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Ottawa city councillor urging mayor to apologize over police budget protest comments

Catherine McKenney feels this is not the time to create further division, but a time to listen and give residents a voice.
2018-12-12 ottawa mayor jim watson mv2
Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson December 2018. Mike Vlasveld/ OttawaMatters

An Ottawa city councillor is calling on Mayor Jim Watson to apologize for comments he made about those who protested against the Ottawa Police Service's (OPS) budget for 2022.

The mayor thinks those who held multiple public protests against the increase to the police budget do not represent the view of most Ottawans.

"The public certainly are telling me -- not the ones who go out and block roads or have rallies at city hall -- the public that I talk to, and I go out more and more to a lot more events, they want to see a greater police presence in their neighbourhood," Watson told reporters on Wednesday, November 24. 

In a letter, Somerset Ward Councillor Catherine McKenney is urging Watson to apologize for those comments, adding it is highly offensive to insinuate that the residents who took part in protests opposing next year's police budget do not represent the public.

The councillor also feels it is an abdication of Watson's responsibility to consider all voices, regardless if he personally agrees with them.

They are also accusing the mayor of tokenizing city staff, after he listed off racialized senior leaders and members of council in an effort to highlight diversity within the City of Ottawa.

"With respect to members of council, we have obviously Rawlson [King], [who] is a minority, along with two members of the Lebanese community who serve around the table," Watson said.

McKenney feels this is not the time to create further division, but a time to listen and give residents a voice.

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