TORONTO—The “yellow vest” protests that have raged in France for weeks and even expanded to neighboring European countries have now made their way to the other side of the Atlantic, with similar-themed rallies—albeit much smaller in size—held recently in several cities across Canada.
On Dec. 15, protesters in yellow fluorescent vests held events in Toronto; Calgary, Alberta; Edmonton, Alberta; Winnipeg, Manitoba; Regina, Saskatchewan; and other cities to protest issues such as a carbon tax, Canada’s signing of the U.N. global migration pact, and delays in pipeline construction.
The protests in France started in mid-November over a planned fuel tax hike introduced as part of President Emmanuel Macron’s climate change policies. They soon developed into a large-scale grassroots movement to voice concern about policies and tax reforms the protesters say have increased living expenses. The protests have in many cases turned violent, with a death toll of eight people so far.
According to local reports, the protests in Canada have been peaceful for the most part, with the exception of the event in Edmonton where fights broke out with a group of counter-protesters accusing the other side of being anti-immigration. It’s not clear which side started the violence.
Yellow vest protests against Trudeau policies held in many Canadian cities https://t.co/vwgwTwfOG7
— CTV News (@CTVNews) December 16, 2018
A Facebook page called “Yellow Vests Canada” with over 75,000 members says its mission is “to protest the CARBON TAX and the Treason of our country’s politicians who have the audacity to sell OUR country’s sovereignty over to the Globalist UN and their Tyrannical policies.”
James Hoskins, who joined the protests in Halifax, Nova Scotia, told CTV News, “I have never met even one Canadian that understands how a carbon tax is going to reduce carbon emissions.”
In the Prairies in Western Canada, Regina resident Rhonda Cwynar told CBC News that Canadians weren’t consulted adequately before the federal government signed the U.N. migration pact.
“We’re worried about Canada no longer controlling their own country, about us being controlled by a global government,” said Cwynar.
The U.N.-brokered migration agreement, formally known as the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration, is a legally non-binding agreement to cover all aspects of international migration.
The pact has a number of controversial objectives, including a direction to “manage borders in an integrated, secure and coordinated manner,” which critics say would give transnational bodies control over how countries manage their own borders.
Another objective of the pact calls for governments to invest in “ethical reporting standards and advertising” and cutting public funds to “media outlets that systematically promote intolerance, xenophobia, racism and other forms of discrimination towards migrants.” Critics, including the leader of Canada’s opposition Conservative Party Andrew Scheer, say this is an attempt to influence independent reporting.
In Fort McMurray, Alberta, the capital of Canada’s oil-producing region whose once-thriving energy industry has been in turmoil in recent years because of low oil prices, protesters held signs reading “cancel Bill C-69 anti-pipeline bill,” “stop the carbon tax,” and “sheep no more, asleep no more,” Fort McMurray Today reported.
Bill C-69, introduced by the federal government, expands the environmental review process for major energy projects including oil pipelines.
The “Yellow Vests Canada” Facebook page lists a number of upcoming protests on Dec. 22 in various Canadian cities including Calgary; Regina; Saskatoon; Saskatchewan; Moncton, New Brunswick; and other smaller cities in the provinces of Ontario, Alberta, and British Columbia.