The Lakeland will learn the future of the province’s Restrictions Exemption Program later today as Premier Jason Kenney has announced on social media he’ll be appearing live at 5 p.m. today (Feb. 8) with an announcement about COVID restrictions.
“Today at 5 pm I will announce Alberta’s path back to normal – a careful and prudent plan to lift damaging restrictions if pressure on our hospitals continues to decline. Please tune in,” Kenney said in a Tweet.
Alberta NDP Leader Rachel Notley is calling on the UCP government to take immediate action to end the blockade near Coutts and stop surrendering public health decisions to illegal protests.
The blockade near Coutts is now on its tenth day. Protestors affiliated with the convoy took to the streets in both major cities over the weekend. The NDP says the blockade is now backing up Alberta supply chains, inhibiting an estimated $44 million of economic activity every day.
“It’s time for this lawlessness to end. It’s time for every Albertan to be able to move around their community safely and spend time with their family in peace. It’s time for people and goods to be able to move freely across the border,” said Notley in a news conference Monday. “This behaviour has continued for more than a week with impunity. I am deeply disturbed by the lack of response from this UCP government. We are a nation of laws and it’s time the UCP remembered that these laws apply to everyone, even if you want their vote at a leadership review.”
UCP MLAs have issued support for the blockade on social media, and protest organizers claim to have negotiated the end of health restrictions with members of the UCP rural caucus.
While the UCP has denied these claims, shortly thereafter, Premier Jason Kenney significantly rewrote his timeline for dropping the Restrictions Exemption Program and other measures from the end of March to the end of February to “in the coming days”.
“The UCP cabinet is surrendering in slow motion to those who are illegally blockading the highway at Coutts. I am calling on this UCP government—before they announce any changes to public health policy—to uphold the rule of law and disperse these illegal blockades. When it is time to announce changes to public health measures, Albertans must be provided with an exhaustive presentation of all the data and all of the professional public health advice those decisions are based on,” The Alberta NDP stated.
The Alberta NDP reiterated its call for the government to seek an injunction from the courts to open the border crossing, and to publicly denounce the illegal blockade.
Kenney is scheduled to speak at 5:00 p.m. and you can watch live on YourAlberta YouTube page.