July 1: Canada to mark 155th anniversary of its formation

Published on Jul 01, 2022 11:05 AM IST
Canada Day is observed on July 1 and this is the first time in two years that celebrations are expected to attract crowds since the last two years were marred by restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
James Topp, a Canadian Forces veteran who marched across Canada protesting against the Covid-19 vaccines mandates, speaks to supporters as he arrives at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the National War Memorial ahead of Canada Day in Ottawa, Ontario, on Thursday. (REUTERS)
James Topp, a Canadian Forces veteran who marched across Canada protesting against the Covid-19 vaccines mandates, speaks to supporters as he arrives at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the National War Memorial ahead of Canada Day in Ottawa, Ontario, on Thursday. (REUTERS)

TORONTO: As the country prepares to celebrate the 155th anniversary of the formation of the Canadian Confederation, Canada Day, the traditional centre of festivities, Parliament Hill in Ottawa, will be off limits as protesters linked to the Freedom Convoy begin gathering in the capital for the long weekend.

Canada Day is observed on July 1 and this is the first time in two years that celebrations are expected to attract crowds since the last two years were marred by restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, as disparate groups like to the original Freedom Convoy, the anti-mandate protesters who occupied the capital for three weeks in February, started streaming into the city, Parliament Hill and downtown Ottawa turned into a heavily policed zone and that presence will remain till July 4.

Various events have been listed by protesters including a march to Parliament Hill on Friday. In a statement released on Monday as it laid down plans for maintaining law and order in Ottawa ahead of the Canada Day weekend, the city’s interim police chief Steve Bell said, “We expect there to be demonstrations. This is a right of all Canadians and it will be protected.”

However, he added, “We will not accept unlawful behaviour and we will not allow vehicle-based demonstrations in the motor vehicle control zone.”

The main celebratory Canadian Heritage events have been moved some distance away from Parliament Hill to LeBreton Flats.

The outlet CBC News quoted a person associated with the group Freedom Central Canada, Amanda Haveman, as saying in a video message that they want to show Ottawa they were “respectful Canadians”, adding they wanted their “voices heard and we want Canada to go back to the way it was”.

While the federal government lifted several Covid-19 vaccination related mandates in June, including accepting back unvaccinated employees, one measure that was not lifted was that on cross-border trucking with the United States, an imposition that led to the Freedom Convoy movement in February. That protest ended after Trudeau took the extreme action of imposing an emergency, which was withdrawn after nine days on February 23, and the rationale for such draconian action is being examined in hearings at House of Commons committees currently.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Anirudh Bhattacharya is a Toronto-based commentator on North American issues, and an author. He has also worked as a journalist in New Delhi and New York spanning print, television and digital media. He tweets as @anirudhb.

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