The High River Cover-up Continues


Gun grab commentary

dennisryoungby Dennis R. Young
RCMP (ret.)

On June 20, it will be one year since thousands of residents of High River, Alberta had to run for their lives to escape flood waters that inundated a large part of that town and flooded many of the 4,000 homes.

A State of Local Emergency was declared by the town council and the town’s people were ordered to evacuate. Two hundred and seventy-three Mounties and three hundred and thirty soldiers descended on High River.

25 June 2013: RCMP officers in High River, Alberta, looking for some guns to bugger off with.

During the night of June 20-21, Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) helicopters rescued 31 people from the rooftops of their homes in High River. According to hundreds and hundreds of pages of documents obtained from the RCMP and the Department of National Defence, through Access to Information Act requests, these 31 people were the last people to be rescued by either the CAF or the RCMP.

How can that be you ask, when everyone has heard that the RCMP with the help of the military searched 4,000 homes including kicking in the doors to almost 2,000 of them? Sadly, no one has yet been able to answer that question or many others. In fact, most of the questions folks were all asking on September 5, 2013 at MLA Danielle Smith’s Town Hall meeting in High River remain unanswered to this day:

  • Who ordered the RCMP to search and kick in the doors to High River homes and why? Is it true that police didn’t do this in any of the 29 other communities that were flooded?
  • Why did the police man roadblocks with spike belts to keep residents out of High River for nine days? Police didn’t do this in any other evacuated Alberta communities.
  • Why were the regular RCMP officers posted to High River sent away on June 24 when “hard decisions” were being made? What were these “hard decisions”?
  • Why didn’t the RCMP get a warrant to break into thousands of homes? They had lots of time to do it.
  • Why didn’t the RCMP use the CAF helicopters equipped with thermal imaging technology to find survivors?
  • Why did the RCMP kick in the doors to homes that weren’t flooded?
  • Why did the RCMP kick in doors to homes that were left unlocked?
  • Why did the RCMP kick in doors inside a number of High River homes?
  • Why did the RCMP search some homes more than once, in fact, three times for one firearms owner?
  • Who ordered the RCMP to seize firearms, ammunition, magazines, and other implements of defence?
  • Why did the RCMP say they were only seizing firearms that were in “plain view” when so many residents claim their firearms were well hidden?
  • Why did the RCMP blank out the “Location Where Recovered” on lists of the 609 guns they seized?
  • Why did the RCMP clearly target homes with firearms and kick in doors to get them?
  • Why did the RCMP seize ammunition and magazines when they already had the guns?
  • Why did the RCMP destroy 7,500 pounds of ammunition?
  • Why won’t the RCMP tell us how many and what type of charges they laid as a result of their searches?
  • Why did the CAF provide transportation to the RCMP to the High River homes when their orders from the Minister and the Chief of Defence Staff specifically ordered them not to engage in law enforcement activities?
  • Why did the RCMP keep kicking in doors and seizing guns after June 24 when the CAF said there was no further risk to life and limb?
  • Why did the CAF continue to assist the RCMP with their unwarranted door-to-door search and seizure operation for two more days after the CAF said there was no further risk to life and limb?
  • Why did the RCMP defend their actions in High River by saying they did the same thing in Slave Lake, Alberta but won’t release any documentation of what they did during the Slave Lake evacuation in 2011?
  • Why was a Provincial State of Emergency declared in High River on June 28 – the same day the media reported that the RCMP was seizing firearms in High River?
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So the cover-up continues. What really happened in High River and why did it happen at all?

On July 5, 2013, the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP initiated an investigation into the High River mess. After two extensions, the Commission says they will have their report finished next month. If the Commission’s report doesn’t answer all of the above questions, and others I didn’t have room for in this Commentary, a judicial enquiry will be the only way to get to the bottom of this colossal violation of property rights, privacy rights and the right to be secure from search and seizure for the High River residents. And, there will be no way to stop the RCMP from doing the same thing when a state of emergency is declared in another town –  maybe your own.

For more details please see my Eighth Letter to the Commission for Public Complaints Commission and my Letter to the Minister of National Defence: here and here.


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