Four individual photos of men.
From left to right: Chris Carbert, Anthony Olienick, Jerry Morin and Christopher Lysak—the Coutts Four—each accused of conspiring to murder RCMP officers near Coutts, Alberta, during the border blockade and protests. [Source:]

In the 1970s, Canada held American Indian Movement (AIM) activist Leonard Peltier and turned him over to the U.S. Feds; Now the Coutts Four have been denied bail and have been in prison for more than 500 days without trial. The threat of domestic terrorism by right-wing groups is being invoked to justify shredding of civil liberties, much like in the U.S. 

Over five hundred and fifty days ago, between the evening of February 13 and afternoon of February 14, 2022, four men were arrested for their participation in Freedom Convoy protests at the Alberta border town of Coutts. 

They were charged with conspiracy to commit murder of police officers in support of a plot to overthrow the Government of Canada. Nicknamed the “Coutts Four,” they are landscaper Chris Carbert, electrician Chris Lysak, lineman Jerry Morin, and gravel truck owner Anthony “Tony” Olienick. They were taking part in protests about the vaccine mandates, and the unique requirement that truck drivers entering Canada be vaccinated.

The Coutts Four have been denied bail and have remained in custody for over 550 days. No trial date has been set. Pre-trial motions occurred between July 25 and 28 at the Lethbridge, Alberta, courthouse. 

The last truck blocking the southbound lane moves off after a breakthrough to resolve the impasse at a protest blockade at the United States border in Coutts, Alta., Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2022. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh)
The last truck blocking the southbound lane moves off after a breakthrough to resolve the impasse at a protest blockade at the United States border in Coutts, Alberta, on February 2, 2022. [Source:]

In Canada bail is usually granted no matter the accusation against someone considered innocent until proven guilty 

A quick online search makes it clear that even persons accused of murder are granted bail in Canada. 

In 2013, a case of double murder in the city of Mission in the Fraser Valley of British Columbia, concerned the deaths of Lisa Dudley and her boyfriend Guthrie McKay. Accused of first-degree murder, Tom Holden was released on bail.[1]  

In September 2021, 31-year-old Umar Zameer was released on bail after being charged with first-degree murder of Toronto Police Constable Jeffrey Northrup.[2]

In April 2022, Marlena Isnardy was released on bail two months after being charged with, and continues to await trial for, murdering 27-year-old Matthew Cholette in Kelowna, British Columbia.[3] And in March 2023, 22-year-old Ali Mian was released on bail as he awaited trial to answer charges of second-degree murder in the shooting death of an armed intruder, 21-year-old Alexander Amoroso-Leacock.[4] But the Coutts Four have not been granted bail. Meanwhile, others charged with first and second-degree murder are out on bail. What is going on here? 

Does the RCMP have a case that proves the accused pose a danger, if released on bail, and plan to violently overthrow the government? Or are their applications for bail denied partly as political theater within a larger government narrative to justify invocation of the Emergencies Act?

In 1166 the Assize of Clarendon ruling under England’s King Henry II established the tradition of habeas corpus (in Latin: “show me the body”) that gave those charged with a crime the right to appear in court to defend themselves. The 1166 judgment declared, “No Freeman shall be taken or imprisoned, or be disseized of his Freehold, or Liberties, or free Customs, or be outlawed, or exiled, or any other wise destroyed; nor will We not pass upon him, nor condemn him, but by lawful judgment of his Peers, or by the Law of the land.”[5] 

And in Section 38 of the Magna Carta, it states “No bailiff [legal officer] shall start proceedings against anyone [not just freemen, this was even then a universal human right] on his accusation alone [on his own mere say-so], without trustworthy witnesses having been brought for the purpose.”[6] Habeas corpus rights are part of the British legal tradition inherited by Canada. 

These rights exist in the common law and have been enshrined in section 10(c) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which states that “everyone has the right on arrest or detention…to have the validity of the detention determined by way of habeas corpus and to be released if the detention is not lawful.” While section 9(c) of the Charter states that a protected right of Canadian citizens is “freedom from arbitrary detention or imprisonment.”[7] But, in Canada with the Coutts Four detained in a remand center for more than 550 days, the government is making an exception. We have to ask why?

Donald Best, a former Toronto Police Sergeant Detective, has recently taken an interest in the case. He was surprised the four men were still in custody and denied bail after nearly a year and a half. Best suggests the denial of bail after such a long period of time smacks of political interference in the justice system. 

Does the denial of bail mean the four must be guilty? Yet the RCMP gathered evidence sloppily, even as they claimed other unknown persons were still at large and connected to a plot to overthrow the Canadian government. Astonishingly, the RCMP did not fingerprint or perform DNA tests of the firearms and other items that might have been connected with “other unknown” suspects. 

Basic investigating practice mandates determining if there are others involved in a plot. So, if you discover weapons after being granted a search warrant, you want to obtain fingerprints and DNA evidence. This can lead to the identities of those still at large connected to the alleged conspiracy. But the RCMP did not bag each item where it was found, nor did they protect each item for its secure transit to a forensic lab. 

