Adam of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation spoke out about the
blockade set up at the US.-Canada border crossing at Coutts, Alberta.
This border crossing was shut down on January 29 by a convoy demanding
an end to all vaccine mandates. Chief Adam pointed out that if the
protesters were Indigenous, the RCMP would have already arrested them.
"If peaceful protests of critical infrastructure at Coutts is allowed,
then we expect the same to be true in the future should Indigenous
people engage in similar forms of protest," he said.
Adam was referring to Alberta's Critical Infrastructure
Defence Act. "If it only applies to First Nations, then the
Premier and his caucus should do away with it altogether," Chief Adam
Many truckers also spoke out against the
disruption at the border. Highway 4 from Lethbridge to the U.S. border
at Coutts is part of the CANAMEX corridor, and continues in the U.S. as
Interstate 15. The CANAMEX corridor was established under the North
American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) linking Canada to Mexico through
the United States, and required the respective countries to upgrade the
designated highways as an important trade corridor. An estimated 800 to
1,200 trucks cross the Coutts-Sweetgrass entry point daily.
the media described the convoy as "massive," truckers explained that
the vast majority of the trucks stuck on the highway were not part of
the blockade. Punjabi truckers released a video in which they estimated
that more than 1,500 truckers were caught in the blockade since January
29, sitting with full loads. They explained that they were without
food, and that some of them were in urgent need of medication. No one
was listening to them, they said.
remained completely closed until February 3, when some kind of
agreement was reached and two lanes were opened. However RCMP continued
to report that very little traffic was actually getting through and
urged "motorists" to stay away. Not a word about the conditions of the
truckers held hostage at the border with nothing to eat and medical
emergencies. The blockade continued despite repeated reports that those
involved had agreed to lift it, at least while they traveled to
Edmonton for a rally.
Pressure on Kenney
intensified with calls for an end to the blockade coming from three
associations of feedlot owners, ranchers, and farmers, the Alberta and
Saskatchewan Division of Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters, the
Canadian Meat Council, and the Canadian Federation of Independent
Grocers, amongst others.
On February 3, Kenney
released a video in which he declared to all who were demanding an end
to COVID-19 restrictions that "I'm on your side" and said that he
sympathized with them. Then in the evening he held a "Facebook Live"
chat in which he essentially met all the demands made by those involved
in the blockades for an end to COVID-19 restrictions. The province's
COVID-19 cabinet committee would vote to lift the restrictions
exemption program (REP) "early next week" he said, and a phased plan to
remove almost all public health restrictions later this month as long
as there is declining pressure on the hospitals.
are now more COVID-19 patients in hospital than at any time during the
pandemic, as well as a high death toll. Nonetheless, in a Facebook Live
event Kenney stated: "After two years of this, we simply cannot
continue to rely on the blunt instrument of damaging restrictions as a
primary tool to cope with a disease that will likely be with us for the
rest of our lives." Covering up the failure to provide enough resources
to the health care system or adequate all-sided prophylactic measures,
he merely declared, "We must find a way to get our lives back to
normal." This is par for the course when a brutal dictate of
anti-social measures is enforced.
Jason Kenney and Opposition Leader Rachel Notley initially denounced
the blockade and called for the border to re-open. At the same time,
Kenney was in Washington calling for an end to the U.S. requirement
that truckers be fully vaccinated to enter the U.S. Despite warnings
from Kenney that the blockade was illegal and must end, and threats to
use the Critical Infrastructure Defence Act,
nothing happened. The RCMP responded that, "We continue to work with
the blockade participants to re-establish safe passage," even as new
blockades were reported, agreements were announced and immediately
Ezra Levant, editor of Rebel News
announced that he had provided the blockaders with a lawyer at their
request, who would negotiate on their behalf, and launched an appeal
for "crowd-funding" a legal defence fund for the blockaders, despite
the fact that no charges had been laid against anyone.
no time did any organization claim responsibility, and those
responsible for the blockade never identified themselves. Despite this,
official media whose hallmark is to never establish a vantage point in
their reporting based on warranted conclusions as revealed by actual
investigation and facts, continue to refer to the perpetrators as
As this kind of anarchy and violence
swirls around us, it is important to remember: Don't blame the
truckers! They are not the organizers of these events.
This article was published in
Volume 52 Number 2 - February 6, 2022