Alex Ruff, Member of Parliament for Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound issued the following statement on the need for the blockades to end:
“I’ve been receiving lots of phone calls and emails from constituents expressing a variety of opinions and divided views with respect to the ongoing protests and blockades.
Based on these conversations, it is clear not everyone had seen or heard my public statement made on January 27th , when I reiterated my full support of ‘peaceful protests in Canada regardless of where it is on the political spectrum’. However, I emphasized then, and still do today: “Don’t break the law. If people are starting to break the law, then they should [expect possible legal repercussions]. I believe in the rule of law, I believe in our law enforcement, and I fully expect anybody who is associated with any protest in Canada will follow the law.”
“During emergency debate on February 7 th , the Hon. Michael Chong captured very eloquently Canadians rights,
“All Canadians have the fundamental freedoms of conscience and religion, free speech and expression, association, and peaceful assembly. The freedom to protest in the public square, whether on a sidewalk, in front of a legislature or in a public park, is a fundamental freedom. If Canadians want to, individually or in groups, protest by walking up and down Wellington Street or by standing around the centennial flame in front of Parliament, they are free to do so. Millions of Canadians over many decades have exercised this fundamental freedom, but what Canadians do not have the right to do is to blockade. There is no right to blockade. There is no right to blockade a street. There is no right to block a highway. There is no right to blockade an international border crossing. There is no right to blockade the construction of a new pipeline, nor is there a right to blockade a rail line. There is simply no right to blockade.”
“My Conservative colleagues and I put forward the following motion:
“That, given that provinces are lifting COVID-19 restrictions and that Dr. Theresa Tam has said that all existing public health measures need to be “re-evaluated” so that we can “get back to some normalcy”, the House call on the government to table a plan for the lifting of all federal mandates and restrictions, and to table that plan by February 28, 2022.”
“Throughout the debate Conservative MPs emphasized we support the right to peaceful protest; however, there must be no violence, and those who have put up barricades must take them down. They are hurting families, businesses, and jobs.
“As per my earlier public statements, and as Liberal MP Joël Lightbound revealed this week, since last summer, the Prime Minister’s strategy has been to deliberately wedge, stigmatize, and divide Canadians. It is this strategy that has led us to the polarized and confrontational atmosphere surrounding these issues today. The Prime Minister must act now, and work to resolve this situation.”
“Finally, I’ll repeat what I said in the House of Commons on Friday, February 4th, when I asked all Canadians ‘to respect each other. The pandemic has been hard on everyone. Let’s treat each other as we expect to be treated ourselves.”