Donald Best, former Toronto Police Sergeant, Detective. [Source:]

Donald Best writes, “Failure of police officers to adhere to fundamentals of exhibits collection and protection doesn’t just potentially weaken the prosecution’s case, it can also deny exculpatory evidence to the defense. Many times, I have seen otherwise good officers get ‘tunnel vision’ about a suspect or an investigation, and begin to pay attention only to evidence that supports their theory of the case and the crime. These officers become so focused that they will even deliberately exclude evidence that doesn’t support their vision of events.”

On February 14, the RCMP had on display a table with a cache of weapons on, leaning against, and at the foot of the table. An RCMP vehicle was in the background, announcing to local Coutts Freedom Convoy protesters, and the media, who had courageously foiled the plot to overthrow the government.

Best views the display table and photo-op as serving propaganda purposes and not a serious investigation. “Items have been arranged on the floor with five of the long-guns rather precariously leaning against the table for display. No (investigator) would normally position or store firearms in such a manner where a bump of the table might cause them to fall…” 

A photo of the cache of weapons “had a national impact and was used by both the media and the government as justification for invoking the Emergencies Act, and the police operations to arrest and clear Freedom Convoy protesters in Ottawa.”[8] It is not clear what connection the accused have to these weapon.

Table display of cache of weapons discovered by RCMP, February 14, 2022. [Source: Alberta RCMP]


In January 2022 Canadian mainstream media and politicians described an unruly mob headed for Ottawa. On January 26, 2022, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told Canadians there was a “fringe minority” with “unacceptable views” coming to Ottawa in a “so-called freedom convoy.”[9] 

Protesters began arriving in Ottawa on January 28, with the majority arriving the following day.  Inflammatory rhetoric from politicians and the media depicted the protesters as “terrorists,” “mercenaries,” “hillbillies,” “white supremacists,” “Nazis,” “insurrectionists,” “an unruly mob,” and more.[10]

In reality, the protesters exemplified wide disaffection cutting across a traditional left-right spectrum with Canada’s infringement of personal freedoms, including medical freedom, during the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns, and wide public skepticism about how the pandemic was being handled by authorities. 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appears as a witness at the Public Order Emergency Commission in Ottawa on November 25, 2022. [Source:]

At 4:30 p.m. on February 14, Trudeau invoked the Emergencies Act to crush the protests. Bank accounts of some hundreds of protesters were frozen. I have written previously about the crumbling case for justification of invoking the Emergencies Act. Testimony during the Public Order Emergency Commission in Ottawa in the fall of 2022 points to a politically driven motive, and not an unmanageable crisis on Parliament Hill.[11] 

The charges against protesters in Coutts, Alberta, across from Sweetgrass, Montana, were dealt with under the existing laws of the land on February 14. Yet, their arrests were cited as a reason to invoke the Emergencies Act.

“Comments made publicly, by public figures and in the media [about Ottawa protests] …were not premised in fact” – Supt. Patrick Morris (Ontario Provincial Police Intelligence)

After the Emergencies Act was invoked, it triggered a mandatory inquiry as prescribed in 1988 legislation passed by Parliament. A Public Order Emergency Commission (POEC) was held over six weeks in Ottawa during the fall of 2022. But the justification for invoking the Emergencies Act began to unravel as police and intelligence officers gave testimony. 

At 1:00 p.m. on February 14, 2022, prior to the Emergencies Act invocation, an Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) “Operational Intelligence Report” stated, “The mood today was again calm, festive, and family oriented. Speakers were again telling people to walk away from agitators and thanked the police for remaining calm. Many of the speakers were promoting love and peaceful protest, some even taking quotes from the Bible. Speakers were also wishing everyone a happy Valentine’s.” The memo noted there were “children on Wellington Street playing hockey.”[12]

Festive mood on display at Ottawa truckers’ protests. [Source:]

Supt. Patrick Morris, an Intelligence officer with the OPP, testified that “…the lack of violent crime was shocking…. If there was an actual threat, then there would have been an investigation, and if it was an actual threat, I assume the Ottawa Police Service would have laid a charge for uttering threats.” He “was concerned by the politicization. I was concerned by hyperbole and I was concerned by the affixing of labels without evidence to individuals’ movements et cetera.” He wrote that “comments made publicly, by public figures and in the media that I believed were not premised in fact…. I was leading the criminal intelligence collection of information and the production of criminal intelligence in relation to these events. So, I believed I was in a unique situation to understand what was transpiring. So, when I read accounts that the State of Russia had something to do with it; Or that this was the result of American influence, either financially or ideologically; Or that Donald Trump was behind it…I found it to be problematic…I did not see validation for those assertions….I did not see information that substantiated what was being said publicly and via the media. And I found that the subjective assertions sensationalized…and exacerbated conflict….So the labeling was problematic to me.”[13]   

Pat Morris of the Ontario Provincial Police waits to appear as witness before the Public Order Emergency Commission in Ottawa on October 19, 2022. [Source:]

Lies that were told

Comments made publicly by politicians and the media about the protests in Ottawa were described by police as “problematic,” “being controlled” and “one-sided.” Was the same true in Coutts? 

