The Whistle Stop Cafe is open again and serving food in defiance of lockdown orders – with owner Chris Scott cooking up the idea to run for provincial political office.
Scott told the Western Standard on Thursday he will seek the nomination for the Lacombe-Ponoka constituency for the Wildrose Independence Party (WIP).
Scott gained fame in mid-January being one of the first restaurants in the province to defy lockdown orders and reopen his rural cafe.
Last week, in a scene reminiscent of Prohibition-era tactics, the RCMP moved in and seized all his beer. On Wednesday, the RCMP and Alberta Health Services officials conducted seized the property and padlocked it.
“This is no longer about trying to avoid bankruptcy or trying to save the restaurant, this is about making sure this never happens again in Canada or Alberta,” Scott said, as customers stopped by for a coffee and pancakes while he made prepared orders in a makeshift kitchen outside his shuttered establishment.
“I really feel we have to get this out to as many people as possible. We have to make sure it never happens again.”
Scott says he has been in touch with Paul Hinman — former interim leader of the WIP, and currently campaigning for the full-time leadership of the party — to help him through the nomination process. He noted a Wildrose constituency association has just been set up in the area.
If he gets elected, Scott said the first bill he will bring forward is one entrenching personal rights and freedoms.
The constituency is currently held by the UCP’s Ron Orr.
Scott decided to defy provincial lockdown orders and restrictions introduced by the UCP government and opened his restaurant on Jan. 21. He said he received overwhelming support and daily visits from the Mounties.
Scott is the only gas station or restaurant in Mirror, a town of about 500, 50-km northeast of Red Deer, and now he’s seeing people from all over the province stopping in.
“The law is garbage – it”s doing more harm than good,” said Scott in an earlier interview with the Western Standard.
“It’s also a financial issue, my sister and I were just sitting back and watching our savings dwindle.
“If they want to throw me in jail for trying to earn a living, go ahead,” said Scott, who could face a raft of penalties from fines, loss of his liquor licence and even jail.
Scott has owned the cafe since July 2019, but it has been a fixture in town since 1967.
Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard