Ottawa police chief resigns amid anti-mandate protests BPN TODAY

Ottawa Police Chief Peter Sloly has resigned after weeks of criticism for his handling of anti-vaccine mandate protests that have paralysed the city.

Protesters have occupied the centre of Canada’s capital for 19 days, halting traffic and enraging residents.

The prime minister on Monday invoked the Emergencies Act as a “last resort” in response to the protests.

The Ottawa Police Services Board confirmed Mr Sloly’s resignation at a public meeting on Tuesday.

Ottawa city councillor Diane Deans thanked Mr Sloly, 55, for his service and said the former chief and the city had come to a “mutually agreeable separation”. She provided no further comment on the resignation, calling it a “labour relations matter”.

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The Ottawa Police Service plans to appoint a new chief immediately, Ms Deans said.

A former Canadian men’s soccer player, Mr Sloly took over at the Ottawa Police Service in 2019, more than three decades after joining the Toronto police. His contract in Ottawa was due to end in 2024.

Throughout his career, he gained a reputation as a progressive reformer, dedicated to improving police-community relations.

However, he has been criticised by Ottawans for what has been seen an anaemic response to the “Freedom Convoy” protests. The city of Ottawa declared a state of emergency over a week ago in attempt to quell the protests.

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As of last week Mr Sloly stood by his response, telling Newstalk 580 he had “absolutely no” intention to step down.

“I came here to do a job and I’m going to get that job done all the way through,” he said.

On Monday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took the unprecedented step of invoking the Emergencies Act, which he said would give local police “more tools” to deal with protesters. Members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) will be deployed to assist.

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