Blue Line

Coutts mayor says RCMP was caught off guard by blockade despite warnings

November 9, 2022  By The Canadian Press

Nov. 9, 2022, Ottawa, Ont. – The mayor of Coutts, Alta., says RCMP appeared to be caught off-guard by a protest blockade of the U.S – Canada border crossing last winter, even though he warned the provincial government it could happen.

Jim Willett is testifying at the public inquiry investigating the federal government’s invocation of the Emergencies Act in an effort to clear protests that blockaded downtown Ottawa and several border crossings last winter.

Willett sent an email to then-premier Jason Kenney and the provincial solicitor general on Jan. 27 to warn about the potential of a blockade, and was assured the RCMP had been alerted.

He was worried about maintaining vital access to the highway in the small border town of 245 people, but says he also warned the protest could result in an international incident.


On Jan. 29 a large convoy of trucks gathered at the border, with some driving onto the median and ditches and blocking the road.

The mayor says the RCMP didn’t establish a large police presence until three days later.

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