498. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    That's correct, yes. And I think -- you know, as I mentioned, it was -- the funny thing was it was -- the Olympics were on and I think more people were watching this activity than the Olympics. Because it was so gut-wrenching to see what was happening to our city for three weeks, and it was such a relief for everyone to see that this was coming to an end. And it was wrapped up roughly in three weeks. There were, you know, scattered groups here and there that lingered on. I remember walking up a couple of days after, just to go to the Rideau Centre, and you know, a number of people yelling at me "f'ing fag", and I knew these were still people that were from the protests, they had upside down Canada flags and so on. So police had to keep the presence in the neighborhood and in the downtown core because there were still people that wanted to do harm to our citizens as well as to our property, public and private.


  499. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    That’s right. Nothing comes close to it. You know, I think back; my first month in office I was thrown into the ice storm. That was dramatic but it was not hurtful to people. It was difficult when people lost electricity and so on but this was something that affected thousands of people very personally and was unacceptable behaviour by fellow Canadians to come into someone else’s neighbourhood in that selfish a fashion.


  500. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Yes, and I believe some members of Council did as well. And I received one -- I think one, two, or three. A couple of people were charged and some guy from New Brunswick was coming down here with guns in his trunk to shoot me and he was arrested.


  501. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    They did, and our corporate security, the same, because, you know, people had been outside my house, not necessarily associated with the convoy but other groups protesting, so they installed a security system.


  502. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Thank you.


  503. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)



  504. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Let me just get my chronology here.


  505. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Yeah, so that was with the Deputy Minister, or was it -- what is it here?


  506. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Oh, sorry. Yeah, you said February 2nd, I think. So February 3rd, yes, the Mayor and the -- no, sorry. Yeah, the tripartite meeting at 5:15, is that the one you’re referring to?


  507. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    That is correct, yes.


  508. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Sorry, can you repeat the question?


  509. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)



  510. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Yes. No, we had no difficulty having calls returned by federal officials. It was quite a cooperative relationship.


  511. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Well, in theory, yes, but before, you know, we could celebrate, we wanted to see the boots on the ground, so that took a longer period of time. But at the very beginning, they understood clearly -- both Minister Blair and Minister Mendicino, they understood that we needed help and they offered that assistance. We just wanted it faster.


  512. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    That’s correct, yes.


  513. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Absolutely, yes.


  514. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    That’s correct, and bring order to the downtown, and the Byward, Market and Coventry.


  515. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Yeah, I outlined to the Prime Minister that while we had a very positive relationship, his Ministers were doing good work -- I have to thank you to the local MPs, Mona Fortier and Yasir Naqvi, in particular, because their two ridings were the two risings most affected by the convoy -- Minister Fortier, Ottawa-Vanier, including, obviously, Vanier, the Market, Lowertown, Sandy Hill; and Member of Parliament Naqvi, Centretown and the Glebe. So he -- the Prime Minister was empathetic and sympathetic to the fact that we needed help sooner than later and, you know, when we finally did get the help, it was exactly what we asked for. And it worked because we saw the result the following days, the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday where the whole operation was wrapped up quite successfully.


  516. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Yeah, you know, the interesting thing is, of course, being the Nation’s Capital, the Prime Minister lives here, the MPs are here for their House sittings, and so on, and the senators are, so they were living and breathing what a lot of our residents were, although they had the luxury of leaving and not having to stay in the red zone. But there was -- at the initial stages, there didn’t seem to be the sense of urgency on the part of the Provincial or Federal Government but I think when the Prime Minister got engaged and the Ministers suggested the tripartite table, they set up a structure that we could actually start making decisions and start seeing results. So I think the more calls we had, quite frankly, the better it was because I think they were tired of listening to me hound them for more resources more quickly.


  517. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Yes, and, you know, both the Premier and the Prime Minister indicated that, you know, I should continue to work with respective minitisters, which we did. And also, our Chief, Chief Sloly at the time, obvioulsly, was working the phones to ensure that Commissioner Lucki knew exactly what he needed. We followed that up with the letter by Councillor Deans and myself to the Premier and the Prime Minister and their respective ministers and we started to see some action. We saw, slowly, more RCMP officers coming in, more OPP. And then, when the plan was finalized and ready to go, we had the necessary resources of the 1800 in the city to bring an end to this terrible situation.


