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Alberta

Coutts Protest spokesman on RCMP arrests and firearms siezure

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A spokesman for the people protesting at Courts and Milk River is asking Canadians not to jump to conclusions following the news RCMP have seized a number of weapons and made 11 arrests.

Here is the RCMP release


Alberta RCMP make arrests at Coutts Border Blockade

The Alberta RCMP 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 we 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.

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

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 will provide further updates as they become available.


Protest spokesman Jory Evans says organizers can confirm that these people were not ‘with’ the trucker protest and if they had ill intent, he’s glad RCMP have rounded them up.  Evans refers in the video to a shocking admission from RCMP that they have sabotaged 3 excavators near the protest, since they suspected they might be used in the future in some way.   Click on the video to see a short statement from Evans.

 

After 15 years as a TV reporter with Global and CBC and as news director of RDTV in Red Deer, Duane set out on his own 2008 as a visual storyteller. During this period, he became fascinated with a burgeoning online world and how it could better serve local communities. This fascination led to Todayville, launched in 2016.

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Alberta

Smith won’t seek early vote if she wins UCP leadership, becomes next Alberta premier

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United Conservative Party leadership candidate Danielle Smith says if she wins this week’s vote and becomes the next Alberta premier, she would not call an early election to seek a broad mandate on her policy ideas.

Smith, the perceived front-runner in the race, says the public tends to punish leaders who call an early election.

She says she would wait until the next scheduled election in May 2023, but believes she has a mandate now to proceed with her plans.

Smith has said she would immediately pass an Alberta sovereignty act, which would allow the province to ignore federal laws and court rulings deemed not in its interest.

Legal experts, some of Smith’s leadership rivals and Premier Jason Kenney have labelled the act not only illegal but a recipe for constitutional and economic chaos.

Smith has also talked about revamping the health system by using health spending accounts and firing the board of Alberta Health Services, which oversees the front-line delivery of care.

Today is the last day for advance voting, as seven candidates dig in for the final campaign push before UCP members select a new leader to replace Kenney on Thursday.

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Alberta

Alberta commits $20.8 million over the next four years to fight human trafficking

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By Rob Drinkwater in Edmonton

The Alberta government is providing $20.8 million over the next four years to implement recommendations from a star-led task force on human trafficking.

Country singer Paul Brandt, chair of the Alberta Human Trafficking Task Force, personally thanked Premier Jason Kenney during the funding announcement Sunday at Edmonton International Airport for his willingness to prioritize the issue, and for putting faith in Brandt to lead the group.

“Premier Kenney’s longtime personal dedication and commitment to the issue of human trafficking is authentic and is admirable,” Brandt said.

“He’s the only political leader I’ve met in my 17 years of advocating for trafficking victims and survivors who took the time and initiative to personally write a plan to address this horrific crime.”

The money will establish an office to combat trafficking as well as a centre of excellence for research and data collection — recommendations the government accepted when the task force presented its report in March.

Justice Minister Tyler Shandro said the goal is to launch the office by next summer.

Other task force recommendations that will be supported include a new grant for community projects and Indigenous-led and culturally appropriate services. Civilian positions that will focus on supporting victims and survivors throughout human trafficking investigations will also be funded.

“Human trafficking is far more prevalent — way more common — than the stats would suggest because it’s a hidden crime,” Kenney said at the announcement.

“It festers in the dark. There are victims who face fear, shame and self-doubt and some who will never report what they’ve gone through.”

The task force was appointed in May 2020 and engaged with nearly 100 experts and survivors of trafficking to provide guidance on how to best implement the government’s action plan to fight human trafficking.

The government has said human trafficking includes sexual exploitation, forced labour trafficking and trafficking in human organs or tissues.

Kenney, who will be replaced as premier when his United Conservative Party selects a new leader on Thursday, noted he started fighting human trafficking over 20 years ago when he was an MP and joined a group of international parliamentarians on a coalition to fight the practice.

Later as Canada’s immigration minister, he said he took steps to make it easier for human trafficking victims who had migrated to Canada to obtain safety and protection.

In winter 2019, he said he committed the UCP to a nine-point action plan to combat human trafficking, which led to the Protecting Survivors of Human Trafficking Act, which took effect in May 2020.

Brandt said it was exciting to be part of the funding commitment at the airport, where he said he stood in 2019 for a partnership with the facility and other groups in the Edmonton region to fight trafficking, which he called “modern day slavery.”

“It has been our dream that special focus and permanent funding would one day become a reality. Today is that day,” Brandt said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 2, 2022.

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