Calgary

RCMP issue 53 tickets, disable excavators as services suspended at Alberta border crossing

Fifty-three provincial tickets have been laid and three excavators have been disabled as RCMP continues enforcement efforts near the Coutts blockade in southern Alberta.

Provincial tickets were issued for various reasons, mostly under the Traffic Safety Act

A convoy of anti-COVID-19 vaccine mandate demonstrators is shown in a file photo from Feb. 2. RCMP said both directions to the U.S.-Canada border near Coutts were blockaded by vehicles as of Feb. 13. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)

Fifty-three provincial tickets have been laid and three excavators have been disabled as RCMP continues enforcement efforts near the Coutts blockade in southern Alberta.

RCMP said the excavators were disabled to prevent them from being used in the blockade. The tickets were all issued over the last 24 hours, mostly under the Traffic Safety Act.

This sort of enforcement is expected to be ongoing in the coming days.

"We continue to work with our efforts to put an end to this illegal blockade and I'm sure that will continue in the days to come," said RCMP Cpl. Troy Savinkoff.

A protest around pandemic mandates has been taking place near the border since Jan. 29.

One impaired driver was also issued a 24-hour suspension as a result of RCMP enforcement efforts, Savinkoff said.

Services at the Coutts port of entry have been temporarily suspended since Saturday.

Service at the border was open prior to that, but lanes have been blocked by large trucks and other vehicles, only allowing traffic to flow through intermittently.

On Friday, Premier Jason Kenney said it was up to the RCMP to enforce the law at the blockade, adding that he believed that "the vast majority of the people of Alberta" expected "law and order to be restored."

"I do understand, that at the beginning of protests of this nature, the police have good reasons to often to seek to avoid conflict and to de-escalate," he said on CBC's Power and Politics.

"That's understandable. And we respect those tactical and prudential judgments. But this has been going on for nearly two weeks."

WATCH | 'I get the frustration, but we can never accept lawlessness as a response': Premier Kenney on protests:

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"If they in any way justify these kinds of protests, then how in the world can they oppose extremists camping out in front of pipelines or creating barriers on railways," said Alberta Premier Jason Kenney on some members of the Conservative caucus posing with protesters.

Both directions to the U.S.-Canada border are currently blockaded by vehicles, according to Savinkoff.

RCMP Supt. Roberta McKale previously told CBC Calgary News at 6 host Rob Brown that police haven't made more arrests because the situation is "very complex."

"The equipment that's used to blockade this isn't small. It's not like you can grab a regular tow truck and go there," McKale said.

RCMP have been trying to encourage protesters to move to a nearby field to open up the road.

With files from Carolyn Dunn

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