Yel­low vest pro­test­ers tar­get Trudeau town hall

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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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