The latest positive signs came when Saskatchewan and Alberta providences in Canada announced Tuesday that they are both dropping mask mandates and vaccine passports and lifting other COVID restrictions, as Omicron numbers continue to drop.
And as the wall of restrictions is beginning to crumble, so too is the lockstep law enforcement efforts against the freedom truckers and their supporters.
A top-ranking Ottawa Police staff sergeant has resigned his position, likely over a disagreement with the city’s policing philosophy towards the Freedom Convoy, reported the National Telegraph.
A source inside the police department told the Telegraph that there have also been unusually high rates of officers taking stress leave, vacation days, and sick days, seen by many as an indicator that front-line officers are not happy with the directions they are receiving from their political leaders.
In Alberta, the growing anti-mandate message from the public and improving virus numbers from hospitals have served as dual wake-ups to the government.
“It is clear that we passed the peak of our current infections about three weeks ago and are now seeing the result as COVID-related hospital admissions are declining,” Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said, according to CBC Radio-Canada.
“It has always been the government’s approach to keep public health measures in place only so long as they are absolutely necessary to protect public health and our health-care system throughout the pandemic,” Kenney said.
Alberta’s version of a vaccine passport was first to be scuttled. Starting Wednesday, capacity limits will be removed for smaller venues, including libraries and places of worship with a capacity of less than 500. Food and beverage consumption will be allowed in venues where audiences are seated.
Over the weekend, nearly all restrictions for children, including mask mandates in schools K-12, will be lifted. Kids aged 12 and under also won’t have to abide by the general mask mandate, though the general mandate will still apply for everyone else.
Larger venues will still have some limits: facilities with a capacity of 500 to 1,000 will continue to be limited to 500, while those with capacity for 1,000-plus people will be limited to 50 per cent, according to CBC.
Those restrictions will be dropped following an expected continued decrease in hospitalizations, with the goal to have nearly all mandates lifted by March 1.
“The threat of COVID-19 to public health no longer outweighs the hugely damaging impact of health restrictions on our society, on people’s mental health, on their emotional wellbeing, on our broader social health,” Kenney said.
“So now is the time to begin learning to live with COVID.”
The Alberta premier made clear the impact that the Freedom Convoy and its supporters have produced, and he blasted Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s vaccine mandate for Canadian truckers.
“If the Canada-USA trucker vaccine mandate wasn’t bad enough, now Justin Trudeau wants to bring in a mandate for truckers going between provinces,” Kenney tweeted.
“Alberta will fight this every step of the way – including in court, if we have to.”
If the Canada-USA trucker vaccine mandate wasn’t bad enough, now Justin Trudeau wants to bring in a mandate for truckers going between provinces.
Alberta will fight this every step of the way – including in court, if we have to.
? WATCH: ⬇ pic.twitter.com/YvUTSgAj1t
— Jason Kenney (@jkenney) February 8, 2022
In Saskatchewan, Premier Scott Moe said the provincial government’s vaccine passport policy will end Feb. 14, with businesses, workplaces and other public venues no longer forced to require proof of vaccination or a negative test.
Other current public health orders, including a requirement to mask in indoor public spaces and a requirement to self isolate after contracting COVID-19, will remain in effect until the latest public health order expires at the end of February, the CBC reported. Those orders will not be renewed.
“We want things to be as normal as they possibly can,” Moe said.