PORTAL — According to the North Portal, Saskatchewan Village Council, a planned protest is set to take place beginning Friday involving up to 80 semi-trailers and as many as 120 passenger vehicles.
The protest is expected to take place on Provincial Highway 39 as it enters North Portal, much like the situation on Manitoba Provincial Highway 75 at Emerson. North Portal is where Provincial 39 meets U.S. Highway 52 on the North Dakota side.
Provincial 39 and U.S. 52 are the two highways that link Regina and Minot. North Portal has also become a major long-haul truck stopping point for cargo coming into North Dakota from western Canada.
It was unknown late Wednesday if the port of entry will be blocked. But, according to Wednesday’s Regina Leader-Post, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police will have an increased presence in North Portal and the surrounding rural municipality to monitor activities.
As of Wednesday, there were no warnings or cautions issued in North Dakota from the Burke County Sheriff’s Department or the North Dakota Highway Patrol. Motorists traveling into Canada are usually stopped at the border, but may be asked questions at the protest site once they cross into Saskatchewan.
The Estevan RCMP confirmed that additional officers will be on duty to monitor the traffic flow. Police are expected to be on site around the clock for the duration of the event. Police will direct traffic going into North Portal and on grid roads east of town.
“Travelers can expect to be asked the purpose of their trip to North Portal during the duration of the event.”Estevan RCMP statement
“Travelers can expect to be asked the purpose of their trip to North Portal during the duration of the event,” the Estevan RCMP said in a statement. “Parking along Highway 39 will be strictly prohibited and enforced by the RCMP.”
However, adjacent land owners, according to the North Portal Village Council, have granted permission to event organizers to use private land located near Highway 39 for camping and gathering.
In a statement released by the village council, it will remain neutral during this event and will not be providing any public services to include water, lagoon use, garbage removal, public rental or other regular village services. Utilities and services will be the responsibility of the event organizers, according to the statement.
Portal/North Portal is one of three 24-hour ports of entry along the North Dakota/Canada border. Alternative ports of entry are available at Northgate to the east of Portal and Noonan to the west. However, neither are 24 hour ports.
This planned protest follows a similar event at the Raymond, Mont., Regway, Saskatchewan port of entry Feb. 12. That protest didn’t result in a blockade. The RCMP is not commenting on whether or not they expect a blockade at North Portal. The week-long protest at Emerson/Pembina did result in a blockade just north of Emerson’s port of entry.
Anyone who has a non-emergency matter, should contact the Estevan RCMP Detatchment at (306) 637-4400. For emergencies, dial 911.