Canadian Anti-Hate Network
The investigation into a plot to attack police officers during February's blockade protests at the Alberta-Montana border continues and has reportedly identified potential leadership outside of the group arrested outside of Coutts.
On February 14, 2022, RCMP in Alberta arrested 13 individuals in an early morning raid. Among that group, four men – Anthony Olienick, Chris Carbert, Jerry Morin, and Christopher Lysak – have been accused of conspiracy to commit murder.
According to the CBC, documents unsealed after a nine-month legal battle with the public news agency, Global, CTV, Postmedia, and the New York Times include the revelation that law enforcement have identified a suspected leadership team outside of the Coutts border protest site. Beyond the end of mandates, CBC reports the unsealed documents allege they also sought the "elimination … of the professional political class.”
Of the accused, Olienick has also been charged with possessing an explosive device after a subsequent search of his residence found “tactical gear and two pipe bombs.” Lysak faces additional charges of uttering threats
No information has been released identifying these supposed “leaders” due to the ongoing investigation, though CBC notes there had been tension between the alleged leadership and the men on the ground. Carbert reportedly told an undercover officer that one of the leaders was "a coward" due to their refusal to come to the protest site, meanwhile, Lysak and Olienick were reportedly "getting ready to f--king go."
The Calgary Herald reported that in a sworn Information To Obtain (ITO) affidavit by Const. Trevor Checkley outlined the status of the Mounties’ investigation as of May 4 to support a warrant to seize the mens’ phones.
Police also pointed specifically to a text message, according to CBC, telling the men at the protest to spread the word to alternative and social media that the blockade’s goals included upending Canada's political and medical institutions.
“Carbert received a text message from (a redacted name) and was told to share a message with non-mainstream media and on social media,” Checkley wrote in his ITO according to the Herald.
“The message and a related follow-up text from (redacted name) stated the protest was not just about ending vaccine and public health mandates but altering Canada’s political, justice and medical systems, including the elimination of a group of people referred to as the professional political class.”
“(Redacted name) also shared the above message from (redacted name) in a group text chat with Carbert, Lysak and Olienick.”
Undercover officers who were previously reported as present when Olienick and Carbert met with Morin to receive a package believed to contain guns were also mentioned. The application notes the officers asking Olienick if the delivery went well, but learning that not all of the weapons expected had been delivered.
“Olienick told the (undercover officers) if the RCMP came in with force they would be met with greater force and that the RCMP were the enemy. Olienick also said he was willing to die for the cause,” the Herald article states.
Few Updates Since February
Little has been revealed by the RCMP since the Alberta arrests of a “small organized group” from within the larger protest held at the border crossing in Coutts, though police did allege that the individuals in question had access to a large cache of firearms and ammunition.
Among the seized gear were patches showing the black and white flag of Diagolon, the banner of a fictional country used by the network of fans of a collective of conspiracy-focused, survivalist streamers called the Plaid Army. Within the network members have repeatedly stated they are armed and preparing for violence, often expressing sentiments akin to accelerationism, and viewing a coming collapse or civil war as necessary to right the tilted course of the country.
“The group was said to have a willingness to use force against the police if any attempts were made to disrupt the blockade,” Alberta RCMP wrote in a press release. “This resulted in an immediate and complex investigation to determine the extent of the threat and criminal organization.”
Police noted seizing 13 long guns, an unspecified number of handguns, multiple sets of body armour, high-capacity magazines, and a machete.
All four of the men accused of plotting to harm police have been denied bail. The trial is scheduled to begin in June 2023.
The reaction to the seizures was swift online and within the camp, with videos coming out in the aftermath of individuals purporting to know that the weapons had nothing to do with the blockade itself. The arrests prompted many involved in the Coutts blockade to leave the protest.
“Don’t feel like we’ve lost,” one speaker told a gathered crowd from a wooden stage in February. “We have made a huge, huge impact.”
Remarking that law enforcement had taken the license plates of all involved and that enforcement may come later, the man added “Right now we are able to leave peacefully.”
Another speaker commented on the gun seizures directly: “The government has made it about guns now. Now we’re violent gun-toting criminals. That’s not the way it started out and that’s not the way it’s supposed to finish.”
RCMP also point to an incident the evening before the arrests where a “large farm tractor and a semi-truck” involved in the blockade attempted to ram a police vehicle, in a display of what police called the “militant mindset of a small segment of the protest.”
“The police officer was able to reposition and avoid the collision. RCMP officers followed the suspects to a location where the protesters were gathered. The driver of the tractor was identified and we are actively working to locate him so he can be taken into custody.”
The Alberta RCMP says it has seized the farm tractor and semi-truck involved in this incident.
None of the allegations against any of the individuals have been borne out in court.