February 2022 regular graphics (6)

RCMP is disputing claims made by Premier Jason Kenney that their officers have been assaulted by truckers blockading the Coutts border crossing in southern Alberta.

“I am not aware of any assault on any of our officers,” RCMP Cpl. Curtis Peters told the Western Standard.

“I can confirm there was a number of vehicles that breached our barricade north of the blockade. The vehicles drove in fields and in the divide between the highways and ended up travelling southbound in the northbound lanes causing a head-on collision.”

Peters said the vehicles were travelling “fast and dangerously” causing RCMP officers to have to react quickly to avoid the vehicles.

“The manner they went down the highway was dangerous,” said Peters.

Kenney made the accusation of the assaults and “swarming” incidents during a press conference Tuesday afternoon.

The Western Standard has reached out to Kenney’s office for an explanation of the discrepancy.

“Premier Kenney heard reports of violence that involved officers, including reports that protesters breached checkpoints set up for safety which resulted in physical altercations and at least one motor vehicle collision,” said a statement from his office.

“It’s clear that this protest is both unlawful and is crossing lines, and putting people in danger, and our economy at risk. It’s time to end this blockade.”

“This is a serious situation,” Kenney said at a press conference Tuesday, describing incidents of RCMP being “swarmed” by protesters.

He said one RCMP vehicle was rammed which caused another accident.

Kenney said he was “disappointed that a small number had broken the law.

“This is totally unacceptable. I am calling for calm.”

Kenney said RCMP told him 10,000 vehicles initially took part in a rolling convoy around the border crossing and RCMP “have done what they can” to deal with the remaining 100 protesters.

He said the remaining truckers have “negotiated in bad faith” with the RCMP trying to bring the standoff to an end.

“Albertans respect the rule of law,” said Kenney, adding he would not cross RCMP lines to meet with protesters.

“I want to thank the RCMP and the thousands of truck drivers who just want to make a living,” said the premier, adding it appears the blockade would be there “for some time to come.”

Kenney said 30 truckers were trapped on the US side of the border by the blockade and had no food for three days until they were “thankfully released.”

Kenney said the Coutts crossing sees $6 million of goods passing through every day.

Kenney said Alberta ministers have been in touch with federal officials to ask for more staffing on Alberta’s three other border crossings into the US.

The truckers are protesting vaccine mandates in Canada and Alberta.

Melanie Risdon is a reporter for the Western Standard

Reporter (Alberta)

Melanie Risdon is an Alberta Reporter for the Western Standard and Alberta Report based in the Calgary Headquarters. She has over 20 years’ experience in media at Global News, Rogers and Corus.

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