About 25 percent of trucks in the protest in the Canadian capital of Ottawa have children in them and police have discussed bringing in the local equivalent of child protective services, according to Steven Bell, deputy police chief.
“We’re not at the stage of looking to do any sort of enforcement activity around that,” Bell said, according to Global News. “We just think it’s an important factor that complicates and makes this an even more challenging operation.”
There currently are 418 trucks in Ottawa, Bell said, and there have been talks with Children’s Aid Society. He said there are “Concerns about safety, the risk of carbon monoxide and fumes, the noise levels, [we’re] concerned about cold, we’re concerned about access to sanitation, the ability to shower — there’s a multitude of concerns,” he said.
Concern for cold weather is ironic, since police are prohibiting transport of fuel cans. Local residents have taken to carrying empty or water-filled cans as decoys and as expressions of support.
With a giggling 5-year-old in the cab of the truck her family occupies, Kathleen Callahan told Global News: “There’s not a parent down here that would jeopardize the safety or the health of their child. We brought them down here so that they can be proud of the moment.”
One unidentified protester told Global News: “These cabins are designed to be slept in while vehicles are running so, I mean, at this point it seems like they’re trying to pull straws and anything they can to try and add scare tactics.”
Local residents are providing bathrooms and showers, Callahan said. “So you know, it’s not like we’re locked in these trucks. I think it’s disgusting that they would take the chance of traumatizing the children with CAS.”
Bell has said police don’t want to take children out of trucks, but will be following CAS recommendations. “We’re not at the stage of looking to do any sort of enforcement activity around that.”
“We just think it’s an important factor that complicates and makes this an even more challenging operation,” he said.
Callahan indicated COVID issues have been difficult for her child. “She has no idea what a birthday party is, [or a] family gathering. If she has a doctor’s appointment we can’t even go in as a family.”
Meanwhile, Kristen Nagle, a nurse who lost her job due to COVID mandates and claimed media had destroyed her life, lectured a Canadian Broadcasting Company television crew, shaming them for negatively reporting about the child-welfare concerns and describing what the protest has meant to children.
“They have never been happier these ten days than they have in the last two years,” Nagle told them. “Do you know how many kids came up and said ‘thank you?’ Do you, do you actually even look at the notes that are stuck to every single truck from kids?
“Do you see the heart that comes out from them? Do you know how important this is for them? …Why don’t you guys report it? Like I said, why don’t you report the truth?”
To which a CBC crewman replied, “It’s not in my power now. I’m sorry.”
“You allow it to happen,” Nagle shot back. “By being here you allow it to happen … I stood up and lost my job for it. You being here, a part of this, you’re complicit.”
Handling of the protest may have been a factor in causing a major Ottawa police official – a staff sergeant — to resign, according to The National Telegraph which indicated an unusually high number of uniformed officers are taking sick and vacation days, plus stress leave.
The government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau continues to resist, responding to the protesters by calling them violent and racist. However, Joel Lightbound, a longtime Liberal member of Parliament, has broken ranks with the prime minister.
“I have enough respect for my fellow Canadians not to engage in these easy absurd labels,” Lightbound said, according to True North.
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