Dianne St. Jean
Yellow Vest Protest in Valemount
Dianne St. Jean PHOTO

If you were near or on the corner turnoff of Highway 5 and 5th Avenue in Valemount on Saturday, December 22 you couldn’t miss seeing a couple of yellow-vested individuals waving and holding up signs of protest.

Richard Korejwo of Valemount and another resident staked their position of protest from late morning to early afternoon waving signs clearly in protest against the Trudeau government and its policies and drawing out honks of support from drivers passing by or fueling up at the Petro Canada and Esso stations across the street.

But if you think that the display of frustration was just a couple of people standing on a corner for a while and then forgotten about, perhaps think again.

The yellow vest, also known as the yellow jacket movement, is an increasing cultural wave that began with protesters in France strongly reacting to their government’s imposition of planned tax hikes, especially on gas, that would further hurt an already suffering and frustrated worker group.

The flame of frustration caught on in Canada, and we will likely see more of it since, as of January 1, Trudeau’s Carbon Tax takes effect across the country.

But it’s not just about policies producing pain in the pocket. While Canadians are hurting, protesters say, they still have to dig deep into their pockets to support people crossing our borders illegally. 

A good part of the migration frustration is about Canada signing up with the UN’s Global Compact for Migration, which would make it easier for migrants from underdeveloped countries to enter industrialized nations.

That was the issue in Saskatoon on Dec. 8, when a group of yellow vest demonstrations outside City Hall took aim at the Carbon Tax and Canada’s decision to sign on to the UN’s global migration compact.

There have also been protests in Regina, Calgary, Edmonton, Whitecourt and a number of other towns across the country. In Windsor on the weekend just before Christmas another group of local residents began holding protests around the city.

On December 16, about 200 people marched in a yellow jacket protest in downtown Edmonton. Two individuals were arrested when protesters and counter-protesters in support of migration clashed.

Some of the protesters, who have never engaged in a protest before, say they are doing it because they are fed up with the federal Liberal’s policies and Trudeau. In fact, a common mantra of the protests is “Trudeau must go!”. They also mistrust the United Nations.

There is growing resentment across Western Canada and more specifically in Alberta, whose wounded oil industry has costs thousands of layoffs and crippled the economy, with people still having to find a way to support their families.

Because the protests are against migrants from underdeveloped countries and therefore, visible minorities, some say the yellow jackets are racists. And, to be sure, some protests in Western Canada did have participants, or one who admitted he was, a former member of the Soldiers of Odin (SOO), an anti-immigrant group founded in Kemi, Finland in reaction to thousands of migrants arriving in Finland amid the European migrant crisis.

Yet one female protester said that, while some people might think the group is against immigration itself, that is not so, adding that they are against unvetted migrations. 

“It’s about people crossing our borders illegally and getting support and benefits that Canadian taxpayers pay for, while many Canadians themselves are struggling, especially because of the federal government’s policies and handling of economic issues.”