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'We cannot accept blockades': Goertzen warns convoy participants in Manitoba


Manitoba's justice minister issued a strong warning to people participating in a convoy in the province this weekend.

Speaking at a news conference Friday morning, Kelvin Goertzen noted that this year is a much different time than last year when multiple vehicles parked outside of the Manitoba Legislature and near the Emerson border crossing in protest of government COVID-19 mandates and vaccine mandates.

"We cannot accept blockades in cities; we cannot see disruptions of people's lives in that way," he said. "People have the right to protest, whatever it is that they're protesting, and we see protests at the Manitoba Legislature all the time for a variety of different reasons, that is part of a democratic society."

"But that right doesn't extend to disrupting the lives of others through blockades and other things that disrupt their lives."

The announcement comes as the World Unity Convoy has started setup at a space south of Dugald, Man. for events over the weekend.

Law enforcement said that they are monitoring the events.

"Officers with the Manitoba RCMP's Division Liaison Team continue to be in regular contact with organizers to ensure a safe environment for the general public, all who may be travelling on highways or roadways in Manitoba during the event, and those attending the event," the Manitoba RCMP wrote in a statement.

"The Winnipeg Police Service is prepared should there be any events that take place within the City of Winnipeg," police said in a prepared statement. "The WPS remains focused on maintaining public safety during any event which can take place in the city."

Ron Clark, a freedom advocate in attendance for the convoy, said organizers are expecting a few thousand people in attendance, many of whom travelled from across Canada.

“The World Unity Convoy, it’s about bringing people together,” Clark said. “We’re so divided amongst this country, it’s time to bring people back together in unity and come up with plans moving forward how we’re going to deal with our corrupt government.”

Clark confirmed that organizers had been in contact with RCMP and police in the weeks leading up to the event. He added the organizers and attendees chose to hold the event on private property, rather than in public.

“We don’t want to go inside the city,” he said. “We’re not trying to shut down a city and cause any disruption to the people that live in the city, so bringing it out on private property, that was one of the main things to just keep the traffic out of the town.”

 The truck convoy outside the Manitoba Legislature in February 2022 took over the area of Broadway and Memorial Boulevard.

Semi-trucks and tractors could be seen and horns were going off at all hours of the day. The convoy stayed in Winnipeg until Feb. 23 and left after police warned protesters of arrests and charges if they didn't clear the road.

The Manitoba protests were offshoots of the ones in downtown Ottawa, which prompted the federal government to invoke the Emergency Act to remove protesters from the area.

The Public Order Emergency Commission announced on Friday that the federal government met the threshold to invoke the Emergency Act.


-With files from CTV's Devon McKendick and Rachel Aiello. Top Stories

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