After a year and a half of businesses going under, pastor arrests, school shutdowns and gym closures at the hands of overreaching government officials, Albertans breathed a nearly collective sigh of relief as COVID rules all but vanished in early July. Many were still apprehensive about whether that freedom would last. But the province’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Deena Hinshaw, took an unprecedented step in Canada. She designated COVID-19 as endemic, an illness that we will have to live with moving forward much like the flu, but no longer a cause for crippling restrictions. Many in Alberta were exhilarated, but surprisingly, not all.
Unbelievably, there have been protests occurring daily across the province calling for increased restrictions, masking, isolation and testing. We had hoped to drop in and ask these protesters exactly what they have in mind for Alberta moving forward, and to clarify what it was that they were protesting, but they made clear that they had no interest in talking.
We were sworn at, insulted, accosted and mocked before having a chance to ask a single question. We clearly don’t agree with what the protesters are advocating for, but as journalists, we were willing to give them an opportunity to defend their position. However, based on their conduct, I don’t suspect they are particularly comfortable attempting to justify their positions.
Perhaps the most comical part of all of this is that after telling us we weren’t welcome in the public park, telling us we aren’t journalists, lobbing profane language at us and assaulting our videographer Kian “K2” Simone to the extent that police interceded, they are still attempting to insist that they are the sympathetic and reasonable side of the argument.
Watch the video — does any of their conduct seem sympathetic or reasonable?
Without a word of apology, these people took to social media to decry us for mis-labelling the event as a pro-lockdown event, which is what they have broadly been called across social media.
For the sake of total transparency, and we learned this while in attendance at the event, some protesters were advocating for lockdowns and masking mandates, but others had more nuanced motivations. Had they expressed those perspectives rationally instead of screaming and shouting, we could have had some productive conversations. Sadly, only one person took the time to explain their motivations for attending, and while I certainly don’t agree with their perspective, I applaud them for the relative composure amidst a sea of vitriolic hatred.
We won't be bullied or chased away from covering the news, so rest assured that we will be back to cover these protests again.
Whenever we attend an event where radical progressives are expected to attend, we are now required to hire security.
Our very own Sheila Gunn Reid was assaulted by Dion Bews a few years back, and as this video shows, Kian and I were repeatedly accosted and Kian was assaulted by an unhinged pro-restriction protestor. We are looking for help identifying the woman in the video — if you recognize her go to WhoIsThis.ca.
Rebel News will follow the story wherever it takes us, but security doesn’t come cheap, if you want to help us tell the other side of the story, consider chipping in at JournalistDefenceFund.com.