Police stop carbon tax protesters from interfering with traffic

RCMP informed protesters they will be on scene to ensure they stay off the road and do not impede the flow of traffic.

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Police on Tuesday prevented federal carbon tax protesters from disrupting traffic on the Trans-Canada Highway, citing safety concerns.

In a news release, the RCMP said its impartial role in the protest is to ensure the public’s right to a safe environment, while protecting protesters’ rights to a safe, peaceful and lawful demonstration.

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“We do not take enforcement actions lightly, but the safety of motorists, protesters and the right of travelers to use a public road must be maintained. “It is extremely unsafe to stop or impede traffic on a public road,” the RCMP said.

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A day earlier, a lane of the highway west of Calgary, near the intersection with Highway 22, was cordoned off with pylons to accommodate protesters.

Several RCMP vehicles, both marked and unmarked, were observed in the vicinity of the protests on Tuesday.

RCMP informed protesters they will be on scene to ensure they stay off the road and do not impede the flow of traffic.

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Frank, a protester who declined to share his last name, said he and his wife have been at the protest since it began Monday morning. They arrived Tuesday to find a dozen officers standing on the shoulder of the Trans-Canada Highway, preventing protesters from entering the road.

Frank said not being able to tour has affected his message. “At least last night we got some publicity, so more and more people know what we’re doing here.”

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Five large farm tractors caused a multi-vehicle collision on the way to an approved protest site in the Crowsnest Pass region Monday afternoon, which RCMP say serves as a reminder that protesting on a public road is not sure.

Arja Theune has been protesting, among many others, since Monday morning. He said protesters don’t need to block the highway.

“They (RCMP) are doing a wonderful job of slowing down traffic, a wonderful job of drawing attention to us,” Theune said.

He said it has been a peaceful protest and RCMP officers have generally been friendly.

Organizers say protests will continue until federal carbon tax is rescinded

One of several protests that began across the country on Monday in response to the federal carbon tax rate increase, organizers say the plan will continue until the tax is rescinded.

alberta Critical Infrastructure Defense Act Protects essential infrastructure, such as provincial roads, from damage or interference caused by blockades or protests.

The RCMP did not immediately respond to questions about why protesters were allowed to travel on the Trans-Canada Highway on Monday, but not on Tuesday.

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Calgary drivers experienced a spike in fuel prices last week, ahead of the federal carbon tax increase and a simultaneous increase in the provincial fuel tax.

The federal tax increased from $65 per ton of emissions to $80, equivalent to an increase of 3.3 cents per liter at the pump. The costs of other fuels such as diesel, propane and natural gas have also increased.

The provincial gasoline tax was reset to nine cents per liter in January and was subsequently raised to 13 cents per liter on Monday.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says critics are ignoring the quarterly rebate checks families receive: $225 for a single person, $337.50 for a couple and $450 for a family of four in Alberta.

The next federal refunds are due April 15.

With files from Laurice Gomes, Matt Scace and The Canadian Press

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