“The safety of everyone involved in our City is paramount. But at the same time, the freedom of the country, the freedoms that have been established in this country are also paramount.”
With the Federal government employing its powers under the Emergencies Act in the face of ongoing COVID mandate protests around the country, Mayor Gerald Aalbers is sharing his thoughts on this development. Several Lloydminster residents have journeyed from this region to be in Ottawa.
Aalbers has concern for the optics that people leave in Ottawa.
“I hope that the image you have left for truck drivers that have their names on the doors and where they are from, be it Lloydminster Saskatchewan, Lloydminster Alberta or surrounding area, would respect the individual rights that are there and hopefully not stain our communities by their actions from that perspective.”
Aalbers noted some of the images that he has seen from the nation’s capital.
“I have seen pictures of people cleaning up the streets of Ottawa, gathering up garbage, feeding the homeless. Things like that. There’s also other pictures that are out there as well. It’s really about the image that I hope people leave and realize that those names on those doors, companies and communities will leave some sort of message with people in Ottawa, Coutts and wherever else they may be.”
Aalbers sees the challenges faced with invoking the Emergencies Act given the balance of freedom of expression and the need for safety.
“People are expressing themselves with the freedom of expression but at the same token infringing potentially on the rights of others. It’s a very difficult decision. I can’t imagine what the prime minister weighted on that side. I would hope that after seeing the pictures that I have seen at various media events that the concrete barriers will be removed so that trucks could actually physically move. Because when you place concrete barriers in front of people, you do create a blockade. That’s no different. So what went from a convoy, became a blockade.”
Aalbers is hoping that all parties reach a peaceful and amiable solution. He encourages the federal politicians to open a dialogue of understanding.