June 18th, 2024

Blockades drawing strong response from across the province


By Al Beeber - Lethbridge Herald on February 4, 2022.

Herald photo by Trevor Busch A slow-rolling convoy makes its way up the south end of Mayor Magrath Drive as it enters the city from Highway 5. The group of farm vehicles, which displayed signage identifiying them as "Farmers for Freedom", caused some delays for local traffic in the area.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDabeeber@lethbridgeherald.com

Southern Alberta trucker blockades have sparked strong responses in the province.
In a joint statement, the Alberta Association of Chiefs of Police and Alberta Sheriffs said police will take enforcement action if necessary.
“Public safety has been our priority, and it will continue to be as we move forward. If necessary, however, we will take enforcement actions at events like these, responding accordingly to the risks to public safety. Our services are working together, and sharing information and resources, just as we do each and every day. Albertans can feel confident that their respective police services will maintain peace and security across this province – together,” their statement released Thursday.
The AACP said as demonstrations began in Alberta, the province’s police services have worked together to balance public safety with the right to stage legal and peaceful protests.
NDP leader Rachel Notley in a statement Wednesday referred to protesters at Coutts as a fringe group that has taken Alberta’s main border crossing with the U.S., and the province’s economy, hostage.
“The people conducting this illegal action claim they are in direct contact with members of the UCP government caucus and are being offered the removal of public health orders in exchange for reopening the border. The potential precedent being set here is deeply troubling and must be immediately disavowed by every elected member of the UCP government.
“Furthermore, we need the Premier to immediately address the people of Alberta to confirm that public health orders will only be removed on the advice of public health officials and that there will be no political interference in this critical decision,” Notley said in her statement.
“It is horrifying that any member of government caucus would think the public health of Albertans could be used as a bargaining chip to negotiate with people engaged in illegal activities. The premier must commit that this will never happen and that he will remove any of his Caucus members that believe it should.”
Also on Wednesday, the Athabasca Chipewayan First Nation chief and council in a statement said if the blockade had been organized by Indigenous protesters, police would have reacted swiftly.
“The Critical Infrastructure Defense Act, passed in 2020, was created in response to Indigenous railway blockades protesting pipeline developments on Indigenous territories. This law was used to end Indigenous blockades – so the question that must be asked is why the blockade at Coutts is allowed to continue?
“If this blockade was being organized by Indigenous people, we have no doubt that authorities would respond quickly to remove the blockade and utilize the law that has been created to do so. Yet in Coutts we see the inequities in our country when it comes to Indigenous people and the methods used to control our rights to peaceful protest. If the blockade in Coutts consisted of Indigenous people there would have been arrests and charges laid; instead, the Coutts blockade is being allowed to continue, even though it has at times become violent. We do not condone or encourage violence in any manner,” said the chief and council.
The statement said they were shocked to see “this blatant disparity” adding that if protests of infrastructure at Coutts is going to be allowed, then the same approach should be taken when Indigenous people stage similar forms of protest.
On Jan. 31, Alberta Federation of Labour president Gil McGowan stated the protesters in Ottawa don’t represent the majority of working Canadians, including truckers.
“The workers who I know and represent are at work today, not intimidating innocent citizens or rubbing shoulders with known white supremacists and other extremists. Instead of supporting what’s going on in Ottawa, all but a tiny sliver of Canadian workers are doing what they do every day: providing health care, educating our children, making our cities and municipalities work, producing and moving goods, working on construction projects, stocking shelves, serving customers and doing the myriad of other things that make our economy run,” McGowan’s statement read.
Paul Hinman, leader of the Wildrose Independence Party in a statement issued on Thursday, suggested public sentiment is now shifting in the direction of protestors.
“The people who are stepping up and supporting the convoy and all the protests are making a historical stand against a set of unconstitutional mandates that have been divisive, harmful and wrong. They are not backing down and they deserve our continued strong support. We’re seeing public sentiment shift, and many Albertans now are stepping forward to say that enough is enough. Many people who previously felt isolated now realize there are millions of others who are ready and willing to stand alongside them in the fight for freedom. Also, politicians who have strongly supported lockdowns and mandates in the past are wobbling under the pressure. They are starting to realize the people are not going to take their unconstitutional orders any longer.”
Hinman, who represented the former Cardston-Taber-Warner provincial riding as MLA from 2004-2008, argued Premier Jason Kenney needs to rescind Alberta’s mandates and then take the fight to Ottawa.
“Jason Kenney needs to end all the Alberta mandates immediately. The government of Alberta then needs to tell Trudeau that his government has gone way too far. Ottawa’s vaccine passport program and all other restrictions must be lifted. Wildrose has been pushing hard on Premier Kenney to admit he was wrong and choose Alberta over Ottawa. This is an absolute must, and we’ll keep hammering this home until Albertans are free again.”