  518. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Yes, and there was -- there was a little of confusion in terms of at one point I was told that there was quite a backlog in getting RCMP Mounties sworn in as peace officers, I guess, for Ontario. That may have been a situation early on by, apparently, they started to do it in bulk and two sessions a day so it sped it because my understanding is that they would not have authority on City of Ottawa property if they weren’t sworn in.


  519. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Yes, I think that’s a legitimate issue. My point was, though, that if we’d started the process earlier and we didn’t have this lag time, we may have been able to go in on the second week instead of the third week. But that’s ---


  520. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)



  521. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    That’s right because the vast majority of these officers, maybe not so much for the RCMP who - - some may have been stationed over the years in Ottawa but most of those officers would not know where the police station was, for instance, from the Ottawa Police. So they had to go through some kind of an orientation to ensure that they knew what their instructions were, and, you know, lining up frequency on radios and all sorts of other things that professionals told me had to be done in order for the person to hit the ground running.


  522. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    That's correct.


  523. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    That's correct.


  524. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)



  525. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    So I don't quite understand your question.


  526. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Yes. My understanding is from the documentation that Chief Sloly felt that was a higher priority because of the criminal element within that group of trucks and bikers and so on.


  527. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    That was taken care of, I believe, earlier than Wellington Street, but it was a relatively small group compared to the large number of trucks and people that were in the red zone.


  528. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    That's correct. And also, the protection of private and public property, as you know, the Rideau Centre had been closed for something like two weeks, losing, you know, a couple -- 2.1, I believe million dollars a day, so it was -- I stand to be corrected on that number, but it was a significant loss. And the restaurants across the way and the Chateau Laurier, all were being impacted where no one could even go near the ByWard Market, so those businesses were suffering greatly along with the people who live in that area.


  529. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    That's right.


  530. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    That's correct.


  531. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Yes, we estimated that to be 1800.


  532. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    That's very true.


  533. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    That's right. And our police service was well aware of that, and that's why obviously we followed strict rules to have them properly sworn in. And as I said, initially, I was told that that was slowing down the process, but then something happened, whether they added extra shifts, or extra staff, or did it in larger gatherings or groups, that that was covered off and they were now legal to operate in Ottawa.


  534. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    I stand to be corrected, but I don't believe they needed to be sworn in because they were sworn in as officers in all of Ontario.


  535. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Well, I'm not an expert on that, so you'll have to ask someone who is, but my understanding was that they did not need to swear in ---


  536. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    That's correct. It's just the Mounties.


  537. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    I was, yes, I was chairing it.


  538. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Yes, there were many, many motions.


  539. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)



  540. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    One descent by Councillor Chiarelli.


  541. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    That's correct.


  542. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Yeah, I think if you can push it up, so I can see the full email, that would be helpful.


  543. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Yes, it is.


  544. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)



  545. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)



  546. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    That's correct.


  547. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Yes, granted the magnitude of protesters and occupiers was significantly larger in Ottawa than it was in Coutts or in Windsor, so I think we had a much more difficult situation. If you just saw aerial shots or drone shots of the crowds around Parliament Hill and the ByWard Market and the Cenotaph and so on, it was significantly larger than -- you know, I -- looked like -- you know, in Coutts, there might have been, you know, 50 vehicles. Now for a small town and a small crossing, that's a big deal. I'm not diminishing that, but certainly just in sheer volume. And I think if I could just comment on this, I think what Councillor McKenney's motion was trying to get at was that there was a level of frustration that Ottawa Police were on Wellington Street trying to keep the peace and deal with issues of jerry cans coming and so on. And it then stretched our officers and didn't give them the ability to go in and patrol the residential neighbourhoods, which was Councillor McKenney's true -- you know, Councillor McKenney's desire to represent her constituents and protect those constituents, similar to Councillor Fleury. We had, you know, the tail end of the Parliamentary Precinct is in his riding by just the other side of the Cenotaph. So, you know, I think it was an attempt at the motion to ensure that we had some ability to have the Mounties come in and take jurisdiction on Wellington, and then -- Wellington Street, and then it would free up those Ottawa police officers to go deeper into the community neighbourhood. So the Chief came back and obviously pointed out that this was not legally possible to do. And then there was the other issue that we really haven't talked about, I think we talked about -- one other of the lawyers asked me about was the issue of what do we do with Wellington Street on a go-forward basis in terms of access and so on. So that's one discussion, and this is another discussion. But I -- it's clear that Chief Sloly was not consulted on this or otherwise I think he would have told the mover of the motion that what they are proposing is not legal.


