It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Estevan has hosted a couple of Yellow Vest Movement protests and a truck convoy recently.
After all, a central tenant of the Yellow Vest Movement in Western Canada focuses on their opposition to the carbon tax. The carbon tax, of course, will have serious consequences on the local economy, and the economy of Saskatchewan, once it is officially force-fed on Saskatchewan by the federal Liberal government.
The oil and gas sector, the mining industry and the agriculture sector all stand to lose once the carbon tax is imposed on this province.
And you aren’t going to make many enemies in southeast Saskatchewan, or in Saskatchewan as a whole, if you’re voicing opposition to a carbon tax.
The carbon tax isn’t the only issue for the Yellow Vest Movement. They are also opposed to illegal immigration, although it should be noted that the organizers of the local protests have said they have no problem with those who come to Canada legally.
It’s important to make that distinction, because those who oppose immigration as a whole are really lacking in redeeming qualities.
The Yellow Vest Movement in Western Canada s also voicing support for Canada’s veterans, an opinion that isn’t likely to be met by much opposition.
The first protest in Estevan on Dec. 15 was very well attended, with more than 50 people in front of city hall in a peaceful protest. These people weren’t belligerent or shouting crude slogans. They stood in front of city hall, carried their signs and chatted among themselves.
The loudest noise came from the supportive motorists who honked their horns as they drove past.
So you had to expect there would be an encore, and there was one on Dec. 22. This time more people gathered in front of city hall, and there were more signs. A couple of people carried Canadian flags.
There were a couple of crude signs, but nothing that would be classified as illegal or even embarrassing.
But this time there was also a truck convoy, and it’s unlikely that anyone who witnessed the convoy will forget it, regardless of whether they agree with the message of the participants.
A total of 427 trucks, most of them semi-trailer units, rolled through the streets of the city. People lined Fourth Street and King Street to see the trucks drive by. Many people showed their support by honking horns or cheering.
After all, it’s not every day you see 427 semi trucks drive by.
If you’re wondering how long it takes for 427 trucks to rumble past, it took nearly an hour for the semis to drive past city hall. Reputedly, there were trucks still at the starting point, the Bert Baxter Transport yard northeast of the city, while other trucks were nearing the end of the route.
Yes, they were driving illegally through downtown Estevan, rather than using the city’s truck route two blocks to the north. And they were loud with their incessant blaring of horns, which likely didn’t make some residents too happy.
But is anyone actually going to be complaining? The drivers involved with the truck convoy were going to bat for Estevan, for Saskatchewan, for our industries, for our economy and for our competitiveness. Most local people will give them a pass for the inconvenience they caused travellers during the first full day of Christmas vacation, or for the imposition they caused last-minute Christmas shoppers.
We’re not sure whether the Estevan Police Service received any noise complaints for all of the truck horns.
The people who organized the Yellow Vest and truck convoy rallies deserve a lot of credit for their efforts, even if you don't agree with them. We hope they'll keep fighting.
Unfortunately for the Yellow Vest Movement, their participation is unlikely to change anything. They’ll send their message to Ottawa on the carbon tax, illegal immigration and treatment of veterans, but the federal government will continue with its current policies.
If you get thousands of people to turn out to Yellow Vest rallies in metro Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa and Vancouver, then the Liberals might heed the message a little more closely.
But the government likely isn’t going to pay attention when the protests are taking place in communities and constituencies where they have little hope of winning in the next federal election.