A crowd applauded an Alberta farmer Friday who made his first court appearance after he was charged with aggravated assault following the shooting and injuring of an intruder on his property.
As CTV News reports, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) also charged Edouard Maurice with pointing a firearm and careless use of a firearm after the Feb. 24 incident in Okotoks.
Maurice is quickly becoming a symbol of the urban-rural divide in Canada as well as the Trudeau government’s recent attempts to further strengthen Canada’s already stringent gun control laws.
In his testimony to the RCMP, Maurice said that he had opened fire on two prowlers in his back yard after spotting them near his vehicles. Although police located one of the suspects — with a shotgun wound in his arm — they charged Maurice and not the intruders with criminal activity.
Maurice’s supporters are angry that the rural landowner is being punished for defending his property.
Gwen Wiedemann told CTV News that Maurice and his family — who she says she has known for decades — is being wronged by Canada’s justice system.
“Why do the criminals have all the rights? It doesn’t seem fair to me. They’re telling us that if we live in the country that we should get gates and lock them. We become prisoners on our own land because of criminals.”
Zena Branson says the issues are property rights and the right of a farmer to protect his land — especially when the law is no located at a safe distance.
“We deserve the right to protect our property and our families and I’m here to support that,” he told CTV.
Branson is amazed that Maurice is the one being charged — and not the suspects who prompted the incident in the first place.
“Nothing is happening to them. The property owners are paying all the consequences; the thieves, nothing.”