On February 1, 2022, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney spoke to the press and residents of the province. He stated that he had “received reports in the last hour of people allied with the protesters assaulting RCMP officers, including in one instance trying to ram members of the RCMP, later leading to a collision with a civilian vehicle in the area. This kind of conduct is totally unacceptable. Assaulting law enforcement officers who are simply doing their job to maintain public safety and the rule of law is completely unacceptable. And without hesitation, I condemn those actions…”[14]

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, February 2, 2022. [Source:]

But Rebel News reporters Kian Simone and Sydney Fizzard found Premier Kenney’s statements were untrue. Simone recorded a phone call he had with RCMP Corporal Curtis Peters. The officer stated, “There were no physical altercation[s] between RCMP officers and protesters. Yesterday, when we had protesters go around and breach the road block set up on Highway 4 to the north, there were some public safety concerns and officer safety concerns that took place there. Vehicles traveled through, drove through fields to get around the roadblock and then onto Highway 4. 

They were traveling southbound on Highway 4 in the northbound lanes. And that was happening at the same time we had a few vehicles leaving the protest and traveling northbound in the northbound lanes. So, we had a traffic-meeting head-on on the double-lane highway there. And we did have a collision take place. A head-on collision occurred as a result of all this between a person trying to reach the blockade and a person who was just traveling north on the highway. And fortunately, it was a relatively minor collision. But a confrontation which led to an assault took place as a direct result of that collision.”

Peters was asked, “was that an assault on an RCMP officer?” He told Rebel News, “No. That was an assault between two civilians, between a protester and a civilian.” Kian Simone pressed, “So, Jason Kenney’s statement was not true at the press conference.” RCMP Corporal Peters emphasized, “I can tell you what I just told you, sir. You can have my name. It’s Corporal Curtis Peters. I’m the spokesperson here. My badge number is 5-2-9-5-7.”[15]

On January 28, 2023, Coutts resident Joanne Person announced she might have evidence suggesting that the RCMP brought weapons in her home in February 2022, based on a cell phone recording her daughter made. She told a crowd who gathered to hear her speak in a hall in Coutts that the cell phone recording substantiates her claims. She made these newsworthy statements after her weapons charges were dropped on January 16, 2023.[16]   Person was never protesting at Coutts. She had simply been carrying a sign that read “Free Lunch For Truckers.” 

A close-up of a person smiling

Description automatically generated
Coutts resident Joanne Person after weapons and mischief charges were withdrawn, January 16, 2023. [Source:]

Media narrative about the Coutts Four 

The RCMP issued a press release on February 14, 2022, about arrests they had made in Coutts. It included a photo of an RCMP vehicle in the background, and a table in the foreground. Leaning against, on and below the table were weapons the RCMP said it “discovered” in “three trailers associated to [sic] this criminal organization.” The weapons displayed included 13 long guns, several handguns, multiple [three] sets of body armor, a machete, and high-capacity magazines. The press release did not name any of the individuals or the charges against them.[17] 

Alberta RCMP Superintendent Roberta McHale told Global News, “There was a heavy stash of weapons and these weapons were brought by people who had the intent on causing harm.” She explained that RCMP were looking into a number of charges. McHale added, “This was a very complex, layered investigation, and some people might ask why it took so long. These investigations aren’t necessarily easy.”[18]

On February 17, 2022, a Toronto Star headline read, “Father of accused in alleged Coutts blockade murder conspiracy says son was radicalized online, as others dispute RCMP narrative.” Mike Lysak’s son Chris is one of the four accused of conspiracy. The Toronto Star claimed Chris Lysak’s father expressed frustration observing his son “fall further and further into an online world of COVID-19 misinformation.” The Toronto Star reported the father said his son had become involved in Diagolon.  But, after the Toronto Star article was published, Mike Lysak told people I’ve spoken to in Alberta that the reporter twisted his words.

Two days prior, Global News ran a story about tweets from the Canadian Anti-Hate Network. The tweets announced the RCMP had seized “a plate carrier with Diagolon patches.” The tweets contended Diagolon was “an accelerationist movement that believes a revolution is inevitable and necessary to collapse the current government system.” Deputy Director for Anti-Hate, Elizabeth Simmons, raised the alarm about Diagolon.[19] “A lot of them claim to be ex-military and…have some kind of military training.” She added, “this is a very anti-Semitic group. It’s rife with neo-Nazis.” She pointed to the February 3, 2022, arrest in Nova Scotia of Jeremy MacKenzie on firearms charges.[20]

On February 3, 2022, Global News depicted Jeremy MacKenzie as the creator of Diagolon. An RCMP warrant to search MacKenzie’s home in Pictou, Nova Scotia, on January 26, 2022, cited a video where MacKenzie spoke about “Diagolona” (sic).  RCMP alleged MacKenzie planned to create a new nation from Alaska to Florida made up of two western provinces and 26 states in the U.S. 

A Canadian Armed Forces veteran of the Afghanistan War, MacKenzie attended Freedom Convoy protests in Ottawa. Yet his firearms charges are unrelated to the protests. MacKenzie had a firearms license. But he was charged with having an over-capacity magazine. The February 3rd news story added to the narrative that the protesters in Ottawa were violent. “Man who attended Ottawa protest convoy arrested on firearms charges,” ran the headline.[21]

Jeremy MacKenzie, Canadian Armed Forces veteran of the Afghanistan War. [Source:]

On February 17, 2022, Radio-Canada added to the growing narrative. Chris Carbert and Chris Lysak were described as men who have “ties to Jeremy MacKenzie, of the “American-style militia movement” Diagolon. Radio-Canada added this was a “neo-fascist, white supremacist…violent insurrectionist movement.” The news story echoed the narrative that it was the aim of Diagolon to “establish a white nationalist state…that would run diagonally from Alaska through western Canada’s provinces, all the way south to Florida.” 

