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‘Yellow vest’ protesters in Calgary demand answers from politicians
Published Saturday, December 15, 2018 4:05PM MST
Last Updated Saturday, December 15, 2018 6:32PM MST
From coast to coast, a huge number of people are participating in protests against the federal government and their own provincial governments, voicing their frustration over a myriad of issues.
One thing that ties all the demonstrations together is the fact many of the protesters donned yellow vests, a symbol that’s been adopted from the chaotic rallies that have filled the streets of Paris, France.
People there have been gathering in the streets for the past five weekends ever since the populace rose up against an increase in fuel taxes. That soon changed into a widespread protest against the extremely high cost of living in the country.
At times, the rallies have become violent, with protesters smashing and looting stores, clashing with police and setting up burning barricades in the streets.
The rallies in Calgary and other major Canadian centres have been relatively tame in comparison.
Organizers say the ‘yellow vest’ phenomenon is more of a natural element that’s been added to events now.
“Ever since France has been doing it, everybody wants to do it, “ said Craig Chandler with the Progressive Group for Independent Business.
The organization put together the rally that began outside the Kerby Centre, where Calgary-Centre MP Kent Hehr held his annual Christmas party on Saturday morning.
Chandler said the point of the rally was to show the government that they aren’t happy with their recent decisions about issues like pipelines, taxes, illegal immigration and Trudeau’s leadership itself.
“We want to know from our MP why he’s done nothing on the pipeline problem, why he’s done nothing on oil and gas when he represents oil and gas. We want to know why Quebec is getting $13B in transfer payments when we’re hurting.”
“We’re frustrated. This is his Christmas party, which is why we’re here because he’s wrecked a lot of Christmases for a lot of people in this city. We don’t understand why he’s been silent.”
Hehr said his government knows that people in Calgary are having a difficult time but they are committed to getting pipelines, like the Trans Mountain expansion, built.
“There is no doubt that we want to ensure that when Alberta does well, Canada does well,” he said.
He emphasized that the Liberal government is looking at all options to help Alberta.
Following the first rally, the group marched towards Olympic Plaza to continue their demonstration, growing to about a hundred people.
Maureen Gow-Zoelmer said the rally is about a lot of Canadians and Albertans who have had enough and are tired of looking like a disaster about our natural resources.
“Our oil and gas industry is being made to look like we’re destroying the Earth.”
She said she used to be a medic in the oilpatch, but she’s been unemployed for some time and blames Trudeau’s policies.
The rally also called for an end to Trudeau’s tenure.
Similar demonstrations have also taken place in Barrie, Halifax, Edmonton, Red Deer and Vernon.
(With files from Brad MacLeod and The Associated Press)