Rule prohibiting specific activities on overly vague legislative grounds, critics say

New provincial regulations prohibit specific activities on the legislative grounds and surrounding precincts, including parking a vehicle that interferes with normal traffic or blocks access to the building – but critics of the new rule say it is too vague.

Living next door to the Manitoba Legislative Assembly, Madeline Rae experienced firsthand the February truck convoy.

“Train honk at night and every hour on the hour,” Rae said. “I had to put on headphones to rest in my apartment.”

She appreciates the right to demonstrate but feels that the convoy should not have been allowed to occupy the area.

“As far as horns and vehicles and blocking traffic like that during this time, absolutely not.”

Under the new rules, an exemption is permitted and the legislature’s security chief can grant one with conditions. The exemption could be granted to encampments similar to the one on the east side of the Legislature which has been in place for a year.

A member of the camp, who did not want to do an interview, told CTV News they were here until all the children were picked up from boarding schools and had no intention of leaving despite the new rules. .

Manitoba Liberal Leader Dougald Lamont says the loophole is too vague and the province needs to clarify it to ensure the rules aren’t applied in a discriminatory way.

“They need to thread the needle on it to make sure people are protected, but it’s fair to know who is allowed to do what, because right now it’s not clear enough,” Lamont said. .

There is also a rule prohibiting property damage. This comes after the toppling of the statues of Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth on Canada Day in 2021.

The new regulations also prohibit the deposit of tents, portable shelters, generators, portable toilets, trailers and firewood for occupancy purposes. Fires are also prohibited.

In a statement, a spokesperson for the Manitoba NDP caucus also called for better understanding.

“The government must be transparent and fair about how it plans to welcome all Manitobans and ensure their safety on the grounds of the Legislative Assembly,” the statement said.

In a statement, a justice spokesperson for the province says the new regulations balance the right to legally protest while ensuring the safety of those who work and live here.

“As with all illegal activity, it will be up to law enforcement officials, at their discretion, to enforce these laws, including those that occur for legislative reasons,” the spokesperson said.

Rae would also like the rules to be clarified. She says the camp has been peaceful and should be allowed.

“I think we have to protect the rights of the indigenous people who are camping on this government land because I believe it belongs to them,” Rae said.

According to the rules, it is also forbidden to shoot fireworks on the field. Violators can be evicted from the premises and fined up to $5,000.

Sally J. Minick