Alberta’s Premier says truck drivers’ border blocking violates traffic laws and must end

COUTTS, Alta. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney says a truck convoy that has blocked a highway at a busy U.S. border crossing as part of a protest against vaccine mandates is violating the province’s road safety law and must stop immediately.

The Canada Border Services Agency said the U.S. border crossing at Coutts, Alta., Has remained open despite the blockade on Highway 4, but the RCMP says only pedestrian traffic is able to get through.

“As I said last week, Canadians have a democratic right to take part in legal protests. I urge those involved in this truck convoy protest to do so as safely as possible and not create road hazards that could lead to accidents. or unsafe conditions for other drivers, ”Kenney said Sunday in a statement from Washington, DC, where he is attending a National Governors Association meeting.

The convoy was one of many in Canadian cities held this weekend to coincide with a national convoy of truck drivers and their supporters in Ottawa protesting against vaccine mandates, COVID-19 measures and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government.

RCMP Cpl. Curtis Peters originally said emergency vehicles were unable to enter the Coutts if needed, but he updated that Sunday, saying an ambulance has been able to enter the village.

He noted that access to the Coutts is accessible via a dirt road through a field that passenger vehicles can use, but not semi-vehicles.

“It simply came to our notice then. There is gravel on it, ”Peters said. “I do not think it has a name, but it is acceptable.”

Peters said no one has been arrested.

Kenney noted in his statement that Alberta’s Critical Infrastructure Defense Act provides police and prosecutors with additional sanctions they can impose to resolve blockades of highways and other infrastructure.

The law, passed by his United Conservative government last year, protects railways, highways and pipelines from anyone who intrudes, disrupts operations and construction or causes damage.

“Operational enforcement decisions are the responsibility of the police, and enforcement at the border crossing itself is in part a federal responsibility,” Kenney noted in his statement.

Peters would not say whether the law could be used in this case, saying he would not discuss operations, tactics or planning.

The Border Agency said in a press release that travelers should expect extensive delays at the Coutts crossing. It advised travelers to use other crossings and consult the Directory of CBSA Offices and Services to confirm hours of service before setting out.

Peters said Montana authorities advised northbound traffic to consider reversing.

Kenney has publicly supported one of the goals of the truck convoy, noting that both Canada and the United States have entry restrictions for truck drivers who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19, further exacerbating supply chain bottlenecks.

The opposition NDP condemned the blockade and called on Kenney to work to get the border reopened.

“To put it bluntly, a small group that first claims to be concerned about the possibility of grocery shortages has now certainly caused them,” NDP leader Rachel Notley said in a press release.

Notley also said her party condemned the “many examples of hateful symbols and vandalism seen across Canada this weekend,” and urged Kenney to order a member of the UCP legislature to stop participating in the protest.

A social media post Saturday from Grant Hunter, representing Cardston-Taber-Warner, showed the MLA posing with the family next to trucks in the convoy, though it was not clear if the highway was completely blocked at the time.

Hunter could not be reached for comment Sunday.

Protesters at the event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa drew condemnation for attaching an inverted Canadian flag and anti-vaccine sign to a statue of Terry Fox, while others were seen jumping on the grave of the unknown soldier and the National War Memorial. A truck sailed with a Confederate flag while other protesters wrongfully appropriated the Star of David and waved Nazi symbols and slogans.

Kenney criticized the behavior on Twitter.

“Canadians have a wide range of perspectives on the appropriate government response to the COVID-19 threat that they are free to express, but we should stand together to condemn bigotry and hatred in all its forms,” ​​he wrote Sunday.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on January 30, 2022.

Leave a Comment