Source: Facebook

People upset with the federal carbon tax should feel free to protest – but don’t block traffic.

That was the message from Alberta Premier Danielle Smith, who said she doesn’t support carbon tax protesters stopping the flow of traffic or the movement of goods. 

Her comments come as demonstrators outside Calgary have been protesting the federal government’s carbon tax — which increased again Monday — for two days. 

Smith asked protesters to comply with the provincial Critical Infrastructure Act, which seeks to protect essential infrastructure from interference caused by blockades or protests. 

“I don’t support it when Extinction Rebellion glues themselves to the street and stops traffic, and I don’t support anyone stopping traffic as well,” Smith said at an unrelated press conference on Tuesday. 

“You can protest — do it at the side of the road. Don’t interfere with the movement of goods, don’t interfere with the movement of your neighbors.”

Protesters on Highway 1 heading west from Calgary to Banff used traffic pylons to block one lane and slow traffic on Monday. By Tuesday morning, a large police presence arrived and prevented protesters from crossing a police line near the highway. 

One woman told True North she was protesting because people are having difficulty paying for food, rent, and mortgages. 

“We’re being taxed again and more and more people are falling behind,” she said.

Event organizers at various locations told True North that people are prepared to stay for weeks in hopes of swaying Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to remove his costly tax. 

“We’re going to be camping out. There’s no departure date, let’s put it that way,” organizer Elliot McDavid told True North at the Calgary protest on Monday. 

The tax rose to 17 cents per litre of gasoline, 21 cents per litre of diesel and 15 cents per cubic metre of natural gas on Monday, Apr. 1. 

Smith has long asked the federal government to scrap the carbon tax and she reiterated those calls on Tuesday, saying the tax is “punishing people.” 

“The carbon tax has been tried,” she said. “It failed. It’s punitive. People don’t like it, especially in the middle of an affordability crisis. It’s gotta go.”