Rebel News boss Ezra Levant was in Lethbridge, Alberta, yesterday covering the ongoing situation of four men — Chris Carbert, Chris Lysak, Anthony Olienick and Jerry Morin, dubbed the “Coutts Four” — who were charged during the Coutts border blockade.
Yesterday's hearing was a bail review for one of the men, Chris Carbert, who is charged with conspiracy to commit murder at the border blockade.
In the lengthy post on X (formerly Twitter), Ezra pointed out how Rebel News has been covering the story of the Coutts blockade since it began, even having a pair of journalists embedded within the protest itself. He also discussed the topic at length on last night's edition of The Ezra Levant Show.
Some, however, have asked why Rebel News is not crowdfunding the legal defence of these men. As Ezra explains:
During the trucker convoy, Rebel News raised funds to defend protesters charged with civil disobedience — minor, non-violent offences like mischief. When we announced our crowdfunding campaign, we did not contemplate defending people charged with serious or violent criminal offences like conspiracy to commit murder, nor did we collect money from donors for that purpose.
Nonetheless, we have helped the Coutts Four in a number of ways. During the blockade, before anyone was arrested, Rebel News crowdfunded lawyers who took shifts around the clock at the saloon in Coutts, where the protesters congregated. Those lawyers gave advice to all the men in real time and also engaged with the police in negotiations to assist the men.
A key piece of advice provided to the group was not to exceed peaceful disobedience.
“Nonetheless, when Chris Lysak, Chris Carbert and Anthony Olienick were charged with conspiracy to commit murder, Rebel News paid for their lawyers at their bail hearing. (To the best of our knowledge, the fourth member of the Coutts Four, Jerry Morin, was never at the Coutts blockade),” Ezra noted.
Given the evidence presented, Ezra said, it's unlikely any judge would have granted the men bail. Nevertheless, the men fired Rebel News' lawyers and hired new representation.
The company continues to crowdfund the legal defence for 30 other truckers in Alberta including the “Coutts Three” — Marco Van Huigenbos, Alex Van Herk and George Janzen — as well as dozens of other truckers in Windsor and Ottawa, including Freedom Convoy organizer Tamara Lich.
Rebel News is also crowdfunding the legal defence of Pastor Artur Pawlowski for charges relating to his sermon at the Coutts blockade.
“Since 2020, Rebel News has crowdfunded civil liberties lawyers, including through The Democracy Fund charity, to defend the civil liberties of more than 3,000 Canadians charged with various lockdown offences, and has supported several constitutional challenges,” Ezra wrote on X.
“Crowdfunding for serious criminal charges such as the Coutts Four face is simply outside of our mandate but we will continue to cover the trial of the Coutts Four journalistically.”