Alberta Solicitor General and Justice Minister Jonathan Denis.
Credits: FILE PHOTO
He says the words two times.
He says them when a lot of people in authority wouldn't go there.
"I am pissed off with the tactics," he says.
"I drive that road a lot. It's one of the busiest roads in Canada. If I was there right now I'd be pissed off too," he also says just before the protesters are on the highway at the capital city.
The man doing the speaking is Alberta's top cop Jonathan Denis.
He is talking about the blockading of roadways by Idle No More protesters or anybody else.
Denis says the act of blockading "crosses the line."
He is talking Wednesday as traffic is blocked, diverted and then finally vehicles crawl in one northbound lane on the QEII highway at the entrance to Edmonton.
It is said to be all done in the name of getting justice or something like that.
The province's minister of justice wants to make it crystal clear it is the tactic of blocking traffic not the people and not the content of their message causing him to be "pissed off."
After all, other First Nations groups express their discontent with the federal government but do not block traffic.
Denis takes great pains to say he cannot order the cops to go in and lay down the law.
They have their authority. There can be no political interference, he says. This is not the Third World.
But the justice boss meets this coming Monday with the police chiefs from Calgary and Edmonton as well as the Mounties about handling blockades, including what to do about a vow by some protesters to shut down Hwy. 63.
As you know, that road goes to the oilsands. It is the highway to our golden goose.
Denis, a lawyer, says the constitution guarantees the right to peaceful assembly "no matter what a person has to say."
He points out section 1 of the Charter guarantees rights and freedoms subject to "reasonable limits ... as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society."
"When you start blockading a major roadway, to me that's going too far. You're affecting the rights of others," says Denis.
"I think they're going beyond the reasonable limits in a free and democratic society. We have the rule of law and I think everybody should be treated the same, aboriginal and non-aboriginal."
"My personal view is you can protest on the side of the road, outside my office, wave signs, hand out leaflets. That's within your rights to peaceful assembly and the key is peaceful."
Denis says if and when police make arrests it's going to end up in the courts where "it's not up to me to define the constitution."
The justice minister is also "worried about things going too far" possibly endangering both protesters and other members of the public.
"It's not unreasonable we would see an altercation, physical harm, people trying to run a blockade. This is Alberta."
"I'm worried about riots that could happen," he adds.
Denis makes these remarks before the first news report tells us a truck does run the QEII blockade.
The top cop urges everyone to be "measured and reasonable."
He says a lot of people have already contacted his office and told him to shut down the protests.
Again, Denis says it's up to police.
A final point. Denis points out he grew up in Regina "near several reserves."
"I understand a lot of the concerns," but "I'm really hoping the aboriginal people here stick to a very peaceful message."
You won't hear a Kumbaya coming on in the provincial political trenches, but this is a rare occasion where the opposition Wildrose is onside with a Progressive Conservative cabinet minister though their spokesman uses somewhat less colourful lingo.
"Look, there's nothing wrong with a good protest, that's what democracy is all about. But once you start trampling on the rights of other people, that's a problem," says Wildrose MLA Rob Anderson.
Like Denis, Anderson doesn't want any argy-bargy.
"When rules aren't enforced some people take the law into their own hands and that's not something we want to see."
Denis is well aware his "pissed off" remarks will cause some pushback in certain circles.
"I'm a citizen in this province," he replies.
"I'm entitled to an opinion too."