Symbols matter and the meaning behind a symbol may be quite different than what you’ve come to believe.
There were two groups planning a convoy of trucks to Ottawa in February. The one group focused on the pipeline. The other group adopted the yellow vest movement.
They promoted the pipeline but added issues that clearly were directed towards the two upcoming election campaigns.
It’s rather ironic that Alberta, of all places, is using the French yellow vest symbol.
A bit of French history may give us pause as to whether this is a good idea.
France is awash in red tape for small and medium-sized businesses. It is one of the most unproductive countries in the G7 with chronic high unemployment and has the most pampered workforce in the free world.
President Macron showed strong leadership in announcing substantive labour reforms since his election and, yes, he is now in the implementation phase.
The French labour policies have been built on the spirit of Karl Marx and France’s most powerful union is communist-linked and is behind many of the protests. They believe the top tax rate should be 100 per cent.
Macron introduced significant labour reforms and got lukewarm support from two of the three most powerful unions.
The reforms included giving business more flexibility to negotiate working conditions, allowing small firms to by-pass union agreements, capping court-awarded redundancy payouts for unfair dismissals, and allowing firms to hire people shorter for specific purposes.
The introduction of a carbon levy on fuel was just the last straw that triggered the yellow vest riots and protests.
Alas, violence begets more violence and now the weekend yellow vest events in France attract fascists, troublemakers and most likely Russian operatives.
The history of symbols does matter. It’s like wearing a swastika pin and not knowing the hatred it represents.
In Poland today, an All-Polish Youth movement, a radical, right-wing organization, is using fascist symbols and Adolf Hitler slogans such as ‘death to the enemies of the fatherland’.
They interrupt public forums and threaten anyone who does not believe as they do. Using violence to get their point across is on the rise.
The All-Polish youth cloak themselves in nationalism and the Catholic Church in the same way ISIS cloak themselves in the caliphate and Islam—each completely misrepresenting the teaching of either Jesus or Mohammad.
The group organizing a convoy to Ottawa promoting only the pipeline has announced they have cancelled their trip saying there was too much confusion with two planned convoys.
An organizer opined that all the extra issues attached to the yellow vest movement was diluting the core message— that a pipeline to coastal waters is economically important for all provinces.
Unfortunately, those in Alberta pushing the yellow vest movement are using this French symbol, ironically based in socialism, to incite anger, emotion and protest towards both levels of government and Eastern Canadians.
How much more effective it would be if we collectively pull together and respectfully make our case for a pipeline, including the powerful visual of a single-focus pipeline convoy moving across the country without yellow vests.