RCMP promise 'action' on anti-mask protesters in Moncton

·2 min read

Codiac Regional RCMP say the force will take some kind of action regarding anti-mask protesters in Moncton who violate the province's emergency measures order.

Supt. Tom Critchlow, the commanding officer of Codiac RCMP, told Moncton councillors Monday police would act this week. He didn't offer specifics.

"This group obviously wants some type of showdown," Critchlow said.

"There's methods in how we deal with that. Rest assured, I will deal with that. We will deal with [it]. At this point, because of the current state that the province is morphing into, we will take action."

His comments followed questions last week and by councillors Monday about what the force is doing regarding the protesters who appear to flout rules meant to limit the spread of COVID-19.

A board member of the Codiac Regional Policing Authority, which oversees the force that polices Moncton, Dieppe and Riverview, last week questioned why tickets weren't handed out to those defying the rules.

RCMP officers observed the protests held on weekends outside Moncton city hall.

Under the orange recovery phase, outdoor gatherings are limited to 25 people and masks are required outside when physical distancing can't be maintained.

Critchlow told the police authority that the force is taking a "measured" approach, observing the protesters and trying to educate them about the rules.

His comments Monday suggested a change in approach.

Shane Magee/CBC
Shane Magee/CBC

Moncton deputy mayor Shawn Crossman said he understands people have a right to protest, but said he's anxious to see COVID-19 rules enforced.

"It's really frustrating," Crossman said of those violating rules.

Coun. Paulette Thériault also said she's not impressed by the protests.

She said more than two million deaths worldwide have been linked to COVID-19.

"To say that we shouldn't be concerned is beyond my comprehension," Thériault said.

"I don't think we can ever educate these people because I don't think they really want to hear what the realities are out there."

"But if we can find solutions so that at least we can protect our citizens, I think this is extremely important."