Coutts border blockade: Minister Savage
Acting Minister of Justice and Solicitor General Sonya Savage issued the following statement on the continuing situation near the Coutts border crossing:
“The blockade near the Coutts border crossing continues to be of concern to Albertans near and far, and law enforcement continues to focus many resources on it.
“To repeat what we’ve said on several occasions: Alberta’s government will always stand up for people’s fundamental democratic right to protest.
“However, the constitutional rights to freedom of assembly and expression have reasonable limits. When protesters threaten public safety, disrupt the public peace or prevent Albertans from accessing vital infrastructure, then they open themselves up to potential action from law enforcement.
“We believe the Coutts blockade has crossed this line. It has severely inconvenienced lawful motorists, prevented commercial goods from reaching their destination, and it has the potential to impede emergency vehicles from reaching people in need of aid.
“I have heard the calls for an end to the blockade. I share Albertans’ frustration and their desire for life to return to normal.
“The RCMP and local law enforcement agencies are on site, sharing information and working in tandem to maintain public safety.
“Those participating in this illegal blockade could potentially face charges or actions under any number of laws, including the federal Criminal Code, the provincial Traffic Safety Act and the Critical Infrastructure Defence Act.
“Whatever action law enforcement may take is at their independent discretion. I trust the authorities to lay appropriate charges wherever the evidence provides reasonable grounds for doing so.
“As for the participants in this blockade: they need to recognize that this protest is no longer peaceful and is causing hardship to thousands of law-abiding Albertans.
“I call upon those involved in the blockade to respect the rule of law, as well as the wishes of local residents, and to comply with any action taken by law enforcement.”
Irfan Sabir, NDP Critic for Justice, made the following statement in response to Minister Sonya Savage’s comments on the illegal blockade of the border crossing at Coutts:
“Like many Albertans, I’m shocked that after 11 days of an illegal blockade on a crucial economic corridor, Minister Savage still hasn’t taken any action or shared a plan to end this unlawful blockade. She has no answers for Albertans about why the UCP has allowed this lawlessness to continue.
“The UCP still hasn’t applied to the courts for an injunction to clear the blockade. Savage describes the situation as unlawful and ‘intolerable’ but refuses to take even this basic step to give the law enforcement all the legal resources they need. She says an injunction is not needed at this time but she couldn’t be more wrong.
“It’s clear the UCP is simply unwilling to uphold the rule of law if it damages Jason Kenney’s chance of surviving his leadership review. This has emboldened those engaged in this unlawful blockade of our primary border crossing and they continue to block $44 million per day of international trade with complete impunity.
“The blockade must end.”