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

Trail cannabis shop gets green light from province

The Higher Path hopes to open doors in next couple of weeks

Kootenay view from the top

Blue skies greeted those who ventured to the top of Granite Mountain

Man spotted with shotgun in East Trail leads to weapons discovery

RCMP recover numerous weapons and stolen items after search on Fifth Ave.

Smoke Eaters make big move between the pipes, sign WHL goaltender with Trail ties

Trail Smoke Eaters add WHL goaltender, Donovan Buskey, to line up at trade deadline

Butterflies for Rossland brother and sister duo heading to world ski championships

Remi and Jasmine Drolet will represent Canada in Finland

UK lawmakers reject Brexit deal in 432-202 vote

House of Commons votes against the deal struck between Britain’s government and the EU

Millennial Money: Don’t let Instagram envy get you into debt

A full 48 per cent of U.S. households have credit card debt

Jury debates fate of man accused of killing 12-year-old B.C. girl 40 years ago

Police allege Garry Handlen told a cop how he abducted, sexually assaulted and strangled Monica Jack in May 1978

B.C. city’s computer system suffered malware attack last year

No personal data was compromised when City of Cranbrook was hit by ransomware last spring.

Letters on way to all homeowners in B.C. speculation tax communities

Property owners have to register to avoid vacant-home tax

New orca calf in Salish Sea ‘healthy and active’

Birth cause for celebration but things still dire genetically, expert says

Good Samaritan rescues cat found in heaps of garbage at B.C. landfill

The cat was abandoned and left to die at the Foothills Boulevard Regional Landfill, the BC SPCA says

East Kootenay town pitches $80m multi-purpose community centre

City of Fernie vies for slice of cost-sharing pie to integrate recreation facilities into new centre

Most Read