Mounties in Alberta say they’re keeping traffic moving on the Trans-Canada Highway despite a roadside carbon-levy protest, and say five large farm tractors have already caused a multi-vehicle crash.

Protesters slowed traffic on the Trans-Canada just west of Calgary on Monday to protest the scheduled hike in the federal carbon levy, which boosted gas prices at the pumps by about three cents a litre.

That protest has continued but police say traffic is moving as demonstrators are being kept off to the side of the road.

Police say another carbon-levy protest further south in the Crowsnest Pass on Monday led to a multi-vehicle crash after five large farm tractors refused to stop for police.

The investigation into that pileup continues.

In Calgary Tuesday, Premier Danielle Smith urged all protesters to keep the demonstrations legal.

"I don't support it when Extinction Rebellion glues themselves to the street and stops traffic, and I don't support anyone (else) stopping traffic as well," Smith said.

"You can protest (but) do it at the side of the road.

"Don't interfere with the movement of goods. Don't interfere with the movement of your neighbours."

Police investigate multi-tractor crash as carbon-levy #protests continue in #Alberta. #CarbonPrice #CarbonLevyProtest

The province has in place the Critical Infrastructure Defence Act, which provides added penalties for those who tie up key infrastructure and transportation corridors.

Smith said she will leave it up to police to decide when and if to use the defence act.

Police, in a news release, said safety is paramount.

"We do not take enforcement action lightly, but the safety of motorists, protesters and a travellers' right to use a public highway must be maintained," Alberta RCMP said in a news release Tuesday.

"It is extremely unsafe to stand or impede traffic on a public roadway.

"The RCMP have advised the protesters (at Cochrane, west of Calgary) that we will be in location to ensure they remain off the highway and do not impede the flow of traffic along an extremely busy corridor."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 2, 2024.

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