Saskatchewan premier calls on Ottawa to lift all COVID-19 mandates
Compliance & Enforcement Legislation COVID-19 saskatchewan
By Mickey Djuric
REGINA — Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe is urging the federal government to follow up revoking the Emergencies Act by lifting all COVID-19 mandates.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Wednesday the law is no longer necessary because protests that included blockades at some border crossings and the occupation in downtown Ottawa are no longer considered an emergency.
He said the federal government is confident existing laws and bylaws are sufficient to keep people safe.
Moe said revoking the act is the right thing to do, “because it should not have been invoked in the first place.”
He said law enforcement agencies already had all the tools they needed to stop the protests against mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations and other public health measures.
Moe said the federal government should now end all COVID-19 mandates and restrictions.
“It is past time for the Trudeau government to detail a return to normal for all Canadians,” Moe said Wednesday.
Saskatchewan’s public health orders are to end on Feb. 28, including its indoor mask mandate and the requirement to self-isolate if positive for the virus. A vaccine passport that allowed only the immunized to enter many venues was lifted on Feb. 14.
Saskatchewan’s NDP Opposition has also spoken out against the use of the Emergencies Act.
On Wednesday, deputy party leader Nicole Sarauer said the act should not have been invoked in Saskatchewan, referencing a section that allows the law to be applied to just a particular region in Canada.
“Here in Saskatchewan, we do not see the illegalities other provinces have dealt with,” Sarauer said in reference to recent demonstrations.
Some protesters attempted to occupy the grounds of the Saskatchewan legislature in early February, but the demonstration disbanded within two days after one vehicle was towed by Regina police. No arrests were made but 32 traffic and parking tickets were issued.
The Regina Police Service called it “peaceful in nature.”
Others have demonstrated on private property near two Saskatchewan-North Dakota border crossings, but none of those protests led to blockades.
“Here in Saskatchewan, our law enforcement clearly had the tools needed to address illegal actions that stemmed from this protest and as such, we did not support its usage in Saskatchewan,” Sarauer said.
While the NDP and the Saskatchewan Party government both oppose the act’s use, Sarauer said she does not support the premier’s messaging.
“People are tired of the rhetoric, and they’re tired of the partisanship, and it was remarkable to see the premier double down on the same divisive messages today. Saskatchewan people deserve so much better,” she said.
Earlier this week, Moe said Saskatchewan is considering a legal challenge of the federal government’s decision to invoke the Emergencies Act.
On Wednesday, Justice Minister Gord Wyant said the province continues to evaluate its legal options and expects to make a decision in the coming days.
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has said his United Conservative Party government will file a court challenge of the federal government’s use of the act. On Wednesday, he took to Twitter to announce that plan remains in place despite Trudeau’s decision to revoke it.