‘We Want to See It Win in Coutts’: Video Shows Danielle Smith Endorsing Illegal Convoy Blockade
UCP leader and top adviser voiced support for ‘beautiful’ border blockade, describing it as a ‘line in the sand’ against public health measures
A newly resurfaced video shows Alberta UCP leader Danielle Smith endorsed the Ottawa convoy occupation and Coutts border blockade as a means to force an end to public health measures across Canada.
Last week, Smith faced heavy criticism after posing for photos with James Bauder, a prominent convoy organizer who is now facing extensive criminal charges. Smith denies knowing who Bauder is, though Bauder himself doesn’t buy her story.
But the UCP leader’s recent attempt to distance herself from the convoy stand in clear contrast with her own past statements.
Several months before her whirlwind rise to Premier of Alberta, Smith endorsed the convoy occupation of Ottawa and illegal blockade at the Canada-US border in Coutts, Alberta during an appearance on a right-wing website.
A massive police operation would eventually end the Ottawa convoy occupation while four heavily armed individuals associated with far-right extremist groups were arrested in Coutts on charges they were conspiring to murder police.
Two weeks earlier, former Premier Jason Kenney pleaded with convoy supporters to dial down the temperature and deescalate a potentially dangerous situation:
“I call for calm amongst anybody who feels sympathetic for those engaged in this blockade. Please stay away from the area. Please do not further intensify an already difficult situation.”
But a week after Kenney’s “call for calm,” Smith went beyond expressing sympathy with the grievances of those in Ottawa and Coutts and endorsed the actions by stating that she wanted to see the convoy “win.”
Smith was asked about her views on Coutts in a February 2022 livestream broadcast by the Western Standard.
“This whole phrase of ‘peace, order and good government’, I think it’s become a shorthand to the federal government can do whatever the heck it wants and we just have to be peaceful and orderly about it,” Smith says when asked about Coutts.
“That’s not, in my view, what it should mean.”
Smith goes on to raise concerns about vaccine mandates across federally regulated industries, floating the unfounded idea that in the future, to open a “bank account you’re going to have to be vaccinated.”
“This is the line in the sand that’s been drawn,” Smith states. “The federal government has so much more planned, they have so much more coming and I think this is the reason why we want to see this win.”
“We want to see it win so that they don’t end up rolling out the full plan and we want to see it win in Coutts so that Jason Kenney, Scott Moe together become the first premiers to turn it around at the provincial level so that other premiers will follow.”
Smith’s interview, which was livestreamed on February 8, 2022, came on the same day that the Government of Alberta made an announcement declaring the blockade at Coutts a threat to public safety.
“The constitutional rights to freedom of assembly and expression have reasonable limits when protesters threaten public safety,” then-Justice Minister Sonya Savage told a press conference. “We believe that the Coutts blockade has crossed this line.”
Savage added that “this protest is no longer peaceful and is causing hardship to thousands of law-abiding Albertans,” noting that blockaders were disrupting traffic and impeding emergency vehicles.
“The situation has become intolerable and it has to end,” Savage said.
The Coutts border blockade needs to end. Please see below my statement in full: https://t.co/uNwJ2Gffed
— Sonya Savage (@sonyasavage) February 8, 2022
The Western Standard livestream includes a number of familiar faces.
Smith was asked about Coutts by Bruce McAllister, who now serves as the official UCP war room spokesperson and broadcasts nightly videos “fact-checking” the media.
Smith also appears alongside Rob Anderson, a top adviser who recently served as the Executive Director of the Premier’s Office.
In the video, Anderson describes the Coutts border blockade as a “beautiful thing.”
“Rob, frankly, I’m surprised that you haven’t — or maybe both of you — saddled up and ridden down to see what’s going on,” McAllister says. “It’s been quite the Freedom Convoy in Coutts.”
“Yeah it has and I think it’s a beautiful thing,” Anderson replies. “I just think the whole Freedom Convoy, and that would include what’s going on at Coutts and capitals around the country … is one of the most important events certainly in recent Canadian history and I would say in Canadian political history.”
Smith’s top adviser would go on to suggest COVID-19 public health measures were created by “the Left” for the ulterior purpose of “controlling the population,” adding that he fears public health rules introduced in response to the pandemic will soon be reintroduced to respond to “the climate crisis.”
“Don’t be surprised — I’m telling you right now, don’t be surprised — if these same methods are used to restrict movement, to restrict how much you can travel, to restrict what you can drive,” Anderson warns.
“These are things that the Left believes are necessary in order to deal with controlling the population to deal with problems that they see as problems.”
“These are dangerous things,” Anderson states. “that’s why I think right now, it is critical that conservatives see this for what it is, see it for the danger that it is, and put a stop to it, whether that be at Coutts or in Ottawa or anywhere else.”
With Smith visibly nodding in agreement, Anderson adds: “These conservative premiers need to be first to put a stop to it at the provincial level.”
Neither the UCP nor Danielle Smith’s spokesperson responded to requests for comment from PressProgress.
In recent months, Smith has been embroiled in a scandal over judicial interference allegations after a secret video recording showed her assuring Artur Pawloski, one of the leaders of the Coutts blockade, that she would speak to prosecutors about his criminal charges, adding that she speaks to prosecutors “almost weekly.”
Smith tells Pawloski she will follow up with her top adviser, Rob Anderson, noting that she did not want to get into the same “hot water” that Justin Trudeau did during the SNC Lavalin scandal.
On Tuesday, Pawlowski was found guilty on charges of mischief for encouraging convoy supporters to continue blocking the border, as well as wilfully damaging or destroying essential infrastructure and a breaching a release order.
In the February 2022 Western Standard video, Anderson shares a “nightmare scenario” for how he feared the convoy could end, warning that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is a “dangerous dude” with “very tyrannical leanings.”
“I’m hoping that the nightmare scenario doesn’t happen where he does something like in the southern US where he sicks the dogs on these good people and gets the military involved.”
“Justin Trudeau is incapable of telling the truth, everything he says is acting, and this guy is a dangerous dude,” Smith’s adviser adds later. “If he doesn’t get his way, he’s the type of person who will do desperate things.”
“If any truckers are listening in Ottawa or anywhere else, I would just say hold the line, stay calm, do not get goaded into any kind of violence or fight by people in plainclothes that may be there for a nefarious purpose.”
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