Alberta premier Jason Kenney tweeted about supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump storming the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, saying that “political violence is always wrong.”
“Alberta has always had close ties to the United States, so it’s painful to watch the bizarre scenes unfolding at the U.S. Capitol today,” he tweeted. “The United States must be an example of democracy to the world.
“I hope that order is urgently restored, and that duly-elected president Joe Biden is certified and sworn in without further disruption from the opponents of democracy.”
Supporters of the outgoing U.S. president, who continues to promote unfounded claims that he lost November’s presidential election because of a widespread conspiracy to by Democrats to steal the vote, stormed the Capitol Wednesday afternoon.
The protesters forced a delay of the joint session of U.S. Congress where politicians were counting electoral votes that will affirm Biden’s election victory.
D.C. police chief Robert Contee confirmed shots were fired inside the Capitol and a person was taken to hospital with a gunshot wound. National Guard reinforcements were called in to restore order.
Trump tweeted a video in which he praised his supporters’ actions but also said they should leave.
“I know your pain. I know your hurt. But you have to go home now,” he said. “We can’t play into the hands of these people. We have to have peace. So go home. We love you. You’re very special.”
Alberta’s Opposition leader issued a statement in which she said “the scene unfolding in Washington, D.C. today is shocking.”
“This dangerous and troubling situation was caused, and is being fuelled by, the dangerous rhetoric of Donald Trump; a man who emboldened extremists, racists, and white supremacists and who openly condones this kind of assault on our democracy,” Rachel Notley said. “Leadership matters and leaders matter. Today showed that more than ever.
“Our shared belief and commitment to democracy is stronger than this.”
Like Kenney, Notley also acknowledged the importance of Alberta’s relationship with the U.S.
“I continue to hope for a swift and peaceful resolution so that Americans, and Albertans alike can work together toward an end to this (COVID-19) pandemic, and a renewed economy that benefits and serves us all.”
Prior to being elected as an MLA in the Alberta legislature, Agriculture Minister Devin Dreeshen wrote about how he spent months in the U.S. campaigning to help get Trump elected as president in 2016.
When asked about Dreeshen’s support of Trump in 2018, Kenney said that while he was not a fan of the former reality TV star, “it’s actually helpful to have in our caucus an MLA who can get people on the phone in the U.S. administration, who knows some of them and has worked with some of them.”
At the time, Kenney noted both he and Dreeshen opposed some of Trump’s protectionist policies.
Global News reached out to Dreeshen’s office for comment on Wednesday’s developments in Washington and to ask whether he remains a Trump supporter.
“Minister Dreeshen denounces all forms of political violence, including what is taking place in Washington, D.C. today,” the minister’s press secretary, Justin Laurence, said in an email to Global News. “Voters are the ultimate deciders, and that must be respected by all.
“Minister Dreeshen is focused on the lives and livelihoods of Albertans.”
Dozens of Trump supporters gathered outside Calgary City Hall on Wednesday afternoon to voice their support for the outgoing president. Some of the protesters carried U.S. and Canadian flags, along with handmade signs reading “Power of the people is stronger than the people in power” and “Freedom is never given, it is always won.”
Calgary police said the rally was peaceful.
There was another rally in Red Deer. RCMP said the gathering “was found to be in contravention of current public health guidelines and the group organizer was subsequently charged under the Public Health Act.”
Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson said Wednesday was an extraordinary day in the U.S. in many ways. He said he was still working through his emotions about it on Thursday.
“I’ve been in that building and I’ve stood in awe. It’s tragic.
“As someone who has run in four elections and who believes deeply that the best way for any community — whether that’s a city, a province or a country — to decide how it wants to be led and what it wants to stand for is through the democratic process, to see so many people undermining that democracy is just heartbreaking. It really is.”
Iveson said that sentiment is voiced north of the border too.
“There is always a group of people who are dissatisfied with their community and their society and act out in a variety of ways.
“Regardless of the politics of it, I think it’s the anti-democratic character of the rhetoric that is most disheartening.
“To hear echoes of it here… is deeply troubling. Most people are appalled. Just about every Edmontonian is appalled.
“The good news is the results are certified. I think America will move on. We’ll all have something to learn — not just from yesterday, but in the last four years where this festering discontent has been stoked and stoked and stoked.
“I think it is a stark reminder that democracy is a fragile thing and each one of us must do our part to uphold it… which starts from non-violence and respect,” Iveson said. “Those values were desecrated yesterday.”
–With files from The Canadian Press’ Lauren Krugel and James McCarten, The Associated Press’ Zeke Miller and Jill Colvin and Global News’ Simon Little and Emily Mertz