Rhino's Ramblings - Yellow Vest Rally A Signal For Other Things
Robert Thomas - Opinion/Commentary
On Saturday Moose Jaw saw itself immersed in the world of the Yellow Vests – a protest movement which many say it’s hard to determine exactly what they are against.
Carbon Tax, Western Alienation, Migration, Lack of New Pipelines, Taxation, Unfair Equalization, Globalization and a Hatred of the Trudeau Liberals are some of the issues out there the Yellow Vests seem to have concerns about.
Opponents have stated the fledgling movement is really employing dog whistle politics - where they say one thing but underneath there is really a hidden signal being sent out which has something sinister or even evil tied to it.
They point to memes and other postings on social media of those supporting the movement as the real motivation of the Yellow Vest movement – including Moose Jaw – is actually a racist one. In some ways they are correct but in other ways its people simply tired with what they see as a major shift in the way the country is headed politically and most important economically. For opponents though it is simple racism through and through. That what you have is a well disguised xenophobia and you have a bunch of bigots who are out to get Muslims, immigrants and refugees.
Media outlets which are more to the left in focus as well anti-racist groups have pointed out some well known people and groups have showed up at various Yellow Vest rallies throughout the country. Are these media outlets correct? By looking at the videos and some of the photos taken it’s obvious this has occurred.
In Moose Jaw I was even promised a video of an anti-Muslim rant one of the Yellow Vest supporters said publicly before the entire protest got underway - it’s a video which I’m willing to look at in its whole entirety.
At the Moose Jaw rally there were exchanges which were political disagreements while others were in reality attempts to taunt the group to take physical action. Something I am happy to say never occurred.
It leaves some people asking how do the Yellow Vests garner such support, even going so far to say it is all a great right wing conspiracy out there taking advantage of Free Speech to express their disgusting views.
I personally am not taking a stand on this one way or another except to say both sides have the right to express their opinions so long as it is done in a respectful manner and doesn’t devolve into some great hate speech rant or worse yet violence.
This column is a look into what the Yellow Vests have tied into. Where are they receiving their support and why?
Whether people want to admit to it or not there is a growing dissatisfaction with the decline in Western Canadian economies largely driven by the drop in the price of commodities on a world scale. And that disatisfaction is aimed directly at the Liberal government in Ottawa.
The price received for oil and gas is at a great discount which is costing jobs and many people to suffer financially. The court cases and disruptions brought on by the environmental left and their supporters is starting to harm people’s livelihoods and there is a backlash. Projects which would have seen natural gas shipped to port then liquefied and shipped to much higher priced markets have been cancelled. So to has expansion of oil sands projects due to the lack of pipeline capacity. Investors once plentiful are few and far between in the Canadian oil patch.
It comes right out of the age old pages in many people’s minds of Western alienation a central government based with the support of a large populace in Central Canada seemingly not caring about what is happening in the West. A West where governments have either gone to austerity or are borrowing at enormous rates to maintain services. And as such people are financially suffering.
Much of rhetoric and talk out there in many ways goes back a generation as we return to the time of Pierre Elliott Trudeau and what many viewed, rightfully or wrongly, his disregard to the West. And with the younger Trudeau in power there is an already constructed hatred of all he and his father represented.
I hear it daily with people even publicly stating if Ottawa doesn’t smarten up its time for Western Canada to just break free and become independent. Now did I hear this from the Yellow Vests? No, I did not.
But with that said I have heard the rhetoric of going our own way if things do not improve while out having coffee in Moose Jaw. From ordinary Moose Javians. People who are usually not political vocal but are now starting to economically feel the effects. They are feelings and words I heard decades ago in places like Red Deer when Western Separatists actually won a provincial seat in a by election.
It’s something I hear almost on a daily basis, a large and growing dissatisfaction with where the economy is heading and a seemingly non-responsive Federal government which has messed up the pipeline file.
The majority of people saying this are in my own estimation Conservative Party supporters but at the same time more and more who are telling me this are also long time NDP voters. In some ways the right side and more centrist NDP voters are angry with their own Party's federal position on the pipeline matter.
I hear it almost every time I go out for coffee with ordinary people saying why doesn’t the Prime Minister just build the pipeline and use the non-withstanding clause to get around the courts and get it done in the national interest. Is this possible? Is it in the best interest? Or is it even a legal way of doing things? These are questions I will admit I have never explored.
For many people the pipeline desperately needed to ease a major bottleneck to allow the sale of oil to other markets where it won’t be so heavily discounted and more money in investment and royalties will flow into provincial treasuries or better yet into the hands of workers who will spend it is fast becoming a rally cry for many.
With that said I will be 100 percent honest and tell you that it is something I also heard at a recent meeting of the federal Liberals.
It wasn’t an attack on the government but in reality local Liberal volunteers stating how they need to put out exactly what the Liberals have done to better Western Canada. That in the growing discontent that they are working on it and support the pipelines and the economic opportunities their construction will bring. It’s a message being drowned out in the true financial desperation more and more people are facing.
With that said though there is a growing discontent not only with the policies of the NDP by some very loyal voters but growing racism towards it’s present leader. People who tell me next time around they are voting Liberal and for Trudeau.
It’s also obvious the federal Liberals are becoming more progressive in their policies knowing a weak NDP is a godsend with the federal election just 10 months away.
This is the world that the Yellow Vest protests find themselves and it’s being exploited as their support and numbers grow across Western Canada,
In many ways it is a showdown with the growing dissatisfaction economically as well as a collapse within the federal NDP itself which is fueling them.
With that said the counter protest which sprung up is well within their rights to be there and disagree. It actually is a healthy thing.
The Yellow Vests might be seen as a group of racists and bigots by their detractors but it is also in my own estimation too narrow of a view as there are some serious issues which is driving people to agree with the need to change. The underlying economic feelings are likely to continue for some time to come.
In many ways it is a backlash fueled by growing economic discontent which is hard to ignore.