Ottawa police put an end to the "Freedom Convoy" protest in the downtown district that lasted for three weeks. On Friday and Saturday, officers arrested demonstrators and seized their vehicles. Now Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson wants to sell those seized trucks and campers to recoup millions of dollars the city lost during the three weeks of gridlock.
On Sunday, Watson told Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) that trucks, campers, and other vehicles seized from the convoy should be sold off, claiming Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's emergency powers could give him authority to do so.
"Under the Emergencies Act, I've asked our solicitor and our city manager, 'how can we keep the tow trucks and the campers and the vans and everything else that we've confiscated, and sell those pieces of equipment to help recoup some of the costs that our taxpayers are absorbing?'" Watson told state media.
Mayor of Ottawa, Jim Watson, in an interview with the state broadcaster(cbc) praises Trudeau's use of the Emergencies Act, and is looking into selling confiscated convoy protesters trucks and RVs.https://t.co/cTm6cKHpsA pic.twitter.com/zS3em5TAjf— Efron Monsanto 🇨🇦🚜🚛 (@realmonsanto) February 20, 2022
Ottawa police tweeted 79 vehicles in total were seized and towed to impound yards.
ARRESTS / ARRESTATIONS: 191— Ottawa Police (@OttawaPolice) February 20, 2022
CHARGES LAID / ACCUSATIONS PORTÉES: 389
VEHICLES TOWED / VEHICULES REMORQUÉS: 79
STREETS CLEARED / RUES DÉGAGÉES: Wellington, Bay, Kent, Lyon, Queen and Metcalfe. The Sir John A. MacDonald parkway has also been cleared and will reopen shortly. pic.twitter.com/nZZw2hCv7g
City Treasurer Wendy Stephanson recently noted demonstrators cost the Canadian capital CAD 1 million ($785k) per day. "We should ding those people who have caused this chaos," Watson said in a separate interview with CTV.
It's unclear whether the mayor will follow through with his plant to sell the vehicles. There's also no word if the vehicles at auction would even cover the $14 million cost of policing expenses.
Interim Police Chief Steve Bell told reporters that clearing out demonstrators over the weekend was "extremely expensive."
"We've already talked to our federal and provincial partners about how, at the end of the day, we will look at having money provided to the police service for that. Those discussions are ongoing," Bell said. "We continue to track our costs. Our partners continue to work with us to identify the costs of policing to actually manage this event and, at the culmination of it, we will be able to provide accurate figures."
Bell said on Saturday the "unlawful occupation is over." He added on Sunday that security fences with "very heavy police presence" were placed around the downtown areas.
The trucker convoy has yet to release a statement about their seized vehicles and what their response will be... One would assume they would lawyer up and use donated funds in an attempt to retrieve their vehicles.