Governments still hiding many facts and overlooking 4,666 Charter Violations!

Update: High River Forced Entries, Unwarranted Searches and Seizures


By —— Bio and Archives September 10, 2015

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The truth must be very bad when both the Federal Government and the Government of Alberta are going to such great lengths to keep all the High River records under such tight wraps.

Despite all the personal accounts and evidence of ‘Broken Trust’ in High River, both levels of government are hiding behind the RCMP Public Complaints Commission’s seriously flawed and incomplete investigation of and rationale for all the events that occurred in High River between June 20, 2013 and July 31, 2013.

Here is an update of my investigation of the illegal entry and search of 4,666 High River homes.

Alberta Justice Minister Rejects High River Judicial Inquiry

On September 6, 2015, Kathleen Ganley, Alberta Minister of Justice and Solicitor General sent me a one-page e-mail in response to my two letters rejecting my information showing why a judicial inquiry is necessary to rebuild trust among High River residents and also to reassure residents of other communities in Alberta that the RCMP and Alberta Emergency Management Agency won’t authorize similar actions to be taken if our towns are ordered to evacuate following the declaration of an emergency.

The biggest disappointment is the Minister failed to provide a copy of the Crown Counsel paper her predecessor received outlining the ‘legal authorities’ for the forced entries and searches of 4,666 homes in High River.

Former Justice Minister Denis, current Justice Minister Ganley and federal Justice Minister Peter MacKay have all so far failed to answer this most important question: How is it possible that the legal authority under the Alberta Emergency Management Act took precedence over the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Alberta Bill of Rights?

RCMP attempts to keep 1,900+ Damage Claims from Prying Public Eyes

On September 1, 2015, I received a call from an Investigator with the Office of the Information Commissioner in Ottawa.

She has been investigating the RCMP refusal to provide copies of the summary reports, and failing that, copies of the more than 1,900 damage claims High River residents filed with the High River Detachment following having their doors kicked in and houses searched without warrant by the RCMP and Canadian Armed Forces personnel.

The RCMP initially assessed me search fees totalling $3,150.
I complained that these fees were exorbitant and unnecessary.

The Information Commissioner’s office took the RCMP to court and the judge agreed that no fees could be assessed for computerized records.

I also filed a FOIP request with Alberta Municipal Affairs to get their records about the number of claims they had paid out for the damages done by the Mounties door-kicking spree in High River.

The Information Commissioner’s Investigator also informed me that rather than sending me a diskette with the electronic records as I requested, the brain-trust in RCMP HQ in Ottawa had printed out 16 boxes of computerized records.

Talk about going to great expense and effort to hide the truth and make it more difficult for me to analyze almost 2,000 damage claims.

RCMP Declare Three Requests for High River Records ‘exempted in their entirety’

My Commentary published by Canada Free Press on June 1, 2015 documents the latest tactics by the RCMP to keep High River documents a secret.

High River Access to Information Complaints (RCMP and DND) Going to Court

I have filed forty-five Access to Information Act requests related to the illegal High River forced entries, unwarranted searches and seizures.

There are 18 complaints currently being investigated by the Office of the Information Commissioner in Ottawa - thirteen files with the RCMP and five files with the Department of National Defence.

On September 3, 2015, I spoke with the Commission’s lead investigator on these files.

He reported that he is had no progress getting the RCMP and the DND to release additional records in accordance with the issues raised in my letters.

I asked the investigator to finalize his reports on these outstanding complaints so I can proceed with court proceedings under section 41 of the Access to Information Act.

Alberta Information Commissioner rules against Alberta Justice on High River FOIP

On August 29, 2014, I filed an official complaint with the Alberta Information Commissioner regarding the records I believed were missing from the response sent to me by Alberta Justice to my High River Freedom of Information (FOIP) request.

The review conducted by the Alberta Information Commissioner found: “In my opinion, the Public Body did not meet its duty to the Applicant, as provided by section 10(1) of the Act, as it did not meet the second part of the test for conducting an adequate search for responsive records.”

More time wasted and a second $25.00 fee filing yet another FOIP request to try and obtain the missing High River documents (i.e. The Crown Counsel legal opinion of the “legal authorities” RCMP used to justify (after the fact) their forced entries into High River homes that RCMP Assistant Commissioner Ryan shared with Assistant Deputy Minister Bill Sweeney as requested by former Justice Minister Jonathan Denis).

Judicial Inquiry Petition

A few months ago I started an on-line petition to Premier Prentice and now Premier Notely asking them to “Call a Judicial Inquiry into the High River Forced Entries.”

To date more than 1,500 supporters have signed my petition and hundreds of them have left comments saying why they signed the petition - they are well worth reading especially if you are the Chairman of the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the RCMP, the Commissioner of the RCMP, the Alberta Minister of Justice and Solicitor General and the Federal Minister of Public Safety.

On May 6, 2015, Canada’s National Firearms Association conducted an independent telephone poll in High River found that 54% of High River residents support a judicial inquiry.

My Letter to Prime Minister

On March 3, 2015, I wrote to newly appoint Minister of National Defence, Jason Kenney asking him to open up his department’s files on High River and allow the 380 soldiers that were deployed in High River to tell the investigators with the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the RCMP what they did and what they saw the RCMP do in High River.