Carbert, it was alleged, was “prepared to die in protest of government mandates.” Allegedly he posted on Facebook, stating “I’ll likely be dead soon and likely will be front page news…I will die fighting for what I believe is right and I mean this.” And, “I won’t live long. I’ve come to terms with this.” Radio-Canada stated that “Carbert has prior convictions for assault, drug trafficking and two drunk driving convictions.” Jerry Morin, posted on February 13, 2022, “This is war. Your country needs [you] more than ever now.”[22] 

However, a guest on the Good Morning with Jason Show in Alberta, Granny Mackay, has been closely following the case and in contact with the accused. It turns out Radio-Canada’s report that Chris Carbert had an assault conviction overstates the circumstances of police involvement. Before 2004, Carbert was given a conditional sentence resulting from a fight someone else in a bar started with him. The “drug trafficking” referred to in news reports, concerns Carbert being charged in his early twenties for “picking up some ecstasy for a friend.”

On April 25, 2022, the CBC reported that crown prosecutors Aaron Rankin and Matt Dalidowicz stated that the plan was to try all four men in one trial. Dalidowicz told the CBC that the cases for Carbert, Olienick and Morin were “moving quickly.” But there were complications with the Lysak case.[23] The Lethbridge Herald reported on June 10, 2022, that three of the Coutts Four had been denied bail, with Jerry Morin awaiting his bail hearing.[24]

In September 2022, some of the contents of the Information to Obtain search warrant (ITO) by RCMP Constable Trevor Checkley were made public. An Alberta judge allowed RCMP officers to search properties in Coutts after Checkley’s urgent request, swearing an oath that he believed a serious crime was about to be committed. In the ITO, Checkley swore before the judge, “I have reasonable grounds to believe that [Tony] Olienick, [Chris] Carbert and [Jerry] Morin were part of a group that participated in the Coutts blockade and brought firearms into the Coutts blockade area with the intention of using those firearms against police.” The officer attested that “I believe [these protesters were] arming themselves for a standoff against police.”[25]

On November 30, 2022, the Calgary Herald hollered “Some Coutts protesters wanted to alter Canada’s political system.” Undercover officers reported Anthony Olienick bragged that Chris Lysak was “a hitman, sniper and gun-fighter.” Checkley warned that Jerry “Morin said it was World War Three…and making everyone slaves was warfare.”[26] The CBC also ran a story detailing how the Coutts Four apparently made phone calls while in custody to bosses of their “extremist network…Diagolon.” There were unnamed bosses outside of Coutts who were directing the Coutts Four to agitate for a new government.[27] 

Jason Lavigne hosting his “Good Morning with Jason” podcast, July 12, 2023. [Source:]

Coutts arrests cited as basis for using the Emergencies Act

During the Public Order Emergency Commission in Ottawa in the fall of 2022, the protests at Coutts were on the A-list of events cited to justify invocation of the Emergencies Act. The Clerk of the Privy Council is Janice Charette. In testimony, she warned about the protests in Coutts. “We were seeing the results of the law enforcement activity and what was happening at Coutts and we were seeing the size of the stash of firearms and ammunition that were found in Coutts amongst the protesters. So, this was new and I would say relevant information in terms of just the nature of the threat that we were worried about in terms of the risk for serious violence.”[29] 

Janice Charette testified that “the situation at Coutts was more complex… It looked like it was getting fixed, then it was not getting fixed; looked like it was getting fixed, then it was not getting fixed….The quantity of weapons and ammunition that was discovered by the RCMP conducting that law enforcement activity was more than I would have expected. So that, to me, indicated a seriousness and a scale of the illegal activity that was either contemplated at Coutts or people were ready to engage in at Coutts…that was beyond…my prior expectations…” 

Janice Charette, Clerk of the Privy Council Office (right), looks at Prime Minister Trudeau as they walk on the tarmac, June 16, 2022. [Source:]

When discussing the Freedom Convoy protests across Canada, including Coutts, Janice Charette warned of insurrectionist intentions. “There was talk of overthrowing the government and installing a different government with a governor general…”[30]

Deputy Clerk of the Privy Council, Nathalie Drouin, was asked if she was aware that protesters in Coutts planned to leave the blockade. “Well, I was not aware of that. No, that’s not true. I have heard about the potential breakthrough in Coutts.…[P]rior to the enforcement action, we didn’t know about the cache.”[31]

Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino testified that Coutts was a trigger for cracking down on the Freedom Convoy protests. We did not know “exactly how…the operation in Coutts was going to play out at that time, and bearing in mind the sensitivities, the fact that the situation was combustible, that the individuals that were involved in Coutts were prepared to go down with a fight that could lead to the loss of life,…would [it] have triggered other events across the country.…[T]hat’s why I—in my mind, it was very much—it was a threshold moment.”[32]

Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino, June 2022. [Source:]

Trudeau’s National Security Adviser, Jody Thomas, discussed the decision-making process regarding invocation of the Emergencies Act. She wondered, can “acts of serious violence” include “the violence that people…of Ottawa were experiencing on the streets,…the inability of the Town of Coutts to function, is that a line?…There is a spectrum of activity and behavior and threat in there that we need to understand…”[33]

