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UPDATE: 'If this fails, I'll wear it': Mayor Jim Watson on deal with Ottawa convoy organizers

Over the weekend, the Mayor's office had brokered a deal with one convoy organizer in an attempt to get vehicles occupying residential streets moved to other roads in the downtown.
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Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson joins CityNews' The Rob Snow Show the morning after reaching a back channel deal with Ottawa protest organizers in an attempt to clear vehicles occupying residential streets in the downtown. 

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson says the ball is now in the court of convoy organizers to move trucks out of residential neighbourhoods.

Speaking to The Rob Snow Show on Monday, February 14, Watson said it's up to truck convoy organizers to follow through with their end of the bargain to confine rigs to a section of Wellington Street. 

However, whether convoy organizers will go through with their promise, is left to be seen. They have a deadline of 12 p.m. Monday to start moving their trucks, however, a Twitter exchange on Sunday night left some confused as organizers claimed no such deal took place with the Mayor, but then later walked back that claim.

As Watson explained, no one lives in the Parliamentary precinct, but there are 10,000 to 15,000 residents who live in Centretown who are affected by the ongoing demonstrations.

While Watson received some criticism for his negotiation with organizers of the protest, he said it was something the city had to attempt in order to move things forward. 

"I felt my first responsibility was to try to bring some relief to those individuals and the residential community," he said on Monday, February 14. "I don't want to oversell this as this agreement may not work." 

"There are many different groups that don't all speak with one voice, they all have different agendas. But we were approached by a go-between, someone I know and someone that they trust, and we're able to get a signed letter of commitment, and my hope is that it does work and it does bring some peace and quiet and take some of the lawlessness from people who have been going through hell."

Watson said organizers are aware that he is unable to do anything about the COVID-19 public health mandates the convoy claims they're fighting against.

"As I said, this is a classic example of insanity - you keep trying the same thing and expecting a different result. We've been doing that and we haven't seen any movement whatsoever. I felt that [we'll] at least try, if it fails, I'll wear it, but at least we tried. If it succeeds, then at least we've gotten some peace back to those areas hardest hit."

According to Watson, Ottawa is still waiting on the 1,800 additional officers it had requested to federal and provincial bodies. 

After watching the events in Windsor unfold over the weekend in response to the blocking of the Ambassador Bridge and the swift action of federal and provincial governments in providing additional support, Ottawa is asking for the same kind of support. 

However, Ottawa's demonstrations are on a much larger scale - with protesters in the capital in the thousand, while protesters in Windsor were in the hundreds. 

But, Watson said, he'll keep pushing the Prime Minister and Premier for what Ottawa needs, but admits he's getting two different messages from both levels of government. 

On the one hand, Watson said he's told that if Ottawa needs anything, it will be provided - but when he writes in requests, they go unanswered. 

For now, the City is going to court on Monday asking for a judicial injunction related on a by-law-related matter.

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