“I was told on at least a few occasions that it would be extraordinarily complex as an undertaking to convince every single truck driver that needed to be convinced at the appropriate time, to be present, to be there with their keys, and to move their rig at the time,” testified Serge Arpin, outgoing chief of staff to Jim Watson, who was the mayor of Ottawa at the time of the convoy protests in January and February 2022.
“They explained to us that it would not be something that they could do in one day. It was just too large an undertaking, and we believed that, and we wanted to set public expectations that if only 25 trucks were moved in the morning of February 14, that would be a success, because it was extraordinarily complicated from a logistical perspective to pull it off.”
Mr. Arpin was referring to negotiations between the protest’s organizers and the city to move transport trucks out of downtown Ottawa neighbourhoods and onto the street in front of Parliament Hill during the Freedom Convoy protest.
The protest began in response to COVID-19 vaccine mandates imposed in mid-January 2022 by the federal government on truckers crossing the Canada-U.S. border.
Deal Falls Through
Mr. Ayotte also confirmed that no city staff had mentioned the coming injunction application to protesters during the Feb. 13 meeting with organizers. He said he wanted the injunction because it was “another tool for us to use to provide greater enforcement if required for the police and for our officers to use,” and it “had more weight in the court system.”
While the Crown had originally planned to call 22 witnesses over 10 days, proceedings have fallen behind schedule due to technical difficulties and deliberations between lawyers. Only four witnesses have completed their testimony so far.