In her testimony before the POEC, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland spoke about the protests in Coutts as accelerating the sense that the government had to respond decisively to the Freedom Convoy. She recalled that, on February 12, 2022, when “we heard from the RCMP Commissioner about concerns that there were serious weapons in Coutts.…[T]hat really raised the stakes in terms of my degree of concern about what could be happening in this sort of whack-a-mole copycat situation across the country.”[34]

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland attending the World Economic Forum in Davos, 2018. [Source:]

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau explained that one of the reasons invoking the Emergencies Act was on the table “was [the] presence of weapons at Coutts…” Trudeau said once Premier Jason Kenney removed “a number of mandates” in Alberta, “the occupation at Coutts seemed to be emboldened… ‘Let’s keep going.’” Trudeau, who had raised the idea with Canadian premiers of invoking the Emergencies Act in March 2020 in response to the pandemic, admitted under cross-examination that he thought of invoking the Emergencies Act in response to the vaccine mandate protests “from the very beginning.” Possibly before the protesters arrived in Ottawa.[35]

Some time before the arrests in Coutts, the mayor of Coutts, Jimmy Willett, sent a text to CTV reporter Bill Graveland. In it the mayor described the protesters in Coutts as “Domestic Terrorists.” But he told Graveland in the text: “You need to find someone in a protected position to call these guys what they are, Domestic Terrorists. Won’t be me. They are right outside my window. I would be strung up, literally. Just a thought.”  

He stated that his wife saw some protesters “moving heavy hockey bags” and said “it’s guns.” His text was entered as evidence during Willett’s testimony before the POEC in Ottawa on November 9, 2022.[36] Why the mayor’s wife presumed that the hockey bags contained guns has not been followed up by any reporters. 

Mayor Jimmy Willett of Village of Coutts, Alberta, told public inquiry in Ottawa his village was besieged by domestic terrorists, November 9, 2022. [Source:]

The Creator of Diagalon

On Tom Marazzo’s “Meet Me in the Middle” podcast on June 20, 2023, Jeremy MacKenzie spoke about the lack of interest by the RCMP and the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service in asking him about Diagolon. He told Tom Marazzo on the podcast that, 16 months after the protests in the winter of 2022, “I still to this day have not been asked a single question by the RCMP or CSIS…regarding any of this [Diagalon].” MacKenzie asserted that the government of Canada needed a “punching bag” to scare citizens and invoke the Emergencies Act.[37]

At the POEC, MacKenzie testified from his prison cell in Saskatchewan Correctional Centre. MacKenzie confirmed that, in January 2021, he drew a diagonal line on his cell phone from Alaska, through Alberta and Saskatchewan, through the Dakotas, down to Texas and across to Florida and named it Diagalon. It became a brand name for followers on his podcasts. 

He made a plastic goat figurine, named Philip, the vice president of Diagalon. Philip, he explained to his viewers was a demonic time-traveling, cocaine addict. He pointed out that the official narrative about Diagolon as “militia” and “extremist,” has come from the largely government-funded Canadian Anti-Hate Network. MacKenzie observed how Anti-Hate posts scary articles about Diagalon which both the media and the police take at face value.[38] While in Ottawa, Jeremy MacKenzie posted that he wanted any of his followers at Freedom Convoy protests “If there’s a speed limit [go] slower than that. Don’t even litter. Don’t sit. Don’t even throw a snowball. Don’t give anyone any excuse to point at you and say, ‘Look what you’ve done.’”[39]

MacKenzie testified that he met Chris Lysak in person in Saskatchewan in the summer of 2021, including at a BBQ. As well, MacKenzie spoke to Lysak after charges for conspiracy to commit murder were laid. MacKenzie verified the patches on tactical vests on display by the RCMP on February 14, 2022, looked like Diagalon patches. “I really can’t speak to their origins,” stated MacKenzie.[40] During POEC testimony, it was recorded that the Afghan War veteran has no criminal record.

Should law enforcement take an organization with a plastic goat figurine as its vice president seriously? How might the United States government view an attempt to trigger the secession of 26 states from Alaska and Idaho across to Florida and north to Virginia? And could the Coutts Four, with their cache of weapons, consisting mostly of hunting rifles, a can of bear spray, and birdshot, be a catalyst for a secession of this magnitude? Or was this just a far-fetched story by the self-described “sarcastic” MacKenzie, and what he said was “a joke” to make fun of the Canadian intelligence community?

Map of Diagalon [Source:

Vaccine mandates for truck drivers a bridge too far

The Freedom Convoy protests began in response to the Canadian government ending the truck driver exemption from vaccination in order to cross the Canadian border. Truck drivers had enjoyed an exemption since the start of the pandemic and were hailed as heroes by Prime Minister Trudeau. No data about COVID-19 spread and truck drivers was presented to the House of Commons Health Committee in January 2022. 

Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam, and federal Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos, could not cite any data for the House of Commons Health Committee to show truck drivers were spreading COVID-19, January 13, 2022. [Source:]

For truck drivers entering the United States, Labor Secretary Marty Walsh clarified the Biden administration’s new regulations. “The ironic thing is most truckers are not covered by this, because they’re driving a truck, they’re in a cab, they’re by themselves, they wouldn’t be covered by this,” Walsh said. 

