Chris Lysak, Chris Carbert, Anthony Olienick, and Jerry Morin will now face the courts over charges of conspiracy during the 2022 Coutts blockade, but are the charges themselves the real conspiracy?
I recently attended a BBQ event hosted by local supporters of the four Alberta men who have been charged with conspiracy. The charges were laid in February 2022, after the highway border blockade in Coutts saw the presence of tens of thousands of protesters take a stand against vaccine mandates and COVID restrictions for over two weeks.
On February 13 and 14, the execution of warrants by the RCMP resulted in the arrests of 13 people, as well as the confiscation of long guns and handguns. Blockade demonstrators decided, upon hearing this news and the associated allegations of extremism, to peacefully end the blockade as a showing that their movement was and would continue to be peaceful.
Some allege that the RCMP’s execution of warrants, arrests, and consequent firearms discoveries may be part of a plot against the larger demonstrations in the area of Coutts. Although this is conjecture, what I can say is that the publication bans on this case may prevent substantiative evidence either for or against these men from appearing to the public eye for the time being.
I can tell you, however, that the denial of bail these four individuals face was a concern for supporters in attendance. Many believe these four men are being unfairly punished as a means of tainting the past winter's demonstrations with extremism — some even suggesting they’re facing ‘political persecution.'