For the third consecutive weekend, groups of protesters have been heard this Saturday and Sunday in several urban centers in Canada. They wore yellow vests, a symbol of the movement that has shaken French politics, but their demands are different while the French yellow vests have mobilized to criticize the rise in fuel prices and the deterioration of purchasing power in Canada the protesters they do against the Government of Justin Trudeau.
which, they say turns its back on the oil industry, imposes a plan to tax carbon emissions and shows to their knowledge too much openness to immigration. “Trudeau traitor” and “Canada first” are two of the phrases most read on banners and social networks.
The demonstrations have taken place mainly in the western United States, in the provinces of Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan. They have congregated hundreds of people, but not thousands, as in the case of France. “We want Trudeau to tell us why he has not supported the oil industry,” Craig Chandler, one of the protesters in Calgary, Alberta, told CTV last Saturday.
The extraction of hydrocarbons -concentrated mainly in the west goes through difficult times. The price of a Canadian barrel is low and companies have difficulty transporting this resource. The Government of Alberta estimates that 80 million Canadian dollars (about 52 million euros) are not paid each day.
In June, Trudeau announced the nationalization of the Trans Mountain pipeline, in an operation of 2,400 million dollars. However, the extension of this project to send millions of additional barrels to British Columbia is paralyzed after a federal judge decreed that indigenous groups were not sufficiently consulted. Also, the Canadian government announced last week a plan of aid to the oil sector for 1,600 million dollars.
Thomas Collombat, professor of political science at the University of Quebec in Outaouais, believes in conversation, that “Trudeau’s claims in the west are not new.” “The recent protests reflect old frictions. This dates from Trudeau father, following the implementation of the National Energy Program.
There is a grudge: its inhabitants think that they do not receive fair treatment for their contribution to the national economy, “he explains. Collombat points out that the prime minister was criticized harshly in other parts of the country for his oil policy, but for opposite reasons: “It is thought that he has given great support to this industry.”
The yellow vests Canadians also express their opposition to the carbon tax plan established by Trudeau for provinces that do not have their own program next year. The protesters consider it a federal interference and a brake on economic development. While the largest protests have occurred in the western regions of Canada, dozens of people have also demonstrated in cities such as Toronto and Ottawa (Ontario), Halifax (Nova Scotia) and Moncton (New Brunswick).
Will Leeman, 41 years old and owner of a digital content company, is one of the yellow vestsof Nova Scotia: “You have to change this system, for example, demand accountability and submit issues to a referendum,” he says by telephone. “Many Canadians have been abandoned, they have paid taxes, their parents and grandparents have built this country.”
In the social network Facebook the slogans do not differ from those of the streets. “We protest the carbon tax and the betrayal of politicians in our country, as they have had the audacity to sell national sovereignty to the UN and its tyrannical policies,” reads one of the groups created in the first week.
December and that already has more than 92,000 members. The protesters refer to the Global Compact for Migration of Marrakech, signed, among many other nations, by Canada. The agreement, without legal ties, will not imply changes in the immigration policies of the North American country, but it has ignited the flame of hatred among the opponents of migration. In response, different groups have organized demonstrations against yellow vestsfor this issue, since they consider that their vision is fueled by xenophobia.
On Saturday, the Edmonton police had to intervene to dissolve a confrontation between the antagonistic groups and a week before two people were arrested in the same city for a similar incident. A clash that also occurred in the capital, Ottawa, last day 8, and that resulted in nine arrests.
In an interview with TVA on Monday, Trudeau responded briefly about the yellow vests he said that conservative politicians confuse some people with discourses that relativize environmental protection and promote negative attitudes towards immigrants. “It is dangerous when you resort to emotions and not to facts. They are not the opinions of the majority of Canadians, “the prime minister said.
“They say the agreement is not binding, but that gives the government the chance to change the immigration laws later. They are sacrificing our sovereignty despite the voices against. Why will they bring more people? It is better for the government to support countries in difficulty instead of opening more doors, “complains Will Leeman.
For Thomas Collombat, of the University of Quebec in Outaouias, it is still early to know if the yellow vests could become a weight movement in Canada . However, it underlines some conditions that invite us to think that it will be difficult to achieve so much. “There are criticisms of Trudeau, but from contrary positions. It would be very unlikely that the signs would align, “he says. Similarly, Collombat points out that there are major differences between France and Canada.
“You have to avoid stereotypes. It is thought that the French go out to protest on the streets every day and that Canadians never do it. Canada also has a tradition of mobilizations, although less than that of France. The French have a very strong central state and they know against whom to protest. Canadian federalism causes something different: the provinces have a lot of leeway, “he says. Meanwhile, Canadian yellow vests are already promoting the next day of protests. It will be next Saturday.