Though often framed as equivalent to Canadian mandates for truck drivers, American mandates were less restrictive. The U.S. administration mandate exempted workers “who do not report to a workplace where other individuals such as coworkers or customers are present.”[41] And there were no vaccine requirements for truck drivers entering Mexico. Canadian truck drivers were not being deprived of making a living due to regulations in the United States. 

United States Labor Secretary Marty Walsh, September 5, 2022. [Source:]

Original Search Warrant made no mention of Conspiracy to Commit Murder

A Search Warrant was issued on February 13, 2022, to RCMP Constable Trevor Checkley. The search was granted, effective 10:00 p.m., on that day, due to the officer’s sworn oath that he had reasonable grounds to suspect “Mischief Over $5,000.” The warrant was not issued on “weapons charges” or “conspiracy to commit murder.” The search stated officers could search for “Documents and data related to planning organization and operations of the protest group’s security for the Coutts blockade.” 

Warrant to Search, which was granted to RCMP Constable Trevor Checkley, in order for RCMP to search property of Coutts protester Chris Carbert, late on February 13, 2022. [Source:]

Those arrested in Coutts behaved like ordinary citizens, not terrorists

A question the lawyers for the Coutts Four need to determine is whether it is legitimate to have a Search Warrant for a minimum charge, if the RCMP believes a far more serious crime is about to unfold, but not name it in the search. Donald Best, the former Sergeant Detective with the Toronto Police, highlighted that, in order to get a Search Warrant, there are affidavits and likely photos presented to the judge to support the Information to Obtain search.

Danielle, a guest on the Good Morning with Jason podcast, is familiar with the timeline of arrests of the Coutts Four. The first person to get arrested was Christopher Lysak at 9:00 p.m., on February 13, 2022, “in front of Smuggler’s” Saloon, in Coutts. This was in front of many other protesters. When Anthony Olienick learned that Lysak might have been arrested, “he began videotaping and posting online saying he wished the cops would put their guns down and come and have coffee with us.” What Olienick did not do was head off and grab a bunch of guns and start a standoff with the police. Olienick was arrested about 9:50 p.m. 

This was “in amongst the protesters.”  Danielle reported that “Chris Carbert was sleeping in his trailer when they [RCMP] did the raid on the property….He also knew the other two had been arrested.” Yet, Carbert chose to go to bed. instead of trying to overthrow the government.

He was arrested around 12:30 a.m. on February 14, 2022. Later that day, after having gone to work in Calgary, Jerry Morin was arrested by the RCMP about 2:00 p.m.. At the time of his arrest, Morin knew the other three had been arrested. All of the Coutts Four were unarmed when they were arrested. None of them was running or hiding, Danielle said on the “Good Morning with Jason” podcast in Alberta.

Retired police sergeant Donald Best flags several problems with the timeline of arrests. “This is all politically driven. They [several Liberal cabinet ministers] knew about it in Ottawa before the warrant went down. We saw that from the Commission [POEC].…[T]hat means the politicians on the political side of this were involved in the creation of, and the timeline, and the date and time of execution; and if all that is true, and I believe it is…these men deserve to see their day in court. And they deserve to be out with an ankle bracelet, or whatever.”[42] Commenting on the cache of weapons displayed by the RCMP on February 14, 2022, local gun owner Zach Schmidt made this observation: “This is not what I would be choosing if I were to hypothetically [try] to take down the RCMP.” 

There were about 50 RCMP vehicles in the Coutts vicinity and…about a hundred officers…. This just looks like someone’s basement was raided. Numbers of the guns are rifles that would be better for hunting deer. There are no sniper rifles, no precision rifles. They’re just run-of-the-mill hunting guns….” Donald Best added, “When the RCMP were investigating the multiple shooting in Nova Scotia [in 2022], the lead investigators refused to release the types and photos of the weapons involved. Why? Because they’re in the middle of an investigation. They want to know where they came from. Contrast that with the RCMP action in Coutts.”[43]

Inadvertent disclosure and plausible gross misconduct by the prosecution

During pretrial motions between June 12 and 29, at one point there was an animated discussion between the judge, lawyers for the accused and the crown. Attending the hearing was Danielle, who spoke to Jason Lavigne on his podcast on July 13, 2023. 

She described how “the crown kept talking about the solicitor-client privilege.” A lawyer for one of the accused stopped them after a while. This lawyer said ‘Listen. This might not be the case that there’s evidence of unlawful activity. We’re talking about a disclosure that has been discovered.’” 

Danielle described how the crown had dumped thousands of pages of disclosure at the last minute on the defense. There was mention of “inadvertent disclosure” on a number of occasions. 

Danielle told Jason Lavigne, “I don’t believe they [defense lawyers] were supposed to have found it. I think she kind of found it. And she got excited that she found it. And then everybody got a lot more excited after the content of that was more apparent to them. Again, we’re not privy to exactly what’s in that conflict of disclosure. The crown mentioned that due to the content, the disclosure conflicted not only about the disclosure. It is also in regards to two of the crown prosecutors….This application [by the defense] coming up, the crown prosecutors are going to have to be witnesses. So, they [the crown prosecutors who were representing the case for the crown] are going to be part of the hearing.”

