February 24th, 2022
I want to acknowledge those who have reached out regarding the Emergencies Act - I have heard you.
Over the last few weeks our offices have received an onslaught of communications from anonymous and foreign accounts harassing and threatening MPs and staff with abusive language. Unfortunately, our capacity to assist and respond to constituents has been seriously impacted as a result.
There are many pressing issues in our community and my wish is to refocus on finding solutions to these problems. As always, my team and I are prioritizing the needs of constituents.
The reality of the situation in Ottawa was that organizers and leaders strategically disguised the occupation as a peaceful protest. While many individuals participated to share their frustrations with the ongoing pandemic, the organizers stated a clear goal of overthrowing our democratically elected government. The display of Nazi flags, homophobic hate speech, bomb threats, and weapons seized at the Coutts border show this occupation was more than a peaceful protest.
I was in the middle of the occupation from the onset. I witnessed Ottawa residents targeted and harassed for wearing masks, businesses were forced to close, workers lost wages, and families were held hostage in their home while being subjected to blaring horns and exhaust fumes for weeks.
Governments had the resources to stop this crisis early on but failed to uphold even the most basic laws to keep Canadians safe. My decision to support the Emergencies Act was not made lightly. My NDP colleagues and I made it clear this vote was not handing Trudeau unchecked power. Moreover, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms continued to be guaranteed under the implementation of the Emergencies Act. At the time, voting to maintain the act was a vote to protect citizens.
The implementation of the Emergencies Act did what it was intended to do - address the emergency in Ottawa and at our borders. Now that the act has been revoked, the choices we make in the coming weeks will set the course for generations to come. We will learn much from the inquiry that follows.
Canadians need an action plan to address the rise of extremism and hate in our country. We also need to examine the clear double standard law enforcement applied to occupation participants in comparison to Indigenous and racialized Canadians.
It’s time to come together as a country, to work towards building a better, safer, more just Canada where we all belong.