Anti-lockdown activist Christopher Scott says COVID mandates were all about control rather than keeping people safe.
“The government bureaucracy, there is no limit to how far they will to try and go to crush those who oppose them,” said Scott during his testimony at the National Citizen’s Inquiry on Friday.
Scott, who owns the Whistle Stop Cafe in Mirror and is on trial for violating health orders during the pandemic, said the restrictions were devastating to people, their families and businesses.
“The damage was unbelievable so I decided I was going to exercise my constitutionally protected right to protest. I opened my restaurant in protest of government policies not aligned with our rights as Canadians,” Scott said on the third and final day of the inquiry’s hearings in Red Deer.
Scott faces seven charges of violating the Public Health Act and one violation under the Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Act after health inspectors and RCMP officers made numerous visits between January and April 2021 to check on his restaurant after he had been warned he was violating health orders in place at the time prohibiting in-person dining.
His lawyers allege that Alberta Health Services, RCMP and other government agencies joined forces to target Scott.
“I was arrested and incarcerated for exercising my charter right to protest bad government policy,” Scott told the inquiry.
He said testimonies given by Canadians during the inquiry are similar to the stories he heard from people as they flooded into his cafe.
“It wasn’t just a cafe and a gas station in a dusty little town anymore. It became this place where people went to because it was a symbol of freedom and hope because somebody was doing something.
“We’ve had people from all over the country show up there. There were people driving eight or 12 hours to come and have a burger at the Whistle Stop Cafe,” Scott said.
Red Deer hearings were being held at Baymont by Wyndham, from April 26 to 28. Inquiry spokesperson Michelle Leduc Catlin said it was standing room only at the hearings that could accommodate about 200 people. An overflow room with a screen was also set up.
About 45 people testified in Red Deer.
“I think every city has built on the last. There is more public awareness. There is more public participation. It just continues to grow. I think we learn something in each city,” Leduc Catlin said.
She said it’s an inquiry unlike any other. It was created by citizens and it is hearing from people who have not been heard.
Since March, hearings have been held in Nova Scotia, Toronto, Winnipeg and Saskatoon. Next on the schedule is Vancouver, followed by Quebec City, and Ottawa.
Hearings are also broadcast live at nationalcitizensinquiry.ca.