Protesters’ appeal campaign is useless ‘because there is no way the Governor-General could ever acquiesce to any of their demands’: expert

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OTTAWA — “Freedom convoy” supporters who believe the Governor General can dissolve Parliament on a whim have “absolutely inundated” Rideau Hall with calls over the past week, the National Post has learned.

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Since the beginning of the week, the phones at Rideau Hall have not stopped ringing.

But instead of the usual calls about tours, questions about honors bestowed each year on selected Canadians, or requests to meet with Governor General Mary Simon, callers asked the Office of the Secretary to the Governor General (OSGG) to dissolve the government.

“The Office of the Secretary to the Governor General has received a high volume of calls and emails in recent days related to the protest. Due to this high volume, we are aware of the long wait times and appreciate the patience of the public,” spokesperson Joséphine Laframboise said in a short email.

The callers are participants and supporters of the so-called “freedom convoy” that has been occupying the streets around Parliament for the past week, demanding that the Trudeau government end all public health measures (even though the majority of between them are under the provincial government.)

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Last week, organizers also released a manifesto billed as a “memorandum of understanding” demanding that the Governor General and the Senate unite to force all levels of government to end all COVID-19 measures and vaccine passports, and to reinstate all workers made redundant due to vaccine needs.

This apparently prompted protesters and their supporters to flood the telephone and email lines at Rideau Hall demanding action by Mary Simon, going so far as to demand that she dissolve the government and remove Prime Minister Justin Trudeau from power.

The Rideau Hall call center normally receives between 25 and 50 calls a day, according to figures provided to the National Post by a source with direct knowledge of the situation and who was not authorized to release the information publicly.

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But that has exploded in recent days, with more than 100 calls recorded on Tuesday, more than 1,500 on Wednesday and more than 4,600 at some point in the afternoon on Thursday. , callers waited up to two hours to speak to a Rideau Hall employee, the source said.

Rideau Hall neither confirmed nor denied the data on Friday.

But the protesters’ appeal campaign has come to naught, as there’s no way the governor general could ever acquiesce to any of their demands, said Daniel Béland, director of McGill’s Institute for the Study of Canada. .

“The governor general can’t just decide to fire the prime minister like that,” Béland said.

The Governor General can’t just decide to fire the Prime Minister just like that

Daniel Beland

On the contrary, says Béland, their best chance of ousting Trudeau is to reach out to the opposition parties to ask them to overthrow the government and force a new election.

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“If they want to end the Trudeau government, or at least call an election and the possibility of having a new government, they should pressure the opposition parties to vote against (the government) in the next vote of confidence.”

There is no point in protesters “calling Rideau Hall or pressuring senators to do something, that’s not how things work,” he added. “It’s a democratic system, and neither the Senate nor the Governor General are elected, so they don’t have the democratic legitimacy” to dissolve the government.

This week, the National Post called the general line from Rideau Hall. What would normally be a few seconds of waiting to reach an employee instead turned into a 25 minute wait for someone to pick up the phone.

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The worker who finally answered then quickly apologized for the wait, noting that he had been “absolutely inundated” with calls.

This is far from the only disruption caused by convoy participants over the past week. Since last weekend, businesses in downtown Ottawa have been forced to close due to the rowdy and sometimes bellicose behavior of protesters towards employees and customers.

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Residents living on the streets near Parliament Hill were subjected to incessant honking and other noises at all hours of the day and night by convoy members, prompting increased demand for enforcement stricter policing.

“We’ve never seen this level of protest seep into our residential neighborhoods,” Ottawa Police Deputy Chief Steve Bell said Friday.

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