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Citi Zen

We can all thank the truckers for skyrocketing prices on almost everything now. This will paint all truck drivers with the same brush. Thanks, a$$h%%%%s.

biff

the prices of goods are due to the usual – crony capitalism fueled by greed, self service, and giant corp and the ultra wealthy oligarchs owning govts, and what are in effect monopolies over the very key sectors of our economy, including but limited to finance, energy, mining, utilities. oil prices have always underscored the prices of everything. the cartel has greatly reduced the output of oil, which has led to an energy prices surge, which has systematically pumped up the prices of everything. surely you are not so slow as to think the truckers have caused this?!

SophieR

Pathetic hand-wringing from the police. They have invited these antivax terrorists behind their Thin Blue Line – being above the law and underwritten by Klan connotations.
If they don’t have the stomach to enforce the law against their kind, they should just pretend these truckers are indigenous or environmentalists. Then we’ll see the batons fly.

IMO

Kenney and the Alberta Association of Police Chiefs have set a precedent:
If you don’t like the laws or policies of the government in power – blockade a major trade route until your demands are met. Does not apply to Indigenous, environmentalists or folks with critical thinking skills.

biff

well, at least in this entry you do not use the “whitey” term. still, in that other entry where you did, i was left to wonder how it is that racism is wrong, except when the likes of you choose to target souls in white bodies? and here, you feel it is just and reasonable to paint all truckers and cops as klan members?
i am further left to wonder what has broken in your brain such that you label people who do not want to take covid vaxes as terrorists?! have you always taken leave of your senses, or is it just since you have been taking steady doses of covid vaxes?

Fescue

It’s quite simple, biff. The state and their police forces are designed to protect the status quo. Namely the entitlements of mainly rich, white, men. The reluctance to deal with this nuissance is mired in this supremicism.

As for the Thin Blue Line that police are beginning to wear on their uniforms, this symbol is a reaction against public expectations for accountability as to how they treat POC. It is a gang colour suggesring they are above the law.

And frankly I don’t care if you or anyone else chooses to avoid vaccination, blocking critical infrastructure and calling for insurrection is an act of terrorism, as it is defined today. Those who do it would, therefore be called terrorists.

But my main thrust is to point out the hypocricy of these ‘freedom fighters’ and Herald bloggers who are first in line to call for heavy-handed state action against groups demostrating for social and environmental justice.

SophieR

(To avoid your confusion, biff, Fescue is my partner’s Great Aunt. She thought you deserved a reply. I did that on her computer.)

biff

thank you – i respect fes’s perspectives, and have most often respected yours, too. however, you have taken a turn for the worse recently. sorry to say.

SophieR

She says hi and likewise.

Worse/better, a matter of perspective. You are probable reading me as commenting on your vaccination position. Like I said, I don’t care – this situation will pass. What I do care about are bullies and authoritarianism which is rearing its head under the current strains. We simply can’t tolerate these fascist expressions if we want to sustain a civil society.

biff

always good to hear from you, fes. we are in agreement with social and environmental justice. i am seeing these demos as not nearly terrorist – that word is getting tossed at far too much. they may be illegal, but the issue at hand is pressing: people are forced vax in order to work and live, let alone to be able to socialise and be equal to those choosing to vax. what should people do when their right to their body is taken away? i do not think writing their mp/mla is going to help, and nor will waiting for an election, when the best one can hope for in signing off with their illiterate “x” is to replace tweedle dum with tweedle dee…yet again.

IMO

Forced vaccination is a figment of the imagination. No one is being forced to get a vaccination for COVID.

What is relevant is accepting the consequences of NOT being vaccinated.

Your choice. Your consequences.

Put on your BIG BOY PANTS and deal with it!

buckwheat

The border is open, what’s the problem

ewingbt

Our country has being slowly sliding into the abyss since Trudeau took over and he has caused nationwide separation since he began his role and bankrupt Canada just in the last 2 years by doubling the National Debt, going from and average in the last 20 years of about $650 billion to what will soon be $1.4 trillion.
The UCP is no better, falling to the demands of the another small percentage of radicals that only care about themselves . . . the ‘nobody is going to tell me what to do gang’! The UCP has also destroyed this province by pushing out nurses and doctors, causing shortages so bad that Lethbridge alone is left with only 50% of it’s citizens with a doctor. Now they are breaking the international rule that is ‘not to negotate with terrorists’! And they have a small number of these radicals embedded in their ranks!
My father owned a tranport company when I was growing up and I had my Class 1 license in the 70’s. We were taught to respect other motorists around us and we worked together with truckers. If we saw someone broke down on the side of the road, car or truck, we would stop and help. Now they blow by you without even slowing down!
We would never consider using our trucks or large machinery as weapons to restrict major highways that would create stress on others just trying to do their jobs.
Now, big trucks and jacked up pick-up trucks with lights on the front that can be seen on the spacestation, tailgate you for doing the speed limit and even turn on their light bars to blind you to intimidate you to move or speed up. The pick-up truck tires are 4-5 inches past the outer body of the truck and they have no mudflaps to prevent rocks from damaging others windshields, lights or car body, but no one gives them tickets. I have lost two windshields from them!
We used to even see enforcement on headlights that were not supposed to be more than the average cars headlights height ( can’t remember the allowed height ) and you wouldn’t get away with the lightbars or blinding lights.
There is just no respect for fellow man anymore! This ‘Freedom’ is not about the masks or the mandates, but it is all about groups flexing their muscles to say ‘we are going to do what we want and when we want’ and because our trucks and equipment are bigger than yours . . . we will win!
And the UCP, who are more worried about power and getting re-elected are now negotiating with these people who will show the rest of the radicals that they can do what they want in Canada and get away with it, spawning a dooming rise in these types of protests!
History has proven that whenever you have one group of radicals rise up, another rises to counter them when government and police do not do their jobs! It is already seen in motion!
As for the FN comment . . . you are very wrong! This is not on First Nations land . . . ..land that has it’s own laws and rules as a nation!
This is on major highways and border crossings! . . . No Comparison!
Also, not sure if you noticed the Ottawa protest, but it has FN’s representation and no one is moving on them!
Truly I am sadened to see such a great country just 20 years ago slide so fast into the abyss!
Wake up call . . . the Southern Alberta blockades have radicals, many are not truckers, from Red Deer area and even Provost area, well known white supremacist areas, not just locals and some in Ottawa anyway are from the US!
This is not about Freedom! It is all about increasing their strengths for future actions, many militant and those that have blindly followed them without knowing who they are in bed with . . . are going to find themselves on lists that will cause them grief!
To use large equipment and large trucks as weapons is unacceptable and they should all have their licenses suspended for at least one year and the ones that are not Canadian citizens should be deported and banned from this country! If left, and no fines or actions are taken, there will be no deterents and others will use the same methods . . . monkey see, monkey do!
It is obvious, as we have seen in the news that many of the UCP MLA’s are in bed with these people! It is shameful to see elected officials support a small percentage of the population, when is has direct impacts on all of the population!
Too many times in the last few years these splinter groups have been allowed to take hold and cost the Alberta economy tens of millions, if not billions that the taxpayer has to pick up.
This will only further divide this province and this country! The damage is done already! The stresses from the pandemic have only been compounded!
Lastly, it is always advised that protest groups get insurance for their protest to protect themselves from lawsuits and pay for damages . . . I doubt they have insurance!

Last edited 2 years ago by ewingbt
buckwheat

Simple advice

If you do not support the truckers, IT’S OKAY because:

If mandates get lifted I would like to remind you…. you can still stay home. No one will rip the mask off your face, no one will force you to dine in at a restaurant, you can drop your children off at their leisure activity and wait in your car, you can still say no to family gatherings and events, you can live within your 4 walls and NO ONE will stop you. We will not judge you for your choice – we will just be glad you have one. That is the point of FREEDOM of choice! While you’re comfortable where you are we are also comfortable moving on with our lives.

🇨🇦

Sincerely
A member of the small fringe minority with unacceptable views 👌🏼

biff

great entry – thank you for the putting-the-shoe-on-the-other-foot reality perspective.

pursuit diver

“…home until Albertans are free again….”
Albertan’s are free again? What? So the pandemic is over? Hospitals aren’t loaded with unvaccinated? We aren’t averging 10 COVID deaths per day in this province?
Really? If we continued to stick with the restrictions for just another few weeks, we could see the hospitals decrease dramatically in the numbers, allowing them to get back to all the surgeries and the cancer treatments that have been cancelled. Hip replacements and other important surgeries that have been put on hold, that have had a devastating impact on the health on the seniors that have been waiting. When you get older, being idle rapidly deteriorated muscles and bone and the cardio vascular system is also impacted. It can take over a year for someone that is in their 60’s to get back to normal, if they ever are able to. Beds were taken up by the unvaccinated.
This freedom that the few radicals have come up with for a term is just another way to force their ideals of undisciplined acts on the majority that were law abiding and knew we were almost through it!
Reports have shown radicals are within these protests, groups like Proud Boys that wreaked havoc a year ago in Washington, DC and operate in Canada.
The Proud Boys is a neo-fascist organization that engages in political violence and was formed in 2016. Members of the group espouse misogynistic, Islamophobic, anti-Semitic, anti-immigrant, and/or white supremacist ideologies and associate with white supremacist groups. The Proud Boys consists of semi-au,tonomous chapters located in the United States (U.S.), Canada, and internationally. The group and its members have openly encouraged, planned, and conducted violent activities against those they perceive to be opposed to their ideology and political beliefs.
Also check out this website:
https://www.publicsafety.gc.ca/cnt/ntnl-scrt/cntr-trrrsm/lstd-ntts/crrnt-lstd-ntts-en.aspx#60
Proud Boys and these groups are in Canada and have been added to the terrorist watch list:
Aryan Strikeforce, Atomwaffen Division (AWD / National Socialist Order, Combat 18 (C18), James Mason, The Base, Three Percenters ( 3%ers, III%ers, Threepers), and several other groups that have not made it onto the list yet, but are here!
I would be very carefull who you are associating with!
We didn’t need ‘freedom’ at this point, because we are almost through this! Other countries that were hit with Omicron several weeks earlier than Canada have already started or reducing restrictions and we are not far from that, but to do it too soon will just result in too many deaths.
Fact – Most of the deaths we are seeing are the unvaccinated in this province! Do you want to increase those numbers? I heard some say, great to rid society of them, but know that is not the way! So, why are you so bent on killing off your fellow unvaccinated, or anti-maskers? Or is that the plan? Is that what the radicals actually want? Probably not, they are just looking for more sheep to bolster their ranks as the see the world turn into chaos!

buckwheat

Only a couple more weeks. We are currently 706 days into two weeks to flatten the curve. Time to move on.