TENT CITY BULLDOZED, BELONGINGS DESTROYED, BY THE NATIONAL CAPITAL COMMISSION

OTTAWA – On December 10th, International Human Rights day, residents of Tent City and their supporters stood by as their tents and belongings were bulldozed by employees of the National Capital Commission under the supervision of the Ottawa Police Service.

On Monday, some residents of Tent City were provided with temporary accommodations – a motel room – in Vanier so they could shower and sleep somewhere warm. Residents accepted this offer with the understanding they had 48-hours to come back to the site near Bayview Station to collect their belongings, which included items the community generously donated to support their survival. Unfortunately, residents woke up 7am Tuesday morning to news that the NCC and the Ottawa Police were already at the site, dismantling their tents. 

“This is what the criminalization of poverty looks like,” says Leila Attar, advocate and member of Overdose Prevention Ottawa. “[The city has] no resources to actually support people who are homeless, but they have resources to come in, kick them off, forcibly remove them” said Attar as she shared distressing images of personal belongings being bulldozed and tossed into large bins. 

The forced eviction of Tent City is a violation of international human rights and the displacement of residents from their community puts them at serious risk. Amid all the chaos yesterday, many residents missed long-awaited and life-saving medical appointments because of this needless and preventable distress. They will now likely miss out on more appointments and supports as their temporary “housing” is located outside of their community, far away from medical and social resources. This isolation exacerbates their already harsh experiences of chronic homelessness. 

When residents of Tent City were informed on Sunday, December 8th that they would be forcibly evicted by the NCC, they quickly organized and compiled a list of demands. These demands include things like “being treated at all times with dignity and respect by city officials, NCC officials, police officers, and any other government representatives.” They also requested that emergency shelter be provided “in the neighbourhood or as proximate to the neighbourhood as possible.” Most importantly, residents wanted to be consulted directly by the City of Ottawa and NCC officials on any decisions made about their living situation. 

Unfortunately, this list of demands was ignored and the City of Ottawa, the National Capital Commission, and the Ottawa Police chose to distinguish themselves as champions of the heartless on a day when we were meant to recognize the importance of human rights.

“My heart aches for my neighbours,” said Samantha McAleese – supporter and advocate – on Twitter yesterday. “This dehumanizing and cruel display… on International Human Rights Day is a new low for Ottawa.” 

Today, December 11th, Councillor Catherine McKenney will bring a notice of motion to City Council to declare housing and homelessness an emergency in Ottawa. This motion, and all actions that stem from it, must keep the people experiencing homelessness at the forefront. The demands made by residents of Tent City echo the needs and concerns of others living outside, living in shelters, and experiencing homelessness and housing insecurity in its many forms. Overdose Prevention Ottawa, residents of Tent City, and other neighbours and advocates are requesting to sit down with City officials to share their recent experiences and discuss the best way forward. 

10 thoughts on “TENT CITY BULLDOZED, BELONGINGS DESTROYED, BY THE NATIONAL CAPITAL COMMISSION”

  1. That’s just discusting on the part of the city officials in Ottawa as if the people don’t have enough to worry about at this time of year when its cold and its the holiday season when we should be spreading love and support to those less fortunate, it just makes me feel sad. SHAME ON YOU OTTAWA.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The paradox is not lost… While the Canadian government proudly asserts itself a champion of the rights of the most vulnerable, the most vulnerable in the Canadian Capital lost their tents and meagre possessions at the hands of NCC and Ottawa officials. Worse still, just as winter is on our doorstep, and Christmas two weeks away.
    This is not the Canada I know.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This type of action, after proclaiming themselves “champions of human rights” seems to be the norm now…
    Indigenous out in BC, with the RCMP forcing them off the land for the pipeline… with “lethal overwatch”…
    Now, this?

    Like

  4. As a resident from tent city I’d first of all like to thank everyone that showed support or gave a donation everything we received was greatly appreciated and used if we (residents of tent city) could not use the donation given we would drop it off to Somerset West Community Health Center to be donated to other less fortunate. The way the city went about this was unfair and not right the only reason they came to displace us was due to a torched tent they assumed had been caused by a propane heater when a few of us residents were there when it happened know for a fact 100% it was arson and would have been contained if not for the extinguishers failure to work due to the frozen state they were in. I personally tried 4 different one all with the same result. But moving on with our lives as positively as we can I Ryan McInnis would like to thank each and every person that helped us not sure how I could ever repay the gratitude but if there is a way feel free to contact me ryanmcinnis34@gmail.com

    Like

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