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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