Winter of Our Discontent

Perhaps Severely Normal Albertans are having trouble keeping up with the plethora of protests this winter. So here is a recap and a conclusion worth noting.

But before we start with Canada – let’s tip our hat to international protests.  Top honours go to President Trump for holding 800,000 hostages while he protests for a border wall. And second place has to go to the Brexit people of Britain as they protest the deal their government made to escape the clutches of the European Union. Third place goes to the yellow vest protesters and vandals of France. All that puts Canadian protests in perspective.

Albertans haven’t let the winter doldrums completely get in our way. Protesting pipelines continues to occupy a spot in our activists’ hearts.

In a very Albertan way we jumped into trucks and convoyed up and down the highways to make sure everyone knew ‘We are not going to take it anymore!’ Protests began with people organizing local events. Then groups like Rally 4 Resources and Canada Action organized to complain about pipelines, the west coast tanker ban and a new environmental regulator.

Yellow Vest Canada got started too; they oppose energy, tax and immigration policies and other behaviours by Prime Minister Trudeau. Only started in early December and they have attracted 150,000 Facebook followers nationwide. 

Alberta’s Marching Season

Not unlike the Irish it seems we have a marching season. (or in our case convoying)

  • November 22nd– Thousands of Calgarians protested Justin Trudeau’s visit to spread the good news about the economy. Natural Resources Minister Amarjit Sohi got the same treatment in Edmonton.
  • December 4th– A thousand or more protesters braved a cold winter day in Drayton Valley to send a message about economic distress in the oilpatch.
  • December 15th– Yellow Vest demonstrations took place in several Canadian cities, including Winnipeg, Calgary, Toronto, Halifax, Edmonton and Saskatoon, and Medicine Hat.
  • December 15th– 1,500 people rallied, and 600 trucks convoyed in Grande Prairie.
  • December 19th– A 1,000 trucks formed a 22 kilometres convoy that plugged up Edmonton area highways for hours. 
  • December 20th– An 8 km convoy formed up in Whitecourt.
  • December 22nd – In Medicine Hat, 200 trucks were joined by 500 other vehicles; they slowed traffic on the TransCanada highway and went downtown past 5,000 last minute shoppers who lined the route.
  • December 29th– Several hundred people rallied in Rocky Mountain House for an “Ottawa can you hear us yet?” event.
  • On January 8th– in the bitter cold, a rally of 200 stalwart protesters showed up in Regina. 
  • On January 12th – Red Deer, 100 trucks convoyed. And a few dozen Yellow Vest cars and trucks disrupted traffic in downtown Calgary. 
  • A Rally for Resource convoy from Alberta to Ottawa has been cancelled probably because the image of million-dollar vehicles used to complain about economic trouble in Alberta would not be well received in the rest of Canada.  Nor did the organizers relish the idea being painted with the ‘yellow vest anti-everything” brush since that organization plans a similar convoy.

Sure, many Canadians find it very hard to feel sorry for Alberta’s economic circumstance. And only recently has public opinion on pipelines begun to turn.  Many Albertans are taking a serious hit in the pocketbook.  And the energy industry is under siege from low oil prices. They are under attack from environmental and Indigenous activists; abetted by federal government “slow walking” and anti-oilsands policies.

What is the takeaway for all this?  This would be the wrong time for the rest of Canada to ignore Alberta’s legitimate frustrations. There is some serious angst.