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Councillor Jennifer Watts issues apology for Remembrance Day eviction

Statement was ruled out of order by mayor Peter Kelly at last night's council meeting.

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Councillor Jennifer Watts has issued the following statement:
I am making this statement as a Halifax Regional Councillor and as a resident of this municipality. I deeply and sincerely apologize for my role in the unfolding of the events that took place with the enforcement of the eviction of Occupy NS on Nov. 11 in Victoria Park.

I supported and still agree with the decision to enforce the municipal park bylaw. But I did not speak clearly about how this process could have been enforced in a manner that was respectful of the significance of Remembrance Day and considered alternative resolution strategies in dealing with the residents protesting in Victoria Park.

It is possible to stand behind the position that this was an operational issue for which I have no responsibility but I will not do that. I believe that my inaction was a serious error in judgment on my part for which I sincerely apologize.

I would like to thank all residents who have contacted me about this issue. I have appreciated your honesty and frankness and I will work to provide answers to the questions you have asked about this event.

While any regret from councillors for the eviction is welcome, I still think Watts misses the larger point: agreeing to any eviction of the Occupiers, without first consulting and bargaining in good faith with the Occupiers, necessarily resulted in the heavy-handed approach taken by city officials.

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