Danielle described to Jason the importance of this moment during the pre-trial motions. The defense made an application to the court during disclosure related to the cross-examination of one of the witnesses as the case against the accused was being built. Danielle stated, “There were notes. There were scribbled notes in one book. And there were scribbled notes in another book from the scribes that were hired for this [witness]. And there was also another scribe that had been hired that had…typed notes.…[I]t was discovered that the typed notes were never submitted to the defense counsel. 

However, the witness had testified, “I’ve given the crown everything that I have.” A large pile of typed notes were discovered. It was problematic that the content of the scribbled notes, and the content of the typed notes contained crucial discrepancies. The defense was excited about this inadvertent discovery. And several crown prosecutors look like they may have to testify as defendants in future proceedings and possibly answer to charges of gross misconduct.[44]

Another guest on the “Good Morning with Jason” podcast, Margaret “Granny” Mackay, has also attended the pretrial motions of the Coutts Four in the Lethbridge, Alberta courthouse. She also witnessed the astonishing developments that Danielle described to viewers of the Good Morning with Jason podcast on July 13, 2023.

Alberta Political Prisoners Facebook page poster, July 13, 2023. [Source:]

During pretrial motions at the end of July, RCMP Chief Superintendent, Kevin Kunetzki, revealed that the RCMP had been investigating whether  the alleged conspiracy to commit murder was rooted in a religious movement. RCMP were looking into whether the Netherlands Reform Church in Fort Macleod, Alberta, was involved. He claimed the Coutts “protest was rooted in a religious church.” He added that a “religious movement had a stash of firearms.” Suddenly, that changed and it was Diagolon, not the church, inspiring the Coutts Four.[45]

The government contends that four Canadian citizens, who collectively are fathers of seven children, and have no criminal records, are guilty of conspiracy to murder police officers. It alleges that these four, two who were friends from school, but otherwise strangers to one another, got acquainted in Coutts and hatched a conspiracy.

There is no evidence of any specific RCMP officer being targeted by the accused. There is no specific time or event entered as evidence. The RCMP stated in conjunction with the February 14, 2022 press release that there were “unknown others” involved in directing the accused to commit conspiracy to murder. As of August 2023, no one else has been charged, investigated or interviewed about their possibly being one of the “unknown others” the RCMP was interested in. This includes Jeremy MacKenzie.  

The Defense has made a CC1 application to the judge with regard to the conduct of one or more crown prosecutors. A CC1 application is a criminal code application. In this case, the Defense contends that the prosecution in its investigation may be guilty of “gross misconduct” and “crime fraud.” These are serious allegations.[46]

A Facebook group has sprung up under the name Alberta Political Prisoners. The RCMP and the crown may have a strong case to convict the four accused of conspiracy to commit murder. But it might not be very solid. They might be hoping the accused will buckle under the extraordinary length of custody. The case has been largely obscured behind publication bans that the media are using to justify a near blackout of reporting. The publication ban relates to the contents of the Information to Obtain applications by police and/or the prosecution. There has been minimal information that has emerged in RCMP press releases, and Information To Obtain requests, and pretrial motions in June.

At the inquiry in Ottawa, evidence was entered related to Chrystia Freeland’s note made prior to February 14, 2022. In her November 24, 2022 testimony, she was reminded of what she wrote. “We need to move faster. We need a new playbook. You need to designate this group as a terrorist group.” Someone named “Dave” was the “you” in this instance. But under cross examination, Freeland could not recall Dave’s surname. Was it David Vigneault, the Director of CSIS, the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service? She stated that “one hundred percent” she did not meet with David Vigneault around this time. But, did she make a phone call? Were Freeland’s notes indicative of a political agenda that led to the arrest of the Coutts Four?[47] 

Chris Carbert has been leading a Bible study in the remand center. Jerry Morin has led inmates in yoga classes. A guard told Morin after he’d been in custody for a few weeks, “This is weird. We were expecting a lot of different behavior from you. We thought that you were a white supremacist.”[48] The Coutts Four may not be insurrectionists after all. Instead, they may be political prisoners in the brave new world of Justin Trudeau’s Canada.

  1. “Accused in Mission double murder released on bail,” CBC, October 17, 2013. 

  2. Caryn Lieberman, “Suspect charged in connection with death of Toronto officer granted bail,” Global News, September 22, 2021. 

  3. Jacqueline Geleneau, “Kelowna woman charged with murder released on bail,” Kelowna Capital News, April 28, 2022.

  4. Catherine McDonald, “Milton, Ont. man accused of murdering armed intruder released on bail,” Global News, March 2, 2023. 

  5. Ernest F. Henderson, “Assize of Clarendon, 1166,” in Select Historical Documents of the Middle Ages, (London, George Bell and Sons, 1896). 

  6. Magna Carta, 1215, Section 38 

  7. “Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms,” Constitution Act of 1982, 1982. 

  8. Donald Best, “Denying Bail to the Coutts Four Is a Political Decision and Act,”, July 8, 2023 

  9. Rachel Gilmore, “‘Fringe minority’ in truck convoy with ‘unacceptable views’ don’t represent Canadians: Trudeau,” Global News, January 26, 2022.

