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Are new orders helping to enforce restrictions in Alberta too little too late?

Last Updated May 10, 2021 at 8:40 pm MDT

CALGARY (CityNews) — Now 14 months into the pandemic – police in Alberta are enforcing public health measures, making arrests, and shutting down protests of those blatantly breaking the laws — but why now?

Criminologist at Mount Royal University, Kelly Sundberg, says Alberta’s UCP government has a large portion of members who oppose restrictions and have even ignored rules themselves.

And the delay may have a negative effect.

READ MORE: Alberta identifies 1,597 new COVID-19 cases, positivity rate of 11.4%

“It’s too little too late, they need to stand up and show good leadership. They need to lead by example, and they haven’t done that,” said Sundberg.

The RCMP making arrests at a protest in Mirror, Alberta on Sunday.

A day earlier, two church leaders who held gatherings and lead anti-restriction protests for months were arrested by Calgary police.

Kurt Phillips with the anti-hate network says these people, who are leading rallies that often welcome white nationalist beliefs, may use the arrests to their advantage

RELATED: Calgary police arrest Pawlowski brothers for ‘illegal in-person gathering’

“He actually says ‘is the camera rolling, is it rolling?’ They were ready for this, they were ready to create some drama cause they know it will gain more support from their supporters,” said Phillips.

That’s why Phillips says not giving these people too much publicity, or name recognition is important. But ultimately, he says the government tried to balance a voter base and the public health crisis for too long.

“A lot of them are people who voted for the government, not all, but many of them voted for this government, they are sort of the base of the UCP and I don’t think the government wanted to be in a position where they had to police their base.”