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Ottawa's mayor wants to sell trucks towed during Freedom Convoy protests: 'I was so delighted to see so many tow trucks'

Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson says he wants his city to sell the vehicles and other equipment seized during the Freedom Convoy protests to recoup money spent on law enforcement and his city's response to the demonstrations.

What is the background?

After Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau invoked the Emergencies Act last week, law enforcement began clamping down on protesters.

To stop what the Canadian government is describing as an "unlawful assembly," the Emergencies Act gives law enforcement broad authority to arrest demonstrators, permits authorities to freeze bank accounts and another financial assets, and take other measures the government deems necessary to stop protests.

What did Watson say?

Watson told CTV News over the weekend that he has asked the Ottawa city manager how Ottawa can sell confiscated vehicles to pay for costs associated with responding to the protests.

"I've asked our city manager, for instance, how can we take possession of all of those trucks that have been towed away?" Watson said. "I was so delighted to see so many tow trucks involved in the operation. How can we confiscate those and sell those trucks to help pay for some of our costs?

"I don't think the taxpayers of Ottawa should be paying for this multi-million dollar bill that we're going to be saddled with because of the irresponsibility and the illegal activities of a bunch of truckers and others who showed little regard for our community and its people," Watson added.

According to CTV News, Watson said the Emergencies Act — which the Canadian Parliament upheld and extended on Monday — gives his government the authority to permanently confiscate towed vehicles.

Police in Ottawa towed dozens of vehicles that had clogged city streets after the Freedom Convoy protests arrived to Canada's capital city in late January. Whether Watson's government will be able to sell seized trucks and cars remains to be seen.

An advisory from Ottawa police said that any towed vehicle would be impounded for seven days. After the one-week waiting period, owners would be able to retrieve their property.

It is not exactly clear how much money Ottawa spent responding to the protests, between police officers and public works. However, Ottawa city treasurer Wendy Stephanson said the demonstrations were costing the city approximately $1 million per day.

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