There is a worrying trend developing in Canada and it is the rise of the extreme right wing that we see south of the border.
This week the pipeline protesters rolled into Ottawa in their oilfield trucks and staged a protest on Parliament Hill. The protest was noisy and orderly, but it was overshadowed by the so-called yellow vesters. Members of this fringe group are anti-immigrant, racist and a right-wing menace and have little actual interest in pipelines.
The protest was loud and tied up traffic on Wellington Street in front of the Parliament buildings. However, large trucks take up space but only carry a few people. When the protesters gathered for their rally, they formed a group estimated by the media to be about 150 people.
The protest was supported by Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer, People’s Party of Canada leader Maxime Bernier and Faith Goldy.
Goldy is a white nationalist who has been a loud-mouthed right-wing gadfly; she believes the white race is superior and must be protected. When she tried to speak at the rally, a group of Indigenous rights protectors booed and shouted her down. She in turn told the group, “If you don’t like our country, leave it.” A hilarious comment to a group of Indigenous people.
Conservative Senator David Tkachuk distinguished himself by calling upon the protesters “to roll over every Liberal left in the country,” not exactly an inspiring comment from the chamber of sober second thought.
Preston Manning used to explain the flakes in the Reform party with the comment that a bright light is bound to attract a few bugs. Now the bugs are getting organized and flexing their muscles. The yellow vesters and their right-wing supporters hijacked the movement and focused on immigration, open borders, the UN Declaration on immigration and of course the carbon tax. They also called for Trudeau to be charged with treason.
The original group wants to see pipelines built, which is fair, but they are ignoring the consultation process and the court decisions that have caused the delay. Blaming a politician is pointless. This is the legal system at work and while these protesters want people to obey the law, they are prepared to ignore it.
Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer addressed the group and gave them his support. He never once mentioned the racist yellow vest members who were present. Instead he called for the building of pipelines, ignoring the legal process that must be completed.
Scientists and environmentalists agree that carbon pricing is the fairest way to address greenhouse gas emissions, but the right wing has seized on it as a vote-getter while the United Nations has warned that if nothing is done by 2040 the earth will experience extreme weather, coastal flooding and the loss of coral reefs.
Right now the movement is gaining momentum and is aimed at the federal Liberals because of the coming election; however, it might soon be aimed at First Nations that are opposing pipelines. This fear wasn’t lost on the group of rights protectors who showed up on Parliament Hill to let the protesters know that we have rights and concerns too.
I fear that this yellow vest movement could take a nasty, racist turn because of the right-wing groups that are attracted to it. In Canada the alt right is becoming emboldened by growing support from racist groups in the United States. Right-wing populism is moving north.
This is of concern to me because any form of racial intolerance affects all people of colour. White supremacy masks itself as anti-immigration, anti-First Nations and anti-people of colour. It’s a dangerous, divisive movement and it thrives on people experiencing hardship and alienation.
Some people prefer to blame others and government institutions for their problems, but in the case of fossil fuels it is a worldwide problem.
Our oil is sold almost exclusively to the United States, and the years of being America’s gas tank are coming to an end. They are moving toward self-sufficiency and renewable energy.
Lashing out at minorities, immigrants and Indigenous people is no answer.