Starting today, the RCMP will be throwing up the roadblocks. They’ve announced the following:
Highway 1 in the Boston Bar area
Highway 3 in the Manning Park area
Highway 5 in the Old Toll Booth area
Highway 99 in the Lillooet area
In reading their press release from yesterday, here are my thoughts…
The only one of those that’s remotely relevant to people in the lower mainland would be the last one… and that’s only if you decide to not only boot it up to Whistler… but decide to continue the road-trip up, past Pemberton… and in doing so, I guess eventually you’ll run into the cops, who’ll ask you… what are you doing here?
And it’s a good question… what *are* you doing here? That’s clearly the sort of travel they’re trying to discourage.
That being said… I’m not a lawyer, and I’m happy to hear them chime in on this… but my opinion is that none of this is actually ok… to the extent that, if challenged, it’d be swiftly thrown out of court.
Ostensibly, drivers can be fined $600 if their travel is deemed to be outside the bounds of “essential”… but by who and how that’s to be determined is a big question mark. While the police can pull you over and check for a valid DL and insurance, it’s generally none of their business where you’re going or why you’re going or anything else… and without probable cause, demanding answers about it is arguably infringing on your Charter rights. Another fundamental right you have when being questioned by the cops is a very straightforward one, especially when it has the potential to incriminate you: You have the right to remain silent.
I think it’s important to understand the bigger-picture intent of all of this, because from that point of view, it works quite well.
When the cops tell you that there will be a DUI checkpoint on all major roads in and out of downtown this Saturday night, it’s 100% supposed to be a deterrent. They don’t want to be cleaning up horrible car accidents. They’d prefer it if there were no accidents to begin with.
When they want to collect some speeding-ticket revenue, they quietly and stealthily set up shop on the side of the road. If they really wanted people to not be speeding, it’d be just as effective to announce it very loudly – speed traps will be set at the following locations during the following times… and when they realize how effective that is, they’d set up cardboard cut-outs with cops holding up radar/laser guns. Cheap and effective, and that’s what happens on highways where actual dangerous speeding takes place; they don’t want to deal with serious accidents, so they find ways to deter them.
But in this case, the truth is… the cops don’t want to set-up travel roadblocks. They don’t want any part of this, but are being mandated to do so… because the bigger picture, for the moment, requires it.
What they really want… and which is what the PHO also wants… is for this virus to go away, and one step in doing so is to prevent the spread from region to region. They can threaten to throw the law at it, but this is Canada… and as much as some people scream about it, our rights aren’t actually being trampled.
In a perfect world, none of these threats would even need to be made; we could just rely on everyone’s good, common sense. Unfortunately, as we’ve learned over the course of a year… common sense is not so common.