Anti-western bias ap­par­ent as con­voy hits na­tion’s cap­i­tal

PressReader - BRUCE_CAROL_ROWE Channel - Anti-western bias ap­par­ent as con­voy hits na­tion’s cap­i­tal
The big­otry against Western Canada just keeps on rollin’.How else to de­scribe the com­men­tary on Twit­ter and in some other me­dia cov­er­age in Ot­tawa Tues­day over the United We Roll con­voy of some 200 trucks filled with peo­ple from across Canada protest­ing against fed­eral govern­ment poli­cies that harm Canada’s re­source sec­tor — par­tic­u­larly oil and gas.Per­haps the best ex­am­ple of that vir­u­lent prej­u­dice comes from Ta­batha Southey, a colum­nist with Maclean’s, who wrote: “Guys, they’re not ‘rolling into’ Ot­tawa. They drove there, on roads peo­ple drive on and that doesn’t oblige you to mythol­o­gize this thing to their lik­ing. This is not Fu­riosa and Mad Max storm­ing the Ci­tadel. It’s more Na­tional Lam­poon’s White Na­tion­al­ist Va­ca­tion.”“They’re not ‘rolling into’ Ot­tawa.” Huh? Well, they’re not bloody well fly­ing. Last I looked, wheels on trucks go round and round and a suc­cinct word for that is “rolling.” It’s hardly mythol­o­giz­ing to say so.To call this con­voy — that started in Red Deer on Valen­tine’s Day — “white na­tion­al­ist” is noth­ing short of grotesque. Sure, these are not — for the most part — the folk Southey would in­vite to a swanky cock­tail party in the halls of cen­tral Cana­dian power. But they are hard-work­ing, tax­pay­ing ci­ti­zens do­ing their best to raise more of the same and who are con­cerned mostly about what’s hap­pen­ing to Canada’s oil and gas sec­tor, how it is at­tacked not just from out­side Canada, but from within their own fed­eral govern­ment.Might there be a white su­prem­a­cist in the midst? It’s pos­si­ble, just like it’s pos­si­ble that some might at­tend those swanky cock­tail par­ties, too.Ob­vi­ously, I wasn’t able to talk to ev­ery sin­gle per­son in­volved in this con­voy, but I spoke to a good dozen or so in Red Deer — in­clud­ing a good num­ber of yel­low vesters — as it pre­pared to take off for Ot­tawa and I cer­tainly didn’t meet any. And I ac­tively tried to find some.After all, one of the is­sues men­tioned on the con­voy’s Face­book page in­cluded op­po­si­tion to the United Na­tions Global Com­pact For Safe, Or­derly and Reg­u­lar Mi­gra­tion. Canada signed onto the mi­gra­tion com­pact in De­cem­ber and some peo­ple are con­cerned it will af­fect Canada’s sovereignty over its bor­ders. There are some pretty ugly com­ments on­line over this com­pact. That doesn’t mean all op­po­si­tion about it is il­le­git­i­mate. That there is an is­sue with Canada’s south­ern bor­der is also ev­i­dent. That many Cana­di­ans — a ma­jor­ity, in fact, ac­cord­ing to a Jan­uary Ip­sos poll — are un­happy with “ir­reg­u­lar” mi­grants just walk­ing across our bor­der and jump­ing the queue into Canada is not nec­es­sar­ily a sign of racism.Ip­sos CEO Dar­rell Bricker said Cana­di­ans seem to be more con­cerned than ever be­fore about the process by which im­mi­grants are ad­mit­ted to Canada.“In Canada, the fo­cus doesn’t seem to be on the im­mi­grants them­selves, more about the process of how some­one gets into the coun­try,” Bricker said in a pre­vi­ous me­dia com­ment.On CBC TV’s Power and Pol­i­tics, the re­porter who was in­vited to the show to talk about the rally on Par­lia­ment Hill fol­low­ing an al­most five-day, 3,200-kilo­me­tre drive didn’t even men­tion the car­bon tax or bills C-69 or C-48, which are the main causes of con­cern and rea­sons be­hind this con­voy. It’s trou­bling and, again, so very big­oted.But for the folks on the con­voy, they clearly aren’t watch­ing CBC or fol­low­ing anti-con­voy trolls on Twit­ter. Con­voy man­ager Glen Car­ritt said ev­ery­one was com­pletely “over­whelmed by the sup­port they re­ceived from across Canada.“We re­ally learned from be­ing on the road that Canada wants to be united and sup­port the oil and gas sec­tor,” said Car­ritt, who was reached in Ot­tawa.“Right from the time we left Red Deer, then to Saskatchewan, Man­i­toba and then when we drove into On­tario, the crowds of peo­ple on over­passes hold­ing signs or along the roads, it was just un­be­liev­able,” said the In­n­is­fail town coun­cil­lor and owner/ op­er­a­tor of OP Fire and Safety, which pro­vides med­i­cal and fire ser­vices to oil­fields across all of Western Canada.What does he think about me­dia com­ments that the United We Roll con­voy is white su­prem­a­cist or racist?“Those peo­ple have to drive on the con­voy with us and meet us and all the peo­ple we saw on the road and that would change their mind,” said Car­ritt, 53, who has two grown chil­dren and two grand­kids.He said con­voy par­tic­i­pants were de­lighted that fed­eral Con­ser­va­tive party Leader An­drew Scheer and sev­eral other MPs took the time to ad­dress the con­voy.Does he think the mes­sage about the im­por­tance of Canada’s oil and gas in­dus­try to the well-be­ing of the coun­try was mud­died by mem­bers bring­ing up the UN mi­gra­tion com­pact?“We wel­comed ev­ery­one to join this move­ment who isn’t hate­ful or racist and who wanted to draw at­ten­tion to the dam­ag­ing ac­tions of the fed­eral govern­ment against an in­dus­try that is hurt­ing and that the en­tire coun­try re­lies upon for its well-be­ing,” said Car­ritt. “That’s just some peo­ple who want to change the nar­ra­tive. The real nar­ra­tive is this con­voy has done more to re­unite Canada than any­thing that’s hap­pened in re­cent his­tory and I think peo­ple are hold­ing on to hope that we might get some change in our govern­ment.”That’s the per­haps overly rosy view Car­ritt has from his wind­shield re­flect­ing off of his fireengine-red truck.It’s a lot more ac­cu­rate than the jaun­diced one be­ing spouted by cyn­i­cal com­men­ta­tors.

Hun­dreds of oil pipe­line sup­port­ers ar­rived from Al­berta and other parts of the coun­try to gather Tues­day on Par­lia­ment Hill.

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