  10. Anna Farrow, “I saw a mob; it wasn’t truckers,” The Catholic Register, January 31, 2022.

  11. Ray McGinnis, “Commission Reveals that Trudeau Government Lied About Nature of Truckers Protests in Ottawa…,” CovertAction Magazine, February 28, 2023. 

  12. Pete Wilson, “Police Called Convoy Protest ‘Calm, Festive’ on Same Day Emergencies Act Was Invoked: Internal Memo,” The Epoch Times, November 3, 2022.

  13. “Supt. Patrick Morris, Sworn,” Public Order Emergency Commission, Ottawa, October 19, 2022, pp. 184-305.  

  14. Ashley Joannou, “Kenney calls for calm, says RCMP officers assaulted at Coutts border crossing,” Edmonton Journal, February 2, 2022. 

  15. Kian Simone and Sydney Fizzard, Trucker Rebellion: The Story of the Coutts Blockade, Rebel News, August 19, 2022. 

  16. Sydney Fizzard, “Conspiracy at the Coutts Blockade? Resident claims RCMP planted evidence at her home,” Rebel News, February 9, 2023.

  17. “Alberta RCMP make arrests at Coutts Border Blockade,” RCMP, February 14, 2022. 

  18. Caley Gibson, “RCMP arrest 13 people, seize weapons and ammunition near Coutts border blockade,” Global News, February 14, 2022.  

  19. Kieran Leavitt and Omar Mosleh, “Father of accused in alleged Coutts blockade murder conspiracy says son was radicalized online, as others dispute RCMP narrative,” Toronto Star, February 17, 2022.

  20. Paula Tran, “Anti-hate experts concerned about possible neo-fascist involvement at Alberta trucker convoy,” Global News, February 15, 2022. 

  21. Stewart Bell, “Man who attended Ottawa protest convoy arrested on firearms charges,” Global News, February 3, 2022.

  22. “The Coutts 13: New details on the men and women arrested at border blockade,” Radio-Canada, February 17, 2022.

  23. Meghan Grant, “4 men accused of conspiring to murder RCMP officers to be tried together: prosecutors: Chris Lysak, Chris Carbert, Anthony Olienick, Jerry Morin charged after Coutts protests,” CBC, April 25, 2022.

  24. Delon Shurtz, “Bail denied for accused in Coutts conspiracy case,” Lethbridge Herald, June 10, 2022. 

  25. Kevin Martin, “‘Arming for a standoff against police,’” Regina Leader-Post, Regina, SK, September 8, 2022.

  26. Kevin Martin, “Some Coutts protesters wanted to alter Canada’s political system, court documents say,” Calgary Herald, November 30, 2022. 

  27. Rachel Ward and Meghan Grant, “Bosses of Alberta men accused in plot to murder Mounties still under investigation, court docs suggest,” CBC, December 1, 2022.

  28. Jason Lavigne, “The Coutts Four | Day 515,” “Good Morning with Jason” podcast, July 13, 2023. 

  29. “Ms. Janice Charette, Sworn, Ms. Nathalie Drouin, Affirmed,” Public Order Emergency Commission, Ottawa, November 18, 2022, p. 163.

  30. “Ms. Janice Charette, Sworn, Ms. Nathalie Drouin, Affirmed,” Public Order Emergency Commission, Ottawa, November 18, 2022, pp. 183-184.

  31. Ibid., pp. 296-297.

  32. “Minister Marco Mendicino, Sworn,” Public Order Emergency Commission, Ottawa, November 22, 2022, p. 168.

  33. “Ms. Jody Thomas, Sworn,” Public Order Emergency Commission, Ottawa, November 17, 2022, p. 225.  

  34. “Deputy PM Chrystia Freeland, Sworn,” Public Order Emergency Commission, Ottawa, November 24, 2022,

  35. “Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Affirmed,” Public Order Emergency Commission, Ottawa, November 25, 2022, pp. 42, 52, 76..

  36. “Mayor Jimmy Willett, Sworn,” Public Order Emergency Commission, Ottawa, November 9, 2022, pp. 29, 31-32.

  37. Tom Marazzo, “Jeremy MacKenzie Interview,” “Meet Me in the Middle” podcast, June 21, 2023.

  38.  “Mr. Jeremy Mitchell MacKenzie, Affirmed,” Public Order Emergency Commission, Ottawa, November 4, 2022, pp. 151-152, 157, 218. 

  39. Ibid., p. 164.

  40. Ibid., pp. 176-193.

  41. Spencer Kimball, “Labor secretary says most truck drivers are exempt from Covid mandate, handing industry a win,” CNBC, November 5, 2021. 

  42. Lavigne, “The Coutts Four | Day 515” (See Note 28 above).

  43. Jason Lavigne, “The Coutts Four | Day 506,” “Good Morning with Jason,” July 4, 2023. 

  44. Lavigne, “The Coutts Four | Day 515” (See note 28).

  45. Lavigne, Jason, “The Coutts Four | Day 509,” “Good Morning with Jason,” July 7, 2023.

  46. Ibid.

  47. “Day 30 of Public Hearings,” Public Order Emergency Commission, Ottawa, November 24, 2022. (See testimony starting at 2:50:00).

  48. Lavigne, Jason, “The Coutts Four | Day 509,” Good Morning with Jason, July 7, 2023.

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