As protesters assembled at Ottawa City Hall this week demanding council declare a “state of climate emergency”, local police were at wits’ end with lawlessness occurring at a downtown McDonald’s and nearby Burger King.
Last week, an early morning sex-assault at McDonald’s Rideau Street franchise, just blocks from Parliament Hill, prompted Ottawa’s top cop Charles Bordeleau to sound the alarm on CTV News.
In his missive to McDonald’s Canada CEO he shared with the outlet, Chief Bordeleau writes “to request immediate attention and action … (for) ongoing criminal activity and social disorder.”
“Criminal activity surrounding this location has reached a critical level with more than 843 calls for police in 2018 alone,” describes Bordeleau of law-enforcement action akin to Sisyphus pushing a rock.
“Officers attend this location on a daily basis to address issues including vagrancy, liquor license violations, illicit drug use, and incidents of violence,” his plea to McDonald’s Inc. continues.
In January, a gangland shootout inside a Burger King just east of Rideau St. in Vanier spurred similar reaction from city councillor Mathieu Fleury. The next day, Fleury demanded that BK brass get involved, lest Ottawa’s French quarter Whopper franchise be lost forever to criminals.
Burger King shooting coverage:Click here
“We’ve tried to reach out to the franchise, we’ve had meetings with the store manager, and we’ve reported it to police,” Fleury told media the day after one man ‘known to police’ was in hospital and the hunt was on for three suspects.
“If I were Burger King today, I would bring top officials in to have a conversation with me and Ottawa Police and engage with the community, but we’re struggling to get them involved or interested.”
Byward Market, Lowertown and Vanier have long been magnets for scofflaws and miscreants, and crime there, particularly near and inside the McDonald’s reached “critical level” in 2018, lockstep with record high gun violence throughout the city the same year.
Early Thursday morning in Byward Market, a 22-year-old man was shot dead on York Street and Sussex, two blocks north of the Rideau St. McDonald’s.
Barely 12 hours before and under a cloud of a desperate police chief begging for McDonald’s help (not city hall’s) to fight violent crime at their capital city cheeseburger outpost, the Committee on Environmental Protection, Water and Waste Management was gripped with a more pressing ’emergency’.
Urged on by climate activists outside city hall, councillors voted 6-2 in favour of a motion that the Mayor and the entire municipal council will consider next week: issuing a state of emergency in Ottawa, because of climate change.
“If it was symbolic, it would not be here [at committee]. I wouldn’t let it get to this point,” said Councillor Scott Moffatt, in defence of declaring a ‘climate emergency’ for the city’s residents and 11 million tourists who visit each year.
As for addressing more immediate threats to public safety, since Chief Bordeleau went public with policing woes at the McDonald’s establishment, franchise owner Adeel Hashmi has scaled back the restaurant’s hours from 24/7 service to 6am-10pm.
As Bordeleau noted in his letter, police calls to the Byward Market’s golden arches have been on a marked rise since 2014, responding to myriad incidents including this Big Mac smackdown: