COVID-19 RESTRICTIONS vs CIVIL LIBERTIES News

Whistle Stop Café owner arrested during lockdown protest

Chris Scott, owner of Mirror’s Whistle Stop Café, is arrested Saturday. (Facebook)

MIRROR – The owner of Mirror’s Whistle Stop Café was arrested Saturday during an anti lockdown protest.

Hundreds turned out for the Save Alberta Campout Protest where speakers called for the resignation of Premier Jason Kenney and chief medical officer Deena Hinshaw.

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On Thursday Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench granted Alberta Health Services a pre-emptive injunction against the planned protest. The injunction defined the event as an illegal public gathering that doesn’t comply with the chief medical officer of health’s order requiring masks, physical distancing measures and attendance limits. The order gave RCMP the authorization to use reasonable force in arresting and removing any person contravening these public health orders at a rally.

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Bashaw RCMP officers were on scene to monitor the peaceful protest and took Scott away in handcuffs.

Late Saturday night the RCMP issued a statement saying their initial response for this event was to ensure all participants were aware of the Court of Queen’s Bench order issued May 6.

“The order clearly outlines the definition of an illegal public gathering and gives officers authority to arrest and/or remove those who are organizing, promoting and/or attending these illegal public gathering. Officers served, posted copies, and discussed the Queens Bench Order at length with the participants,” said the RCMP.

“In conjunction with Alberta Health Services, and discussions with legal council, the Alberta RCMP deemed this event as meeting the definition of an illegal public gathering as set out in the order. In addition to issuing tickets under section 73(1) of the Public Heath Act, an arrest of the organizer of the event was made under the provision of the Court of Queen’s Bench Order.”

The RCMP said they are in the process of gathering additional information with respect to other individual’s participation in the organization of this event. The RCMP said officers will remain on scene until the illegal public gathering has dispersed.

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Special exemption for rodeo

On Friday Scott slammed the hypocrisy of the province for quietly giving high school rodeos a special exemption on April 9, 2021, allowing rodeos to proceed during the pandemic but won’t allow peaceful protests.

The AHSRA asked for an exemption to allow 50 essential persons, rodeo staff and personnel, judges, coaches, competitors and competitor’s assistance, to be permitted to attend numerous rodeo locations.

Hinshaw allowed high school rodeos to proceed: in April in Vauxhall, St. Paul, Taber, Thorsby, Foremost, Brooks, Stettler, and Teepee Creek; in May in Nanton, Vermillion, Debolt, High River, Ponoka, Hinton, Strathmore, and Lindale; and in June in Olds.

“Do you want to belong to a society where your rights can be stripped away by a doctor? The chief medical officer has the lawful ability to take away your rights with a stroke of a pen; no science, no evidence, no justification.”

On Wednesday morning authorities raided and seized the Whistle Stop Café in an early morning raid. They closed the Whistle Stop convenience store and gas station, cutting off the community’s residents from buying gas and general supplies. They also closed Scott’s campsite.

“I will stand up for our rights and freedoms,” said Scott on Friday. “They doubled our fines for Covid offences, they said they are going to garnish our wages, they are refusing our access to registries before we were even given a day in court. Do you understand what that means? We do not live in a free county. We allow our elected representatives to pass laws on our behalf and take away our rights with a stroke of a pen.”

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Backlash against RCMP

There was a small amount of support for the RCMP on their Facebook page to the arrest of the owner of the Whistle Stop Café but there was more backlash.

“Wow. Wish you mouth breathers would take such swift and direct action against criminals,” said Damian Bissett on the RCMP’s Facebook page. “But I’ll just wait over and hour after calling law enforcement after my motorcycle is almost stolen. Getting tough to back the blue. Respect is earned not given. And you have lost mine.”

Mark Gaudet posted Rachel Notley’s June 2020 tweet saying she was at a Black Live’s Matter protest, which was held during the pandemic.

“Did you do the same when (Notley) was protesting last summer or did you look the other way because in your twisted existence she is a leftist hero?”

Carolyn Mazurek Killeen said she would rather see police using their resources to catch criminals.

“Are there not drug dealers running rampant with lethal amounts of fentanyl mixed with their product that people are overdosing on? Could maybe the cops use their resources in this manner instead of having hoards of police present in peaceful gatherings, or arresting pastors for offering church services to people during these stressful times?? Omg if people don’t see that there is a problem, then I don’t know when they will see it! Church services VS drug dealers, or thieves, or pedophiles….. Hmmmm.”

Likewise, Birdy Cooper agreed.

“Arresting a businessman and a pastor, what total bullshit. How about arresting REAL criminals? I for one am ashamed of this province right now.”

Old angers against the RCMP have resurfaced with some mentioning when the RCMP over stepped their reach and seized firearms illegally during a flood in High River, Alta.

“Is anybody surprised by this?” Dustin Trazza posted on the RCMP Facebook page. “This is the same organization that used a massive flood as an excuse to break into people’s homes and steal their legal firearms in high river. They are not for the people. They are a federal police force and their loyalties lie with Ottawa.”

Story updated May 9, 10:20 a.m. to include backlash on social media against RCMP.

Alberta Press staff

reporter@albertapressleader.ca

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