Yellow Vest protesters demonstrate in Cranbrook

Group wearing high-visibiltiy vests gather outside MP office; counter-protest group also present

The Yellow Vest movement hit Cranbrook on Saturday afternoon, as a group wearing high-visibility vests staged a protest outside Kootenay Columbia MP Wayne Stetski’s office.

The Yellow Vest group was protesting Canada signing onto a United Nations agreement laying out 23 objectives for safe, orderly and regular migration.

“We’re really big for making sure that borders are enforced, but more than anything, we’re here to stand up for Canadians,” said Ebon Smylie, who organized the protest.

Smylie pushed back against against accusations of racism in the broader Canadian Yellow Vest movement.

“We are not against immigration; we are against illegal migration of people coming in here who don’t have any security checks and we don’t know who they are,” Smylie said. “This is not a movement about racism. We are here to say we have no problem with people coming into our country as long as they are going to be a part of our country and make Canada the safe place we all grew up in.”

The group was also protesting the lack of progress on the Trans Mountain pipeline and the treatment of Canadian veterans, as Smylie slammed proposed changes to a federal government plan that would cut $1.8 billion in funding for veteran programs.

A separate group was also present as a counter-protest who were concerned about underlying tones of racism and LGBTQ discrimination in the broader Yellow Vest movement as well as environmental consequences to pipeline expansion.

The counter-protesters drew comparisons between the Canadian Yellow Vest movement to the rise of the ‘alt-right’ in the United States, with highly visible white supremacy demonstrations such as the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville last year.

That rally, which began with a procession of people carrying lit tiki-torches chanting white supremacist slogans through a university campus, violently culminated the next day with the horrific death of Heather Heyer, who died after a man drove a car into a crowd of counter protesters.

Amanda, one of counter-protesters at Saturday’s Yellow Vest demonstration, was uncomfortable about connections between the Yellow Vest movement and anti-immigration groups such as the Sons of Odin and the Northern Guard.

“This protest is basically in favour of anti-immigration, anti-Muslim, anti-brown people, said Amanda, a counter protester referencing the yellow vest movement. “Canada has a long history of problems with racism and xenophobia; that xenophobia led to residential schools and the destruction of the entire Native culture.”

The counter-protesters also called for a halt on the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline and the practice of fracking.

“Without the environment, we have nothing,” said Beth. “We cannot build any more pipelines. We cannot do any more fracking. We need to save the water, the air and the environment that we have right now.”

Just Posted

Keep motorized vehicles off Trans-Canada Trail

Government considers allowing off-road vehicles on Trans Canada Trail

West Kootenay EcoSociety opens new office in downtown Trail

Located on Eldorado Street, the new site opened last week

Tell the Times

Web Poll: Based on a popular news story locally or beyond

Ambitious plan to expand Salmo came to naught

Place Names: Salmo and Slocan neighbourhoods

Updated: Early-morning fire near Trail destroys travel trailer and van

An arson-trained RCMP investigator will examine the scene

VIDEO: Langley Ribfest met with protesters

Groups that oppose the event for various reasons plan to be on site each of the three days.

Canadians killed in Afghanistan honoured during emotional dedication ceremony

One-hundred-fifty-eight Canadian soldiers died during the mission

‘I’m just absolutely disgusted’: Husband furious after B.C. Mountie’s killer gets day parole

Kenneth Fenton was sentenced to prison after he fatally struck Const. Sarah Beckett’s cruiser

Sea-to-Sky Gondola in B.C. likely out of commission until 2020

Sea to Sky Gondola carries between 1,500 and 3,000 people every day during the summer season

It’s snow joke: Up to 30 cm of snow expected to fall in northeastern B.C.

Alaska Highway, Fort Nelson to be hit with August snowstorm, according to Environment Canada

Helicopter-riding dog Mr. Bentley now featured on cans of new B.C.-made beer

Partial proceeds from every pack go to Children’s Wish

PHOTOS: Weapons seized at Portland right-wing rally, counterprotests

Not all who gathered Saturday were with right-wing groups or antifa

Discussion on grief and loss between Stephen Colbert, Anderson Cooper goes viral

The exchange includes emotional question from Cooper, and outlook on grief as a child

Toronto activist calling on federal parties to nominate more black candidates

Fewer than 20 black Canadians have been nominated so far, including some Liberal MPs seeking re-election

Most Read