Minister Kenney failed to acknowledge or respond to my letter.

Consequently, I wrote the Prime Minister asking him to direct his Minister to respond.

That was the week before Prime Minister Harper called the election.

I have yet to receive a response from the Prime Minister or Minister Kenney.

Alberta Property Rights Advocate’s Update on High River Forced Entries

In his Annual Report for 2013, Lee Cutforth, Alberta Property Rights Advocate made the following recommendation:

Recommendation 2013.05 - that the Legislature amend the Emergency Management Act to clarify and affirm the consistent respect for and deference to private property rights, even in the face of an emergency situation. Specifically, it is recommended that section 19 of the Act be amended to confirm that a natural disaster does not create licence to disregard the property rights of individual Albertans, nor does it absolve the authorities from a responsibility to follow the due process of law (including the need to obtain Ministerial authorization) if any encroachments do become necessary as an emergency response.


It is worthwhile to point out that no records provided by either the federal or Alberta government indicate that any Minister authorized the entry into 4,666 High River homes.

In fact, the Deputy Commissioner Dale McGowan, Commanding Officer for all RCMP in Alberta wrote the Alberta Property Rights Advocate on August 16, 2013 stating quite the opposite: “at no time did they take operational direction from any elected officials or public service employees to enter private homes.”

This statement by the RCMP Commanding Officer is also in direct contradiction to the conclusions reached in the RCMP Public Complaints Commission’s Interim Report on the High River forced entries.

In his Annual Report for 2014, Mr. Cutforth reported that the Standing Committee on Resource Stewardship rejected his recommendation - one Committee member calling it “a ridiculous recommendation”.

Mr. Cutforth concluded with this hopeful comment: “In time, I hope that Recommendations 2013.02 and 2013.05 will be given a sober second look by the Legislative Assembly, and recognised as temperate responses to issues that remain all too real and all too raw for a number of Albertans.”

Complaint to United Nations Human Rights Council

I am now in the process of drafting a formal complaint to the United Nations Human Rights Council for the following reasons:

(1) The failure of the RCMP Public Complaints Commission to address many questions and concerns I raised in my eight letters sent to the Chairman and my op-ed pieces published before the release of the Interim Report on the illegal High River forced entries, unwarranted searches and seizures.

(2) The failure of the RCMP Public Complaints Commission to address the legal analysis by the Alberta Property Rights Advocate in both his 2013 and 2014 annual reports and another independent review by Alberta lawyer Rick Hemmingson that reveals that the entry of 4,666 High River homes and in particular the forced entries into hundreds of those homes during the state of emergency were not properly authorized under the Alberta Emergency Management Act.

(3) The serious deficiencies in the RCMP Complaints Commission’s Interim Report on the High River forced entries as identified in my commentaries and letters published after the release of the report.

(4) The RCMP Complaints Commission’s Interim Report on the High River forced entries failed to address violations of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms; namely, the right to privacy, the right to be secure from unreasonabe search and seizure and the right of every individual to be equal before and under the law and the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law.

Thirty Alberta communities were flooded in 2013 but only the community of High River had their homes entered illegally and with unnecessary force and only in High River did people have their homes searched without warrant and property seized without warrant.

Four thousand six hundred and sixty-six High River residents did not have ‘equal protection of the law’.

(5) The RCMP Complaints Commission’s Interim Report on the High River forced entries failed to address the rights violations as enumerated under the Canadian Bill of Rights; namely, the right to own and enjoy property, and the right not to be deprived thereof except by due process of law and the right of the individual to equal protection of the law.

(6) The RCMP Complaints Commission’s Interim Report on High River forced entries failed to answer the question: How did the power to enter buildings without warrant in the Alberta Emergency Management Act have priority over the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Alberta Bill of Rights for more than three weeks following the declaration of a State of Local Emergency in High River?


(7) The RCMP Complaints Commission’s Interim Report on High River forced entries failed to document all the arrests and charges that were laid in High River as a result of the illegal entries and unwarranted searches and seizures.

Some arrests and charges are still being kept secret.

All persons charged in High River as a result of the illegal searches have not been treated equally before and under the law.

Some persons charged have had their charges stayed or dropped altogether, others pled guilty and were wrongly convicted as a result.

(8) The RCMP illegal entry and unlawful search of 4,666 High River homes, the use of unnecessary force to enter ‘more than 754’ homes, causing damage to more than 1,900 of those homes, and seizing private property without warrants violated the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

Article 7 - the right to be equal before the law and equal protection of the law;

Article 12 - the right not to be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy; and

Article 17 - the right not to be arbitrarily deprived of his property.


Dennis R. Young -- Bio and Archives |

Dennis Young retired to Airdrie, Alberta in 2007 after working for 13 years on Parliament Hill for Garry Breitkreuz, MP for Yorkton-Melville. Dennis is a member of the Calgary RCMP Veterans Association and a Honourary Life Member of both the Canadian Shooting Sports Association and the National Firearms Association. For his 20-year crusade for the rights of firearms owners, Dennis received the NFA’s David A. Tomlinson Memorial Award for 2014 and the CSSA’s John Holdstock Memorial Award for 2014.

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