Bye Bye Bush!

The Siege of Ottawa is now over. George Bush left town about an hour ago to fly over to Halifax to say hello over there.

Starting Monday morning, we’ve had helicopters and planes flying around endlessly keeping an eye on downtown Ottawa. Yesterday was particularly noisy. I think they had one helicopter dedicated to hovering over our street for some time – pictures were shaking on the walls it was so close.

Pierre McNicoll, the radio personality/actor who was to be the master of ceremonies at the gala supper at the Museum of Civilization last night dropped dead of a heart attack either Monday night or sometime early Tuesday. He could have just said no, he didn’t want to be MC.

We went out in the morning to see what all the hoopla was about and to run a few errands. We walked down to Bank & Somerset, and then up Bank street to Wellington. The police presence was impressive – but we could have walked right up to the Hill had we wanted to and every was was being very nice. We saw a few groups of protesters. We had to walk down Elgin to Slater and cut through the Rideau Centre to get home. Other than the 4 helicopters and two small planes that were flying around downtown & the market, it was pretty peaceful, beautiful fall day.

Things seem to have gotten rougher in the afternoon, but from what I could see from my vantage point at home with the TV on CTV, the violence that American TV has been reporting wasn’t really out of hand – I believe the police arrested about 20 over the course of a few hours. And they had it coming – throwing bricks at police? Paint? It doesn’t make any sense to me to protest Bush/war (the two seem to have become interchangeable) with violence – especially if it was directed at people who had nothing to do with Bush – the police.

My buddy Ray and I went out to the pub last night to catch up and the police where still out in the market. Four or five OPP officers were on the corner of Dalhousie and Clarence, as the helicopters and planes still flew around. When we left around 9:45, the police were gone, but the number of helicopters had dropped to two, and one plane. One of the helicopters had a searchlight on, but it was too high to be really effective.

There are a few photos in the gallery [link]

The last plane I heard flying around left the area around 2am.

Right now, it is lightly snowing, which caused the president’s motorcade to leave earlier than anticipated because the armoured car he drives around in doesn’t have snow tires – which made me laugh. He came to Canada without snow tires?! I can not imagine having to put up with all the noise all the time.

Make Vermont Canada’s 11th Province

This was sent to me by a friend [link]. It would appear that (some) Vermonters are tired of being Americans and are now willing to consider becoming Canadians.

When you think about it, it isn’t a huge shock. Vermont always seemed like a Canadian-type state. Perhaps its all part of a secret Canadian Government plot to invade the US, one state at a time (probably not).

I wonder if anything will come of it.

The Siege of Ottawa has begun.

For most of today, there have been helicopters and airplanes circling over downtown Ottawa, the Market and Lowertown. The planes are small aircraft – but they are flying reasonably low, probably less than 750 meters. The helicopters all fly far lower than that. The lowest of which is probably 200 meters up, maybe less. It is hard to tell.

Why, you ask?

Well, you see, George W. Bush, the President of the United States of America, and probably one of the most hated people in the world, is coming to Ottawa tomorrow morning for a working visit.

They’ve been busy welding down manhole covers and other such silliness up to now.

Now, they are looking for terrorists on the rooftops and backyards of downtown Ottawa.

While I was out around noon, walking up Dalhousie street, there was one helicopter pretty much hovering over the street, slowly creeping northward as it looked for something. Everyone on the street was looking to see what it was doing. I honestly wished I had brought my camera with me. Next time, I’ll keep that in mind.

On my way home, they all disappeared (lunch time!) for about an hour, and then they reappeared, perhaps with an additional helicopter to aid in scouring the area to make sure it was safe.

After a while, I decided that I should go and try to get a few pictures, so I brought my camera as walked to the corner store and got a few shots in the few minutes I was outside. One helicopter was so low, I couldn’t get a shot of it as it passed between the buildings (relative to me – there isn’t room for a helicopter between most buildings in downtown Ottawa).

The pictures I did get are now in the Miscellaneous Gallery [link] for your viewing pleasure.

I do wonder why President Bush is flying into the Ottawa Airport, and then driving into downtown along a yet-to-be-determined path to further thwart would be assassins. Wouldn’t it be simpler to fly from the airport to Parliament Hill on Marine One (which is a Sea King helicopter)? The air between the airport and Parliament Hill is probably fairly safe, as they could vary their route somewhat, and there certainly is plenty of room for it to land on the Hill.

What I really wonder is where is he staying for the night? At the Westin Hotel? The Chateau? At the American Ambassador’s residence? Maybe in a bunker beneath the American Embassy? Who knows? Well, I sure don’t.

I’m fairly curious, so I may head out tomorrow and have a look at all the hoopla. We’ll see though because it might be cold rain and that just doesn’t sound like fun at all.