The same day a 21-year-old man was threatened by police with a Taser for non-compliance on an outdoor skating rink, the City of Calgary vowed to step up its enforcement of bylaws and public health orders.
In an update released on Thursday, the city announced that 40 tickets had been issued for failure to wear a face covering since the temporary bylaw was enacted on August 1. Eight of those tickets, 20 per cent, had been issued within the week before the announcement was made.
Just hours after the release to the public from the City of Calgary, officers were at an outdoor rink breaking up a game of pickup hockey before arresting Ocean Wiesblatt.
A further 25 tickets were issued under the Public Health Act since a local state of emergency was declared in Calgary on November 25, with almost half of those tickets issued since December 9. Among those charged included churches and protesters demonstrating against the lockdown efforts.
Calgary has formed a Public Health Compliance Team, created with the intent to “monitor compliance, address concerns and support measures,” according to the press release. The team's tasks will include conducting weekly inspections of non-essential businesses.
“The vast majority of businesses are adhering to the Public Health Act,” Ryan Pleckaitis, the chief bylaw officer for Calgary Community Standards said.
“We have heard some concerns about overcrowding in larger retail facilities, such as shopping malls and want to reassure Calgarians that we review all concerns in a timely manner, and will continue to respond to capacity issues heard via 311.”
The statement would seem to contradict a previous claim made by Alberta's Justice Minister Kaycee Madu, who discouraged the idea of a snitch line for COVID rule breakers.
“Albertans will not snitch on one another. That is not who we are,” Madu told Rebel News' Keean Bexte in response to comments made by Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi on November 27.
For those who live in Calgary, questions, concerns or complaints can be reported to Alberta Health Services online or by calling 1-833-415-9179.