Yellow vest protesters target Trudeau town hall
Brent Aupperle isn’t going to try to get into Justin Trudeau’s Regina town hall.If he thought he’d have any chance, he would ask just a single question: “When are you going to resign?”Aupperle, clad in his yellow vest and wearing a toque emblazoned with a profane message against the prime minister, was one of a diverse range of protesters who gathered around the University of Regina’s Centre for Kinesiology, Health and Sport on Thursday evening for Trudeau’s visit.The yellow vesters — some carrying signs with messages like “Trudeau for Treason” — made up the majority of the protesters. At one point they celebrated a convoy of dozens of pickup trucks and semis that drove along the road in front of the centre.The trucks delivered a symphony of booming honks in approval.But the yellow vest protesters weren’t the only ones. The prime minister faced opposition from widely divergent quarters of Saskatchewan society.Frank Armistead, 76, is a retired Lutheran minister. He has a white, bushy beard and a gentle voice. He calls himself an environmentalist and an ally of First Nations.“Trudeau has been kind of, I think, blindly charging ahead on petro resources and development,” said Armistead.He says the government’s response to the Wet’suwet’en protests in British Columbia prompted him to come out, in part, although he said it’s part of a pattern that goes back 150 years.“We have armed forces going against women, children, elders and trying to force them off the land,” he said.But the prime minister’s pipeline policies seemed to stoke more ire than any other issue on Thursday — and not just from yellow vesters. Unlike Aupperle, Court Klein was actually hoping to get in and ask a question of the prime minister. He came wearing his Evraz work clothes.He wants to know what Trudeau will do to help his colleagues.“We still have tariffs on our industry, and it sucks,” said Klein.“Trudeau has come here twice. He’s come out here to Evraz, came out for the photo op, and yet he’s shown us no action on the portfolio.“So then, what was he trying to do on July 1 when he was here showing that he was standing up for workers, when in the end he left us behind?”The yellow vest message was far more strident, and tackled a broader range of issues.Harry Frank, who says he’s a moderator with the local Yellow Vest Facebook page, said Thursday was an opportunity to show that people are “just fed up with the government.”“This has been building for a long time, over decades now,” he said. “Mr. Trudeau is the one who brought it to a boil, and he’s taken away our sovereignty and our individual rights as citizens of this country.”Frank said he opposes the UN compact on migration. He says he isn’t against immigration, as long as people don’t try to re-create their home cultures in Canada.“Yes, we can help other people, but why should we neglect the people we have here, right in Canada, to help somebody else that, basically, they come with no skill set, they don’t want to assimilate?” he asked.Some protesters were almost unclassifiable in their grievances. One man said he’d come to send Ralph Goodale a message, alleging he’s been “harassed” by the RCMP.He carried two large signs. One said, “public has no protection from RCMP,” while the other called the Mounties “small town bullies.” Both were in all caps.Tyler Weinkauf came wearing a blue hard hat and work clothes. He spent much of his time with theMr. Trudeau is the one who brought it to a boil, and he’s taken away our sovereignty and our individual rights as citizens.yellow vest group, saying his main issue is homelessness and food security. A former oilfield worker, he said he’s worried his former workmates are now “struggling.”He said he’s planning a trip to Ottawa, where he wants to organize the homeless to demand more support.“I’m trying to bring awareness to the fact that Canada is one of the highest fastest growing rates of homelessness,” he said, adding that he’s also planning a hunger strike.Aupperle, Weinkauf and Frank all say they’re out of work. Armistead says he’s retired and lives very modestly. They all pointed to economic pain that some said has fed a renewed ferment of protest.But Frank doubts their message will be heard inside the nearby town hall.“I know it’s not going to have one iota of impact on Trudeau or his government,” he said.
Yellow vest protesters cheer on a horn-honking truck convoy during a protest outside Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s town hall.
Tyler Weinkauf, left, chats with fellow protester Frank Armistead ahead of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s arrival at Thursday night’s town hall at the University of Regina.
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