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Yellow vest protest comes to Moose Jaw

A series of protests that started in France over escalating fuel taxes hit Moose Jaw on Saturday, only in much more muted form
A series of protests that started in France over escalating fuel taxes and drew tens of thousands of people to the streets hit Moose Jaw on Saturday, only in much more muted form.
Around a dozen 'yellow vest' protesters and counter-protesters picketed in front of city hall throughout the late morning and early afternoon, drawing honks from passing motorists and passing on respective messages – be it stopping Bill C-69 or rejecting racism, depending upon their respective point of view.
When it comes to the former, Moose Jaw yellow vest organizer Al Church felt the importance of the oil industry to western Canada and how the bill would affect it is worth hitting the streets.
Bill C-69 aims to bring wholesale changes to the oil industry, with a focus on regulations that opponents feel will strangle the industry into collapse.
“Pipelines are the lifeblood of our country and especially western Canada and Saskatchewan and Alberta,” Church said as the protest mingled around him. “So that's one reason we're here. People are fed up with the government standing in the way and want things to change.”
Another hot topic issue for the group is the recent United Nations migration pact, which seeks to ease immigration all over the world. Protesters feel that's a dangerous precedent which could lead to unsavoury types finding it easier to cross the border – an issue Church feels can be touched on without racism.
“We don't want unrestricted migration to Canada,” he explained. “Now, I'm not against immigrants, I'm a product of immigrants, my grandparents on both sides came from outside this country. Immigration built this country and we're very much in support of immigration, but safe, careful screening of people. We don't want ISIS people back here, and if we do there's something wrong with our system.”
Counter-protestors, meanwhile, pointed to the “racist” undertone that other yellow vest protests have taken on, in spite of organizers' efforts to keep that from happening.
“There are a lot of hateful comments,” said counter-protester Darin Milo of Regina, who carried a prominent 'Deport Bigots' sign. “It's one thing if it's a movement about supporting Canadian jobs — everyone supports Canadian jobs — but then it turns into migration and Muslims, dragging religion into it. All you have to do is go online and you can see the hate.
“If you want your movement to be about pipelines, then make it about that, but if you're allowing racists to spread their message of hate, then you can't help that feel these people are embracing racism.”
While the signs, comments and general tone of the Moose Jaw protest didn't carry the anger and violence of other such gatherings, Milo pointed to Facebook as an example of how certain subsets of individuals have co-opted the yellow vests for their own message of hate.
“If you go on the yellow vest Facebook pages, it's not hard to find just a mountain of racism,” Milo said. “The hate against people because they're Muslims or where they come from. It's just promoting white supremacy and it shouldn't be about that at all.”

On a whole, Church was happy to see the protest take place and how the movement has gone global.

“I think it's just wonderful. It's kind of been pent-up, people are ticked and they're just fed up with it, it's one things after another and another and it's time to act. This is the first protest I've been a part of since Vietnam, so I guess it's every 40 years,” he laughed.

“I think there are a lot of people like me, we're the silent majority who just talk; we never do anything and we're voicing our opinion now.”
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