RCMP Constable Etsell speaks to tourists leaving the area at a police roadblock on Westside Road south of Fintry, B.C., Thursday, July 23, 2009. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Yvonne Berg

RCMP Constable Etsell speaks to tourists leaving the area at a police roadblock on Westside Road south of Fintry, B.C., Thursday, July 23, 2009. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Yvonne Berg

B.C. police say they take ‘exception’ to conducting roadblocks limiting travel

Asking the police to enforce roadblocks exposes officers to further risk and possible COVID-19 infections, says federation president Brian Sauve

British Columbia’s solicitor general says the government will release details of what is considered essential travel this week as the province looks at using roadblocks to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Mike Farnworth described the checkpoints as a type of “counterattack,” often used to find drunk drivers, but this time meant to discourage recreational travel outside of a person’s health authority.

A “full and comprehensive” list on what is considered essential travel will be released later this week, Farnworth said at a news conference Wednesday.

His comments come as the National Police Federation released a statement saying it has “grave concerns” about police taking part in enforcing a COVID-19 ban on non-essential travel.

A statement from Brian Sauve, president of the federation, said asking the police to enforce roadblocks puts even greater pressure on limited resources and exposes officers to further risk and possible COVID-19 infections.

“Equally important, we are continuing to enhance and build on our relationships with vulnerable and racialized communities, and the ambiguity and potentially negative impacts of these orders risk reversing this progress,” he said.

He also pointed to a similar attempt in Ontario where the province had to pedal back enforcement measures.

Officers were originally given powers to stop any pedestrian or driver to ask why they’re out or request their home address.

But on Sunday, Doug Ford’s government limited police to being able to stop people who they had reason to believe were participating in an “organized public event or social gathering.”

Police forces in Ontario had said they had no intention of exercising their new powers ahead of the reversal.

Sauve noted that police services took the “unusual step” of rejecting the orders.

“They explained in no uncertain terms that Ontario police officers had no appetite to act on enhanced powers that are typically found in police states, and that doing so would erode a currently fragile public trust, especially with vulnerable and racialized communities,” he said.

British Columbia reported 862 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday and seven more deaths, for a total of 1,546 fatalities since the pandemic started.

A joint statement from the health minister and provincial health officer said more than 1.4 million doses of the vaccine have been administered.

Those in B.C. who are now 30 years and older are eligible to register for the vaccine in the age-based vaccination program.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 21, 2021.

RELATED: ‘Very scary’: B.C. travel rules too vague, shouldn’t involve police, civil liberties group says

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Police

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Dan Joseph shared a sunset picture looking out over the Fraser River. What does the sunset look like for you today (Mother’s Day). (Special to The News)
SHARE: What does the sunset look like for you tonight?

Send us your photo showing how you view Maple Ridge or Pitt Meadows, and it could be featured soon

Hikaru Ozduman won Outstanding Effort at the 33rd annual British Columbia Japanese Speech Contest. (SD42/Special to The News)
Maple Ridge student earns award for speech – in Japanese

The 33rd annual British Columbia Japanese Speech Contest was held virtually in March

Have an opinion you’d like to share? Submit letters to the editor through our website, via email or the postal service. (Heather Colpitts/Black Press Media)
LETTER: Maple Ridge man suggests those who flout COVID rules forego taxpayer health-care

People following rules to help end pandemic frustrated by those who don’t, letter writer says

Ken Nunes is one of hundreds who venture out onto Alouette Lake in Golden Ears Provincial Park when the sun comes out. “Here’s how I see Maple Ridge,” he said. (Special to The News)
SHARE: Nice weather draws people to the water

Send us your photo showing how you view Maple Ridge or Pitt Meadows, and it could be featured soon

Police tape is shown in Toronto Tuesday, May 2, 2017. Statistics Canada says the country's crime rate ticked up again in 2018, for a fourth year in a row, though it was still lower than it was a decade ago. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
CRIME STOPPERS: ‘Most wanted’ for the week of May 9

Crime Stoppers’ weekly list based on information provided by police investigators

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

RCMP are looking for information on an alleged shooting attempt near an elementary school in Smithers March 10. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News/Stock)
UPDATE: Man killed in brazen daylight shooting at Vancouver airport

Details about the police incident are still unknown

Pieces of nephrite jade are shown at a mine site in northwestern B.C. in July 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Tahltan Central Government MANDATORY CREDIT
Indigenous nation opposes jade mining in northwestern B.C.

B.C.’s Mines Act requires operators to prepare a plan to protect cultural heritage resources

Vancouver Giants celebrated a Justin Sourdif goal Saturday night in Kamloops. Giants dropped a 3-1 decision to Kamloops, a game that clinched the 2020-21 B.C. Division banner for the Blazers. (Allen Douglas/special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Vancouver Giants drop 3-1 decision to Kamloops

Third-period rally should have come sooner, said coach of Langley-based team

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Police tape is shown in Toronto Tuesday, May 2, 2017. Statistics Canada says the country’s crime rate ticked up again in 2018, for a fourth year in a row, though it was still lower than it was a decade ago. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
IHIT investigating after man killed in Burnaby shooting

Police looking for more information on fatal shooting

After Bobby Henderson apologized online for his comments to a Toronto reporter, the Langley Rivermen announced that he was no longer team coach and general manager and in fact, had ‘parted ways’ with the franchise in March. (file/Twitter)
Former Langley Rivermen coach and GM apologizes for comments to Toronto reporter

Bobby Henderson blames stress due to the pandemic for his ‘disparaging’ remarks

The body of Brenda Ware, 35, was found along Highway 93 in Kootenay National Park on Thursday, May 6, 2021. (RCMP handout)
RCMP ask for tips after woman’s body found in Kootenay National Park

Brenda Ware was found along Highway 93 in the park, 54 kilometres north of the town of Radium

Most Read