Ottawa applied for permit for ‘Freedom Family Picnic’ in Strathcona Park on Friday

An Ottawa councilor is concerned that ‘Freedom’ groups planning to hold protests in Ottawa on Canada Day are inviting people to a picnic in a Sandy Hill park.

The groups Police on Guard for Thee, Veterans 4 Freedom and Freedom Fighters Canada are planning a “Freedom Family Picnic” in Strathcona Park on Friday. The original plan to have a picnic on the lawn of the Supreme Court of Canada was canceled when authorities erected a fence around the property.

Rideau-Vanier Coun. Mathieu Fleury says he is in talks with city officials and authorities about plans for the picnic in his neighborhood.

“No permits have been issued so far, but I understand that the permitting process has started,” Fleury told Newstalk 580 CFRA’s Ottawa Now with Kristy Cameron.

“We’re working with the city to see what can be done to not allow it, and whether it’s allowed to have tight, tight, tight restrictions to mitigate the effects on the neighborhood.”

Fleury says that the permit application is pending and that the permit must be completed by 2 p.m. on Thursday.

“My wish is that any kind of any element related to the convoy would be outside residential areas or outside my community, but as you know we also have limited authorities,” Fleury said. “It is currently awaiting review.”

Social media posts say the Freedom Family Picnic will feature children’s games, costumed characters and speeches, with Canadian veteran James Topp expected to complete a march across Canada to protest COVID-19 vaccine mandates at the National War Memorial on Thursday.

Cameron asked if the picnic could go ahead if a permit has not been issued by the City of Ottawa for Strathcona Park.

“The chief is clear, anything that is not allowed is not tolerated; so if there is no allowed release or if it is allowed but there are restrictions, everything should be expected,” Fleury said, adding each picnic that larger than a family event requires a permit.

“I expect the appropriate level of enforcement by park personnel, the ordinance and, if necessary, the police.”

According to the “Live from the Shed” Twitter account and Freedom Fighters Canada website, other events are planned for Canada Day, including a “March to Freedom” from Parliament Hill at 3:30 p.m. and speeches, live music and DJs on Parliament Hill from 5pm to 8pm

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