Understanding Canada’s yellow vest movement
Here, it goes beyond economic concerns, tackling xenophobia, nationalism and anti-globalism
The voice thundering through the speakers warns of suffering, disease and financial ruin, as yellow-vested devotees respond with chants of “No surrender!” and “We will resist!”
This is not a sermon predicting the end of days or a fired-up militia preparing for war.
It’s a Dec. 15 rally of the yellow vest movement, which came to Canada a couple weeks before. The rallies have taken place at the Alberta Legislature and Churchill Square in Edmonton every Saturday for the last month. And it looks like it’s not going anywhere any time soon, with another rally planned for this Saturday at Churchill Square.
The movement originated in France in November with rallies and marches in some cases erupting into largescale riots and arrests. It has since spread globally and is gaining traction in Canada.
While it started in Europe as a labour movement protesting income inequality, business-friendly economic
reform and a high cost of living, here it has expanded beyond economic concerns, delving into anti-globalism, nationalism, anti-government sentiment and xenophobia.
The crowd fluctuates in
size but easily attracts hundreds each week. The rallies have at times been tense, with counter-protesters accusing the yellow vesters of being racist, with several shouting matches resulting in fist fights.
The yellow vesters call for building pipelines, demand a clampdown on illegal immigration and decry Canada signing the UN Migration Pact, a non-binding treaty that aims to improve global co-operation on international
“This is a blatant attack on our national sovereignty and our individual freedoms as a nation state,” a speaker bellows to a crowd at the Alberta Legislature grounds.
A protestor attends a rally of the yellow vest movement at the Alberta Legislature in Edmonton on Dec. 15. The movement originated in France in November. It has since spread globally and is gaining traction in Canada.