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Saturday , 28 May 2022

Freedom protests held in Lakeland over the weekend

Several demonstrations were held over the weekend in the Lakeland to protest COVID-19 mandates currently implemented by the Federal and Provincial Government.

On Saturday, trucks flying Canadian flags while honking their horns could be heard during the lunch hour throughout the Town of Bonnyville as the group slow rolled down 50 Ave.

There was also a rally held in St. Paul which started at TWP Road 582 and headed east out of the town to encompass Elk Point, Myrnam and Two Hills.

Both events were described as “peaceful” by organizers.

“The support from people was amazing and to see the smiles as adults and children standing on the side with their flags,” protestor Joyce Berube said. “May God be glorified as love is spreading and uniting people peacefully.”

Protestor Amber Newbury who attended the event in St. Paul said more than 70 vehicles participated.

“Fire, Police and Peace officers did a great job in helping run things smoothly through main street,” Newbury said. “Many supporters along range roads, in towns. Myrnam felt like I was in Edmonton with the town lit up with smiles, waves and people saying thank you. Two Hills greeted us with open arms. And by donation tasty food was made. Two Hills Family Restaurant was amazing! Proceeds went to help fellow Canadians who are continuing to help fight for everyone’s freedom.”

Amongst the positive there is the negative Newbury told Lakeland Connect.

“Few gave the finger but not nearly enough to out weigh the positive,” Newbury said. “I personally am on the right side of history.”

For close to three weeks now Canadian’s who share the same opinion have been organizing freedom rally’s across the country, Canada’s freedom convoy in Windsor, Ontario, shut down the Ambassador Bridge to Detroit. It took several tow trucks and more than a dozen arrests over the weekend before the protest was brought to an end and the bridge reopened.

Arrests in Coutts

Protestors in Coutts in the southern part of Alberta continue to hold the line after Police released Monday that they have made some arrests.

The Alberta RCMP says it recently became aware of a small organized group within the larger Coutts protest. Information was received that this group had access to a cache of firearms with a large quantity of ammunition. The group was said to have a willingness to use force against the police if any attempts were made to disrupt the blockade. This resulted in an immediate and complex investigation to determine the extent of the threat and criminal organization.

As a result of this investigation, the Alberta RCMP executed a search warrant during the early hours of Feb. 14, on three trailers associated to this criminal organization.  This resulted in the arrest and detainment of 11 individuals.

As result of these search warrants, the following was seized:

  • 13 long guns
  • handguns
  • multiple sets of body armour
  • a machete
  • a large quantity of ammunition
  • high capacity magazines
  • An example of the militant mindset of a small segment of the protest, earlier in the evening, at approximately 8:00 p.m., a large farm tractor and a semi truck, both involved in the blockade, attempted to ram a police vehicle.  The police officer was able to reposition and avoid the collision.  RCMP officers followed the suspects to a location where the protesters were gathered. The driver of the tractor was identified and the Mounties are actively working to locate him so he can be taken into custody. The Alberta RCMP have seized the farm tractor and semi truck involved in this incident.

    RCMP File Photo

    The Alberta RCMP wants to emphasize that their primary goal throughout this event has been and will continue to be the safety of the public, as well as our officers.

    Additional individuals have been arrested in connection to the Coutts border blockade the RCMP said.

    Yesterday, the RCMP had an arrest on the highway where two weapons were seized and an individual was arrested and remains in custody. He was stopped by police while en-route back to the protest site.

    At approximately 12:45 p.m., a northbound semi truck approached an RCMP check stop north of Milk River, Alta. when the driver accelerated and drove towards our members. The driver swerved at the last moment and hit some traffic cones which were on the roadway. The driver was arrested close to the scene for criminal code offences.

    These are the 12th and 13th individuals to be arrested in the past 24 hours in connection to the Coutts border protests.

    The Alberta RCMP will resume efforts to end the illegal blockade which has prevented access to the Coutts border.

    “We encourage all participants who are involved in this illegal action to leave immediately or relocate to the designated site for the legal protest,” the Alberta RCMP stated. “The Alberta RCMP will provide further updates as they become available.”

    NDP Response

    NDP Justice Critic Irfan Sabir issued the following statement regarding the discovery of weapons at the Coutts blockade.

    “The discovery of weapons, ammunition, and body armour at the illegal Coutts blockade is deeply concerning. There can be no further debate about whether this is a peaceful assembly or not,” Justice Critic Irfan Sabir said. “It is even more troubling that Premier Jason Kenney and his UCP MLAs have supported the blockade with one of them actively participating in it. Grant Hunter has faced no consequences for his role in the Coutts blockade, and remains in the UCP government caucus today. This is unacceptable.”

    “This weak leadership from the premier and his UCP government is costing the Alberta economy an estimated $44 million every day,” Sabir said. “The UCP’s failure threatens jobs and disrupts families. Now we have found out that it also poses a serious threat to the safety of Albertans.”

    “The UCP has refused to go to court to seek an injunction to disperse the blockade, and refused to exercise its authority over commercial vehicle licences,” Sabir said. “This blockade must end. The UCP government must take all necessary steps to have it cleared as quickly and as safely as possible.”

    The Federal Emergencies Act in Canada invoked by Prime Minister

    In response to the current situation in Canada, yesterday on February 14, The Federal Emergencies Act in Canada has been invoked by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to end protests.

    The never-before-used Emergencies Act gives the federal government extra powers to handle anti-vaccine mandate protests.

    “It is disrupting the lives of too many Canadians. Here in our capital city, families, small businesses have been enduring illegal obstruction of their neighborhoods, occupying streets, harassing people breaking the law. This is not a peaceful protest at the borders in different parts of the country.”

    About Arthur C. Green

    Arthur C. Green is an award winning journalist and is from Whitbourne Newfoundland. Green graduated from the CNA Journalism Program. Arthur also studied Business Marketing and Political Science at Memorial University in Essex England and St. John's Newfoundland. Green has worked for such organizations as CBC, CBC Radio, NTV, Saltwire, Great West Media, CKLB Radio, River Radio, Vista Radio, and Postmedia. He also loves Jiggs Dinner and can fillet a Codfish.