WINNIPEG — Winnipeg streets could soon be deserted in the evenings if the province imposes a curfew.
No decision has been made as yet, but on Tuesday, Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister said if it does happen police will be asked to step up.
“We need public buy in to make it work,” said Pallister. “You know, (Police Chief) Danny Smyth and his guys have a lot to do. And we’re asking for their help in this. Obviously we’ll need the Winnipeg Police in particular, the RCMP potentially in the capital region to assist depending on the design of our curfew.”
The Winnipeg Police Service tells CTV News it would be premature to comment at this time.
In a statement, the RCMP writes “it will continue to enforce all current, and any new, public health orders enacted by the province to help reduce and stop the spread of covid-19 in our communities. As the RCMP has officers and employees throughout the province, we are able to reallocate resources to manage shifting priorities. The policing environment, like any other environment during these extraordinary times, is certainly facing challenges, but we are well-positioned to meet the demands placed on us.”
Based on questions being asked on the Province’s Engage MB website, the curfew could take effect as early as 10 p.m. And that’s raising some questions in the business community as it heads into the critical Christmas shopping season.
“If it’s a time based curfew, and its 10 o’clock, is there for lack of a better word, a window of forgiveness,” questioned Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce president Loren Remillard. “That would allow someone to close their business at 10, and so long as that employee is going directly from place of work to their home, they’re fine to be out and about.”
Siloam Mission is also concerned about people who don’t have a home. It says there are some homeless people who, for a variety of reasons, are on the streets all night long, and it doesn’t want these people targeted for curfew enforcement.
“From our perspective we would hope that curfew is meant for people who have the choice to go home,” said Luke Thiessen with Siloam Mission. “And the enforcement is directed at people who have the choice.”
Pallister says questions such as these will worked through during the public engagement process.
“I want to ensure that we’re not unduly restricting or hurting anybody in their freedom who is responsible and behaving responsibly,” he said.
A survey on Manitoban’s reactions to the curfew is now online.
A telephone town hall on the proposed curfew will take place Thursday evening. People can register online here.
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