  548. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)



  549. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Yeah. I think, you know, there was the sense that "Well, why don't we just take the Mounties and maybe PPS and put them on the street and then move everyone south?" And I think, you know, Chief Sloly was trying to be respectful and not embarrass the Councillor, but I think he felt an obligation to inform them of the law.


  550. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Yeah. And certainly, I knew the desire to get greater presence in the Centre Town residential communities, and as a result, I certainly raised it with Chief Sloly on at least two occasions, that you needed to see a large presence. We keep announcing we're protecting the central core, you needed to see a large presence, not one or two officers walking down Kent Street or O'Connor, it had to be visible. And you know, again, we couldn't always do that until we had more police officers to share the burden.


  551. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Yeah, just the one memo that we showed earlier that showed that that was one of the options, I think they listed five or six options. It was very brief, it didn't give any details. But when it was introduced by the federal government, and to be very clear, I've been consistent on this since Day 1, we needed that Act. And it's fine for someone out, you know, West or down East to say, "Well, you know, it was overkill." No, we needed that Act. We needed to give our police resources the tools they could use, such as tow trucks, and so on, to actually solve the problem or this thing would've gone on for many, many more days, if not weeks. So I was not familiar with it, but when it was introduced our legal staff provided me with a copy of it, and highlighted the points that we felt we could use to our advantage to clear up this terrible situation.


  552. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Yes. That was something that was brought to my attention. I had heard a contrary view to that, but I stand to be corrected, but my understanding was that it would allow them without going through the whole swearing in process to be automatically in essence deputised to enforce Ottawa by-laws and Ontario laws.


  553. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    That's correct.


  554. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    I'm Jim Watson, I'm not the Chief.


  555. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    I think you said Mayor Sloly.


  556. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    All right. No problem.


  557. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Names and phone numbers; correct.


  558. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)



  559. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    No, because once the Emergency Act was proclaimed or introduced, I actually saw the two trucks on Laurier Avenue lined up for quite some distance. So there was no need to follow up because they'd obviously done the work that we had asked them to do, was to find trucks.


  560. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Well, you'd have to go back and check my text messages, which I believe are on public record, and the phone numbers, and the names and the texts from John Tory were on that. And it was basically I would think an hour or so after receiving them I would've walked next door or had someone walk next door and give them to Steve Kanellakos. I don't know ---


  561. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    I can't remember. It was probably the day or the day after I received the information from Mayor Tory.


  562. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Well, as I said, I don't recall the actual date I met or I received from Mr. Tory. So if you can give me that date then I work my way back.


  563. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Well, I -- well, no, I just -- you asked me a question, I'm going to answer it. If I had the date, which I have back in my office, I can tell you the date that John Tory sent me the text with the names and numbers of the towing companies. And then I would've referred those, either that day or the next day, to Mr. Kanellakos.


  564. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Well, I have them back at my office. I was told I couldn't bring anything other than the chronology.


  565. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Well, if I can, I don't think I'm going to be allowed to leave until I get my document in my office, but I can certainly email it to you if you'd like to know. But ---


  566. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    I'm sorry?


  567. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    No, I would've had -- in my first call with Premier Ford, I indicated to him that we were at a disadvantage because we just didn't have -- we had two OC Transpo trucks and we couldn't even guarantee that they would cooperate. So that was a problem we had. And I can't recall if I told him I was contacting John Tory, but certainly the reason I contacted John Tory was because I saw the number of tow trucks that he was able to mobilise in Toronto, after learning from our example a week or so after, and I wanted to know if he had any TTC or City of Toronto, and he said they had these private companies that came out and they were the ones that -- whose numbers he gave me via text message.


  568. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Two or three.


  569. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    I'm sorry, I didn't hear the last part.


  570. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    That's correct.


  571. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Well, they had -- yeah, someone would have to drive them out or they would have to be hooked up to a tow truck and lifted out. And that's what happened with those that refused to leave and they were brought to a compound, similar to what ---


  572. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Sorry, similar to ---


  573. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Similar to, you know, if someone's parking in a no stopping zone, we have the ability with city tow trucks to tow them, but those are for cars, not 18-wheelers.


