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Ottawa Mayor Did Not Speak to Parliament Security During Convoy: Official

Ottawa Mayor Did Not Speak to Parliament Security During Convoy: Official
 Image Source: ottawa.ctvnews.ca

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson's office will not return a call from the Parliamentary Protection Service during the culmination of the "Freedom Convoy," its acting committee director said Thursday night.

Larry Brookson, the service's acting director, told MPs and senators during a joint committee hearing that he tried to reach Watson and Ottawa's city manager during protests that occupied downtown Ottawa for three weeks in February.

But he said he received replies from both their offices saying they were not available for an interview.

Brookson added that the mayor's office did not communicate with the security service, which is responsible for security on Parliament Hill, about the failed deal between the city and the convoy organizers to bring the protest to a negotiated end during its peak.

The city did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Brookson told the committee he supported expanding the parliamentary constituency to include Wellington Street, a change currently under review, and said things would be different if the road fell under his jurisdiction.

Despite his concerns, he said city and Ottawa police have given protesters permission to drive and park on the street, which is across from Parliament, but is not controlled by parliamentary security.

"The streets would be blocked" if he was in charge, he said. “No vehicles would be allowed on Wellington Street.

Although the police services provided updates on their operations, which Brookson said was satisfactory, he said that because the security service was not a law enforcement agency and was not part of joint operations between police forces, it sometimes lacked situational awareness of what was happening outside the Hill . -- and was not informed of the "daily stance" of the police.

He said he was disappointed he didn't have a bigger say in decisions around Wellington Street.

"I think part of my disappointment is that I thought I had more influence than I actually did with the police partners. I'll have to talk to them about that. I mean, I'm saddened by the whole thing," he said. "To suggest that people have to go to work and be subjected to that kind of torture, regardless of where it comes from, just doesn't sit well with me."

Brookson said "tabletop exercises" are now being conducted with police partners and "I'm very pleased and happy with the changes that seem to be happening in the Ottawa Police Service."

Sergeant Patrick McDonell, who is a security officer in the House of Commons, and his Senate counterpart, Julie Lacroix, also testified before the committee.

The parliamentary hearings are being held as part of a study into the federal government's declaration of a state of emergency under the Emergency Act.

Parliament's security actors testified that they had not been given any new powers under the state of emergency, and Brookson said he did not think such powers would be necessary for the protection service to run the jurisdiction that includes Wellington Street.

Peter Sloly, who resigned as Ottawa police chief in mid-February, previously testified before the committee that placing Wellington Street under the jurisdiction of the protective service would make sense but could be costly because the service is less equipped to respond to day-to-day police calls. problems on the streets.