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Manitoba Premier Urges Prime Minister to Speak with U.S. President About Blockades

February 11, 2022 3:31 PM | The Canadian Press

By The Canadian Press

Emerson Blockade - COVID-19 Protest

People block Highway 75 with heavy trucks and farm equipment and access to the Canada/U.S. border crossing at Emerson, Man., Thursday, Feb. 10, 2022. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods)

Canada’s public safety minister was to talk with the Manitoba government Friday about an ongoing blockade near the Emerson border crossing in southern Manitoba.

Marco Mendicino said the province reached out to his office for assistance, but he wouldn’t elaborate on what’s being asked of the federal government.

Dozens of protesters set up a blockade about two kilometres north of the Manitoba-U.S. border on Wednesday to show solidarity for similar protests across the country calling for an end to COVID-19 vaccine mandates and other pandemic restrictions.

The group parked tractors, trucks and trailers across Highway 75 to prevent traffic from going through, except for trucks transporting livestock.

Mendicino said he is pleased to see there’s an agreement to allow livestock trade to continue, which will help minimize the protest’s economic effect.

Ottawa will provide whatever resources it can to assist at the Emerson port of entry, but it’s up to RCMP to enforce the law, he added.

Manitoba Premier Heather Stefanson on Friday announced that the province is speeding up plans to lift COVID-19 public health orders. The decision had nothing to do with an ongoing protest outside the legislature or the one near the U.S. border, she said.

Stefanson said she has reached out to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau about the protests about his plan moving forward.

She urged Trudeau to reach out to United States President Joe Biden now that the demonstrations have affected both countries.

“It’s nothing that is unique to Manitoba. We are seeing it across the country,” Stefanson said.

“There needs to be some sort of a plan on the part of the federal government to ensure that we can have the movement of goods across our border and that that’s not curtailed in any way.”

Stefanson added she also planned to talk to North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum on Friday.

Protests took place in Manitoba at a school Thursday and another demonstration is planned for a rural hospital this weekend.

Stefanson said people have the right to peaceful protests in the country but there needs to be a balance.

CP - The Canadian Press