  574. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Not that I'm aware of, no.


  575. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Good question. I don't know legally or logistically who would make it, but it's -- the pot of money comes from the same, it's the taxpayer. So whether it's the City budget or the police budget, it's one and the same. I was asked the question with respect to the procurement, and again, I don't know whether it was the police, OPS, or City of Ottawa that procured it. Mr. Kanellakos could certainly clarify that.


  576. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)



  577. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)



  578. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    No, I saw it reported in the media.


  579. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    I didn’t say that, no. I said that I had death threats, but I wasn’t physically attacked.


  580. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    No. They were disrupting people's lives, that’s for sure, and they refused on at least three occasions that I'm aware of that they refused to adhere to the provincial mandate of wearing a mask when going into a shop or a restaurant.


  581. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Well, you'd have to ask the police. I know they arrested a couple of hundred people and charged a couple of hundred people. I don't know what the charges were, so I'm not privy to that information.


  582. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Sorry, I don’t know of any?


  583. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Not to my own personal knowledge, no.


  584. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    I can now, yes.


  585. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)



  586. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    No, I didn’t.


  587. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)



  588. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    No. I can save you. I didn’t ask anyone to invoke the Emergencies Act, because at the time, I did not know what was contained in the Emergencies Act.


  589. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    I was given a copy of it and I read it, but I can't recall the specifics of it at this point. But I was certainly shown it and was -- a copy of the documentation was sent to my office from the provincial government.


  590. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Yeah. No, I -- with the premier?


  591. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)



  592. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    No. My preoccupation with the premier was getting resources, namely, police resources, and compensation for businesses and individuals that were affected negatively as a result of the occupation. Those were the two areas that I spent most of my time with the premier. And to his credit, he delivered, along with the prime minister, funding for compensation for the small businesses in those zones that were adversely affected.


  593. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Well, I'm at a disadvantage because I don’t have a copy of it, but if you're telling me that’s the Act, I have no reason to not believe you.


  594. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Again, I'm going to take you at your word that that is the case, but I don’t have a copy of the Act or the proclamation in front of me, but I did read it when it did come in several months ago.


  595. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    I think that’s a good point, Commissioner, in the sense that Ottawa -- I'm not trying to be a braggart about Ottawa; I love the city I live in -- but we are a little different than most other cities because we're the Nation's Capital in addition to being a municipal entity under the Municipal Act of the Province of Ontario. And we have a large presence of government buildings and significant important buildings, whether it's the Supreme Court or the Parliament Buildings. And there is -- the mandate objectors were primarily focusing on, as I understand it, the federal mandate to cross borders and wear masks in planes, and so on. And we were caught a little bit in the middle, so I was equally frustrated by both orders of government, and I ended up, as you saw during the number of meetings and Zoom calls and so on, my constant prodding to get them to take this situation to a more urgent level. And so well, if we were another city that didn’t have the large federal government presence, everything from the National Cenotaph to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier to the Ambassador core, I think your point would be well, you're no different than a regular city under the Municipal Act. I think we have that special responsibility as the Nation's Capital to ensure that when people come here, they come here feeling safe and secure and proud of their Nation's Capital. And I just wanted to get across to both orders of government that we could not do this on our own. We were -- literally, our back was against the wall. It was a very frustrating experience. But -- you know, and I've been critical of both orders of government, but I do have to say, if you allow me, I appreciate -- yesterday, I was with the prime minister and the premier at an announcement, and the premier was asked if he supported the Emergencies Act, and he said he'd sit shoulder to shoulder with the prime minister. There was that unanimity, myself as mayor, the premier, and the prime minister. All were at wits' end as to how to end this peacefully without any harm to citizens or protestors. And the end result, notwithstanding a very miserable experience for people who lived here during that three weeks of hell, the police did an excellent job getting the situation resolved. But we now have to remain vigilant because this thing can pop up at any time.


  596. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Yes. Yes, for the -- for a number of reasons, but I think it was a joint responsibility because we needed all hands on deck and we went farther than just the provincial police and the federal police. We went and reached out to municipal police forces across the country that brought resources into the city to help us as well. So the answer to your question is yes.


  597. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Thank you very much, sir.


  598. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    That’s correct.


  599. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Would you like your -- should I give this to someone?


  600. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)



  601. Jim Watson, Mayor (Ott)

    Thank you, sir.