The Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions (CFNU) categorically stands against the hateful messages espoused by members of the Ottawa convoy and condemns in the strongest terms the continuing occupation and the harassment and violence against the people of Ottawa.
As the hub of this so-called protest, the streets of our nation’s capital have seen an occupation that has subjected residents and workers to harassment, bullying and physical violence. Incessant noise and traffic have made it virtually impossible for residents and workers in the downtown core to go about their daily lives, and we have seen overt displays of racist symbols and hateful messages. Particularly troubling have been the attacks and hate directed at health care workers, people who have worked so hard for so long to care of us.
The organizers of this occupation have made impossible demands, calling for an end to all public health protections and the overthrow of Canada’s democratically elected government.
We are also troubled by the abject failure of leadership in policing that left the nation’s capital utterly unprepared for an onslaught of people and vehicles into the downtown core, and the inaction that has placed residents and businesses in harm’s way. Once a peaceful resolution to the current situation has been found, the response to this occupation by all relevant governments and authorities must be fully investigated.
When COVID-19 first arrived in Canada some 23 months ago, we called on decision-makers to ensure that all public health decisions would be based on the best available science. Now, as public health experts, whose advice we’ve relied on to stay safe during the pandemic, are attacked for basing their decisions on the best available science, we can’t stand silently by.
The CFNU has stood with Canada’s unions in the long fight for the right to protest peacefully. While we firmly uphold this right as a fundamental part of our democracy, the events that have unfolded in Ottawa over the past 13 days have gone far beyond peaceful protest.
The time has come for all levels of government to work together to end the occupation of our nation’s capital.