Hello Kanata North,
I am reaching out to the community today to address the situation taking place in the downtown core and all across Ottawa. Residents of Kanata North have reached out to me appalled, shocked and scared. With a number of incidents taking place in and around Kanata, I want you to know that I have asked a number of questions of our staff regarding whether de-escalation is the only solution. I understand that video footage, photos of license plates, photos of the trucks whose company logos are visible and arrests of people committing crimes is, indeed, action. However, the ramifications that will follow from these actions will not be seen for a while. The illegal acts, the racism and hateful words and actions have to be stopped now. The non-stop noise and the impact on businesses has to be addressed immediately. “Enough is enough” is the theme of the emails I have received. I have already and will continue to voice the concerns made to me that we need to end the protest as peacefully as possible, but with more proactive action. While I make your voices heard, I want to share with you the latest message coming from the Mayor and our City Manager to City staff who have been working all hours to secure our city. The numbers and websites listed below are for all to access.
We know the last few days have been very demanding of City staff and members of the Ottawa Police Service (OPS) responding to the demonstration that has brought our city to a standstill. Despite the threats and the risks associated with this protest, we want to commend our staff on the front lines and those working in the background to ensure the peace and safety of everyone in the surrounding areas. We applaud you for your efforts and your professionalism, which have managed to keep all of us safe over the last few days.
As part of this protest, many of you have witnessed or have been exposed to words, symbols, and acts of racism and hatred – including Confederate flags, swastikas, white nationalist rhetoric and the desecration of the National War Memorial and the Terry Fox statue. All of these are profoundly disturbing, and we strongly denounce these forms of hate that have no place in such a caring and compassionate city as Ottawa.
We recognize that these acts and the heightened tensions taking place in our community can lead to trauma and anxiety for anyone who is exposed to it. If you find you are struggling, remember you are not alone, and there are several supports available to you.
You also have access to community-based mental health supports, including the Distress Centre of Ottawa and Region, available 24/7 by phone at (613) 238-3311 within Ottawa. In addition, Counselling Connect provides free, quick access to phone or video counselling for children, youth, adults and families in Ottawa and the surrounding area. Counselling Connect also includes counselling options for people who identify as African, Caribbean and Black (ACB), and LGBT2SQ+.
The Walk-in Counselling Clinic provides virtual, confidential, single-session counselling services through multiple agencies on a first come, first served basis in English, French, Arabic, Cantonese, Mandarin, Spanish and Somali. There is also a specific ACB clinic for members of the African, Caribbean, and Black communities and support for people who identify as LGBTQ2S+. The sessions are free to all members of the community, with no restrictions based on age or location/address, and no need for an appointment.
Culturally competent support is also available 24/7 to all Indigenous peoples across Canada through the National Hope for Wellness Helpline by calling the toll free number at 1-855-242-3310.
If you are in distress, call the Ottawa Mental Health Crisis Line (613) 722-6914.
The acts of hate witnessed over the last few days do not represent the values of our organization or community and we stand with those who continue to be affected by these displays of intolerance.
Jim Watson Steve Kanellakos
Mayor City Manager