So I see, in an article in the Ottawa Citizen, that the Minister of Public Services and Procurement Canada, Anita Anand, Ottawa mayor Jim Watson and even Pierre Paul-Hus, the Conservative critic for PSPC and a veteran with more than 20 years of service in Canada’s Army reserve, are suggesting that someone ~ the Parliamentary Protective Service which reports, variously, to the speakers of the Senate and of the House of Commons and to the Commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. As with so many things in Ottawa, there seems to be no clear, simple answer to the question who is responsible for the National War Memorial?
The current camp on the West side of Confederation Square is not the first. There was an earlier, larger and less tidy one in the Winter and Spring of 2019/20:
I regularly walk by the National War Memorial, almost always stopping to pay my respects, I complained to Veterans Affairs and to Public Services and Procurement Canada when the Extinction Rebellion camp went up ~ before the COVID-19 pandemic was detected ~ and received no response from either agency. The Extinction Rebellion camp disappeared in May 2020 and the site was cleaned up, but the damage was done. Since no one had acted, promptly and properly to evict Extinction Rebellion other groups felt free to move in. The first, Extinction Rebellion, camp seemed to attract less public and official criticism, perhaps because it advocated for a policy that the Government of Canada supported. The new camp is markedly anti-government and anti-Trudeau.
Now, in my personal opinion, the government bureaucracy, the administrative state, failed in December 2019. The only correct and acceptable response to the first tent and sign on the National War Memorial site was a flying squad of police officers who would have carted the tent-dwellers off to jail, followed by a squad of workers who would have dismantled the improper and disrespectful site. Neither happened because no one in Official Ottawa cared; they only care now because, according to the Ottawa Citizen report, “one of the people in the encampment harassed NDP leader Jagmeet Singh as he walked down Wellington Street, threatening him with a “citizen’s arrest.”” That person may have committed a crime ~ I’m not a lawyer, but it seems to me that anyone, including a prominent politician, ought to be able to walk along an Ottawa street unmolested.
But one can almost imagine the conversation in closed conference rooms occupied by senior Liberal political tacticians: “Look, this has to stop, it’s only six weeks until Remembrance Day … it will look bad if there is an anti-government tent city at the National War Memorial.” “Right! Tear it down!” “But we didn’t tear down the last one.” “Of course not, they were fighting for the same thing that the PM says he’s fighting for.” “Yes, they were harmless … people have a right to protest, peacefully.” “Then these guys haven’t broken any laws?” “We’ll have to pass the problem to someone who can say that.” “Good, then our work is done and we can adjourn.” “But what about Remembrance Day?” “Who cares?“