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Truck protest shuts down access to key Canada-U.S. border crossing in Alberta

A major border crossing in Coutts, Alta. is snarled with traffic because of truck drivers taking part in a nationwide protest against vaccine mandates and COVID-19 rules and Premier Jason Kenney says it is against the law.

511 Alberta reported Sunday morning that the southbound lanes of Highway 4 at Highway 501 are closed because of heavy traffic.

The closure affects the route all the way to the U.S. border, officials said.

The Alberta RCMP also issued its own advisory about the problem, informing drivers about the closure and requesting them to stay away for the time being.

"Traffic is not moving in either the northbound or southbound direction," RCMP said on Twitter.

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) says the border crossing itself is still open, but travellers heading there "should expect extensive delays" on Sunday.

"Travellers are advised to use other ports of entry and consult the Directory of CBSA Offices and Services to confirm hours of service before they head out," the CBSA said in a statement. "The CBSA thanks travellers for their cooperation and patience."

While traffic is the main issue, many drivers who are already at the border, trying to get through, are stuck where they are.

On social media, people are sharing their concerns about the action, which many of them are calling a "blockade."

Others were both critical and very supportive of some individuals who attended the protest, such as UCP MLA Grant Hunter, who represents the riding of Taber-Warner.

Hunter posted details of the event on his Facebook page, saying he did so to illustrate to his grandchildren "the importance of standing up for freedom and liberty."

Meanwhile, others are also concerned about the impediment to essential services trying to navigate the area.


Premier Jason Kenney denounced the actions of those individuals involved in the protest near Coutts, saying they were in violation of provincial laws.

"It is causing significant inconvenience for lawful motorists and could dangerously impede movement of emergency service vehicles," he wrote on Twitter.

He also reiterated statements he made last week about all Canadians having a "democratic right to engage in lawful protests", but drew the line at creating hazards for others.

While he mentioned the Alberta Traffic Safety Act by name, he said his government's Critical Infrastructure Defence Act provides "additional penalties" for police and prosecutors to address blockades.

The Critical Infrastructure Defence Act was created to address situations where protesters impair critical economic infrastructure.

Punishments include a minimum fine of $1,000 and a maximum of $25,000, plus up to six months in jail for individuals and and a minimum fine of $10,000 and a maximum of $200,000 for corporations.

Kenney said he will continue to leave it up to police and border agents to make enforcement decisions.


Rachel Notley, leader of the Alberta NDP, said Sunday her party "unequivocally condemns" the blockade at the border as well as the symbols of hate and vandalism at other similar protests this weekend.

In a statement, she said the traffic disruption on Highway 4 is particularly troubling considering how it will affect shipping.

"The blockade of emergency vehicles to Albertans in need, and the disruption in the flow of vital goods through our major transportation corridor, is both dangerous and disgraceful. It puts lives at risk, hurts our economy, and hurts families. To put it bluntly, a small group first claiming to be concerned about the possibility of grocery shortages have now most assuredly caused them," she wrote.

It's not known when the highway will be cleared for travel. Top Stories


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