April 30, 2021

-Western Standard


RCMP officers along with Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission (AGLC) inspectors have raided the Whistlestop Cafe – one of the first establishments in Alberta to defy the provincial COVID-19 lockdown order in January.

During a Friday morning raid, officers seized beer from the establishment in Mirror.

The AGLC had previously taken away their liquor licence.

In scenes looked like the prohibition era, an RCMP officer packed up all the Whistlestop’s beer without the owner’s consent and carted it away.

“We are interpreting the Act differently,” said owner Chris Scott to the RCMP officer.

“You are saying I’m guilty of not following the Liquor Act until I can prove myself innocent.”

Scott and the AGLC official argued over the situation and the official made it clear the order was coming from the top of his organization – vice president Dave Barry.

Scott said he sent a letter to AGLC officials more than a week ago outlining what actions he was going to take in relation to booze, but noted he hadn’t received a reply.

“I offered compliance,” said Scott.

The woman who was videotaping the incident told the officials they “haven’t sold any liquor since the licence was taken away. There are no ads for it.”

Undeterred, the RCMP officer packed up all the booze in a paper evidence bag.

Scott told the officer to keep it.

“I waive my right to have it returned to me. Once you remove it from the fridge it’s yours,” Scott said.

Scott and patrons then discussed ordering booze in and enjoying it outside the restaurant in a park.

“I’m just doing my job,” said the RCMP officer, as people muttered “Nuremberg” in the background.

After the officials left, Scott realized they had missed some booze in the back, so he collected it and ran it out to them while they were still in the parking lot.

Scott decided to defy provincial lockdown orders and restrictions introduced by the UCP government and opened his restaurant on Jan. 21. He said he has received overwhelming support, and daily visits from the Mounties.

Scott is the only gas station/cafe in the town of about 500, 50 km northeast of Red Deer, and now he’s getting people from all over the province stopping in.

“The law is garbage – it”s doing more harm than good,” said Scott in an earlier interview with the Western Standard.

“It’s also a financial issue, my sister and I were just sitting back and watching our savings dwindle.”

“If they want to throw me in jail for trying to earn a living, go ahead,” said Scott, who could face a raft of penalties from fines, loss of his liquor licence and even jail.

Scott has owned the cafe since July 2019, but it has been a fixture in town since 1967.