As protestors continue to clog the roads in southern Alberta, Canada on the border with Montana, the province’s Premier, Jason Kenney, announced that his government would be lifting public health measures in the coming weeks.
Kenney made the announcement on Thursday as freedom protests continue to emerge across Canada, as the country deals with harsh mandates that stop Canadians from flying or taking a train unless vaccinated, working for the federal government unless vaccinated, and more.
Kenney claimed that the move to relax restrictions did not result from the protest at the Coutts border crossing, saying: “No responsible government makes policy by negotiating with people engaged in such unlawful conduct. Period. Full stop,” he said. “We fully expect our law enforcement agencies to restore and maintain public safety and law and order.”
Early next week, the COVID cabinet committee will approve a plan to lift restrictions, starting with the Restrictions Exemption Program.
We can – and must – get on with our lives, restore our freedoms, and live with joy, not fear.
📽 WATCH: ⬇ pic.twitter.com/Rm3zNp0G27
— Jason Kenney (@jkenney) February 4, 2022
Kenney said that the restrictions would be lifted by the end of the month, as health care systems in the province are expected to be under less stress by then.
Omicron hospitalizations, as observed around the world, typically do not last as long as those caused by Delta, or the original Wuhan strain.
Kenney gave a message to those who protest the government’s measures: “While I sympathize with and agree with many of the messages being sent by convoy protests over the past week, let me just underscore that a society built on the rule of law cannot accept protests that block critical infrastructure, that disrupts communities and countless law-abiding citizens,” he said.
“My message to those who are frustrated about COVID(-19) policies is this: I hear you loud and clear. You are right to point to the damaging impact of restrictions.”
“Between 1918 and 1920, about 50 million people around the world died from the Spanish flu pandemic,” he said. “Most of the world, including Alberta, you can look it up in the history books, we all put in place public health restrictions very similar to those that we’ve had in place in our province on and off over the past couple of years.”
— James Finkbeiner (@JimmyBianchi) February 4, 2022
The Coutts protest has caused significant delays, as the site is a major border crossing.