A line has been drawn between a large police presence and carbon tax protesters in a ditch along the Trans Canada just west of the Trans Canada and Hwy. 22 interchange.

Police arrived earlier this morning to assemble for Day 2.

The number of protesters has dropped to about 250 after surging to around 400 on Apr. 1. Those who remain insist it will continue until the carbon tax is revoked, regardless of the weather.

It's part of the Nationwide Protest Against Carbon Tax that began Apr. 1.

For some, though, it goes far beyond their opposition to the carbon tax. A couple who just arrived from Saskatchewan today are fed up with skyrocketing taxes eating away at their income while MPs continue to award themself raises. MP received a 4.4 per cent wage hike on Apr. 1

"We just saw what was going on. I thought this is amazing, we have to join in," she says.

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A Cochrane man returned to the protest for a second day and plans to bring his 20-year-old son tomorrow so he can see for himself what is happening.

"I think it's nice that everybody's coming out to just say what they have to say and show their support. The police presence is quite high, but perhaps it's more of a safety thing, so I see both sides." 

He's recently returned to Cochrane from B.C. and quickly noticed the financial stress being faced by local families.

"I've heard more stories of children moving back in with parents and grandparents just to make ends meet. When hard times come, it's good for families to put things aside and work together. That's a positive outcome, but it also puts a strain on individuals when it comes to finances, getting ahead, going to school, and doing certain things. I guess everyone's got to hope that it's going to stop, but I don't know if it will."

He's uncertain the protest will have an impact.

"I think it starts from the top down, right? I mean, I've never actually in my entire life thought about leaving Canada, but I guess we'll see what happens over the next 18 months. We'll see if it's a time for a change, whether it's me changing or the government changing."

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Another man who started protesting at the start of health restrictions during the pandemic in minus 30 degree Celsius weather believes the answer is getting rid of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Liberal-NDP machine.

"That's got to go," he says with conviction. "That's why I've been protesting."

Two personal scenarios during the pandemic convinced him it was all a lie. His father was ill (not from COVID) at the beginning of the health restrictions. Midway through the pandemic, he also found himself in the hospital after a car accident. 

"My dad was in several hospitals at the beginning of COVID and I saw how empty the hospitals were, and I saw the lies on TV. Nurses were sitting there playing cards. Nobody was in there. It was empty. I'm talking empty."

He says when they first protested, the police looked at them as if they were weirdos. He says that's far from the case.

"There's a mixed bag here. I'm a safety officer, that's a nurse, that's a lawyer, and this is a construction worker."

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All lanes of Hwy. 1 reopened yesterday evening after the RCMP briefly closed a stretch of the Trans Canada and diverted traffic. They continue to advise motorists of possible traffic delays throughout the day, although it was smooth sailing this afternoon with all lanes open. Rush hour may be a different story.

You may have thought the influx of protesters would have benefitted the nearby A&W Restaurant, but that's not the case. A worker says it's been slower due to motorists being discouraged from stopping.

Today, the RCMP expressed concern for the safety of the protesters during an anticipated snowstorm.