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Hill: Federal government must do more to help with Ottawa's policing costs

From Councillor Hill

When protesters are angry at federal policies, or foreign dignitaries come to meet national leaders, why should municipal taxpayers carry most of the bill for security?

Thousands of Palestinian supporters meet for a protest in downtown Ottawa March 9, 2024. Smoke grenades fill the air with red and green clouds. PHOTO BY ASHLEY FRASER /POSTMEDIA

Since the convoy protest in 2022, Ottawa has been the site of more than 130 protests, with roughly 50 of them including more than 1,000 participants. Whether the theme is COVID, social problems, labour strikes or foreign conflicts, Ottawa is no stranger to large protests about federal issues.

Take, for example, the March 9 protest over Canada’s position on the war in Gaza. It brought thousands of people, many travelling from Montreal and Toronto, to Parliament Hill. Nearly 3,000 people marched through Ottawa’s downtown, causing the police to close Wellington, O’Connor and Metcalfe streets. Or take the convoy disruption to our downtown that dragged on for three weeks while protesters barricaded roads and blared horns at all hours to protest the federal government’s COVID policies.

Major disruptions in downtown Ottawa are not limited to protests. Nearly a year ago, U.S. President Joe Biden made the first American presidential visit to the capital since 2016, requiring motorcades, transportation corridors and a significant investment of police presence downtown.

All these events stretched the capacity of our police service, to the detriment of Ottawa residents.

Read my full thought piece here.


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