The following letter has been sent to our Mayor Watson, City Councillors, Police Chief Sloly, Prime Minister Trudeau, Premier Ford, Solicitor General Jones, Minister Mendicino, Minister Lametti, MP Yasir Naqvi, MPP Joel Harden and our colleague community associations.
If you witness or are aware of any illegal activity being committed by convoy participants or organizers, please report them to the following: Police 613-236-1222, x7502 (dispatch); x5015 (Hate crime hotline); x7300 ( file a report); ottawapolice.ca Call 311 for any by-law issues.
February 8, 2022
The Hintonburg Community Association wishes to take this opportunity to add our voice to other community associations raising concerns about the impact of the ongoing “Freedom Convoy” demonstrations on our community. We recognize the unprecedented nature of this event in terms of its size, scope, complexity, and the tactics being utilized by the organizers. The challenges faced by municipal authorities and law enforcement services due to this complex and frequently changing situation are indeed significant. We support all efforts to control, de-escalate, and bring an end to the impacts of this demonstration on our community.
We express our solidarity and empathy with the residents of Centretown, Lowertown, the Byward Market, Overbrook, and the other inner-core neighbourhoods of Ottawa. The disruption and fear they are experiencing is unacceptable and unthinkable in the Canada we think we know.
Everyone in Ottawa deserves to live in peace and security and to be able to go about their daily lives without fear of harassment or attack. Although Hintonburg has escaped much of the intensity of the ordeal experienced by our downtown neighbours, the Hintonburg community is nevertheless experiencing negative impacts from the current situation.
Although we are outside of the core, Hintonburg has experienced since the start of the demonstrations groups of vehicles driving up and down our main streets honking and waving signs and flags, including some with symbols of hate. We received reports of community members, including children, being honked at, and shouted at by those in these vehicles. Locals have been harassed and challenged for wearing masks and heeding the suggested measures from our health officials to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
With this in mind, we would like to highlight two impacts on our Hintonburg community:
First, we are gravely concerned that some of our community members no longer feel safe going about their daily lives. Community members, particularly those who identify as BIPOC, 2SLGBTQ2+, Jewish and Muslim, are experiencing heightened levels of fear and anxiety due to the regular presence of the demonstration participants in our community. Folks of various beliefs, orientation, cultures, and preferences are experiencing fear, discomfort, and anxiety when trucks and other vehicles drive through our community draped with signs and imagery of hate including swastikas, Confederate flags and disrespectful exhortations to overturn our democratically elected government. Discriminatory, sexist, and racist harassment has also been experienced by locals who were simply walking down their streets.
Second, we also note with concern the negative impact on businesses in Hintonburg, most of which are run by small business owners. We have received reports of business owners being yelled at when asking people to comply with masking requirements in store. We have also received reports of business owners saying, because our neighbourhood is considered part of the wider downtown core, that customers are staying away and foot traffic in the community is down, at a time when many are already negatively impacted by pandemic related closures.
History has taught us what happens when displays such as those we have observed on the demonstration vehicles are tolerated and accommodated. Hintonburg has long challenged any threats to our sense of community and well-being. Put simply, everyone deserves to feel safe and welcomed in our community. We will be taking measures to ensure that folks have a sense of support and safety while living their lives in our community. We stand ready to assist in any way possible in the efforts to bring this appalling situation to a swift and orderly end.
We are confident that efforts are underway to make preparations to prevent any similar future situations by reviewing and understanding the unfolding of events, what worked well along with the mistakes and miscalculations that have led us to our current challenges. We need to preserve Canada as a place of peace, order and good government.
President – Hintonburg Community Association