Alberta official says Emergencies Act may have acted as a deterrent in Coutts, but wasn’t needed

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An Alberta official who oversees the general public safety portfolio says the federal authorities’s invocation of the Emergencies Act may have acted as a deterrent for protesters close to the Coutts border crossing, but mentioned he would not assume it was needed.

Marlin Degrand, assistant deputy minister of public security and emergency companies, is testifying earlier than the Emergencies Act inquiry Thursday concerning the blockade in a southern Alberta village.

Between Jan. 29 and Feb. 14, protesters towards COVID-19 restrictions used massive vans and different autos to dam business site visitors to and from the U.S. on the crossing close to Coutts, Alta.

Around daybreak on Feb. 14, hours earlier than the federal authorities introduced it was bringing in emergency powers,the RCMP executed search warrants in Coutts, arresting greater than a dozen protesters and seizing a cache of weapons, physique armour and ammunition.

Degrand sat for an interview with attorneys from the Public Order Emergency Commission in August. A abstract of that dialog was made public Thursday.

“While Mr. Degrand acknowledges that the Emergencies Act may have had a deterrent impact on protesters, the Alberta authorities’s place was that the Emergencies Act was not needed as the Coutts border blockade was resolving previous to its invocation,” mentioned the interview abstract.

“Alberta objected to its invocation on this foundation.”

Degrand advised the fee the province’s authorities had been enough and had been proven to be enough.

Supporters look on as anti-COVID-19 vaccine mandate demonstrators depart in a truck convoy after blocking the freeway on the busy U.S. border crossing in Coutts, Alta., on Feb. 15, 2022. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)

He additionally mentioned the province was nervous bringing in the never-before-used laws would additional inflame protesters.

Fort McLeod Coun. Marco Van Huigenbos, one of many motion’s spokespeople, mentioned the remaining protesters left after the discovery of weapons.

Four males arrested in the Coutts raid — Jerry Morin, Chris Lysak, Chris Carbert and Anthony Olienick — are accused of probably the most critical cost to come back out of the protests: conspiracy to homicide RCMP officers. 

“For me, it turned very clear that each goal we had been trying to obtain was now not potential and our message had been misplaced,” Van Huigenbos advised the fee earlier this week.

Issue securing tow vans 

Degrand’s testimony touched on a problem the fee has heard many instances earlier than: securing tow vans.

The Alberta bureaucrat mentioned the RCMP suggested him that tow truck operators had been reluctant to assist police clear the blockade.

“Some operators indicated to the RCMP that they had been being paid to not help regulation enforcement,” mentioned Degrand’s interview abstract.

After a slew of rejections, Degrand mentioned the province made a request to the federal authorities and inquired about probably getting equipment from the Canadian Armed Forces. He testified that the provincial authorities bought the impression Ottawa was reluctant to supply army tools. 

In the top, Degrand mentioned the province was finally capable of safe a variety of tow vans for the RCMP round Feb. 13.

The fee is reviewing the federal authorities’s choice to invoke the Emergencies Act and the circumstances main as much as that call. 

Commissioner Paul Rouleau will proceed to listen to from witnesses, together with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, till Nov. 25.

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