Exporting Protests

My city is in week 3 of an occupation. I’d use that wording if it applied to any other long-term protest. Protests have end dates. Occupations do not. There have been many occupations in recent years, most of them making the “news” are first BIPOC related. Many, many more protests, but certainly a lot of occupations as well. Absolutely support anyone’s ability to protests a cause. Doesn’t mean I agree with the position or that people have to listen, but they still have that right. They need that right.

It’s interesting to see how the political spectrum applies to this. If you agree with them, then it’s all good. If you don’t, then you want the police to come in and arrest everyone. If it was BIPOC related, then the right was vehemently against it. The recent ones are vaccine related, and the left is against.

There are plenty of laws in Canada that prevent these sorts of events, though laws are applied with context. In some parts of the country, the laws were applied verbatim and all that resulted was protests (Quebec and the National Assembly are big example). In other parts, there were clear occupations that took place. Coutts, AB is one, the Ambassador Bridge another, Pacific Highway are three examples where occupations were present and after a few weeks, the laws were applied and arrests took place.

Ottawa’s was the first, and located in a quad precinct. The city police, provincial police, national police, and finally the parliamentary police all have some skin in the game. Coordinating all of that, and not inflaming a clearly agitated group is a real nightmare. The location itself is primarily residential, government, and office buildings. These are not groups that get national empathy, nor do they impact the economy at the same scale as say, the auto industry near the Ambassador Bridge. The motivation to clear this is borderline political (though admittedly, surveys indicate national support of the protests is quite small.)

Which makes it all the more entertaining when you realize the downstream impacts. The larger political parties are drawing their borders on the issue. The leading Liberals just enacted the Emergency Measures act to put a line in the sand and apply financial restrictions. (It is easy to speculate what this will do crowdfunding platforms and banks in the future, as the infrastructure and process will be there to audit GoFundMe et al.) The only declared candidate for the opposing Conservatives is still supporting the protestors, which is effectively an albatross that will haunt that party for a long time. The provincial leaders aren’t doing much better, as they could have clearly addressed this weeks ago, and chose to either be completely silent, or borderline supportive.

And sure enough, this particular behavior has inspired others across the globe, though in nearly all cases they appear to be protests instead of occupations. Great! They can get a message across without destruction / anarchy and people can either get on board or not.

Today, Ottawa’s police chief resigned. It was clear that was the only available outcome to this event. There will be enough digging into what worked and didn’t work in the future, but the fact remains that after 3 weeks the occupation is still there. And that there’s hot tubs and a music stage built in recent days didn’t help any cause. It’s clear someone needed to pay the price for this event, and he was the prime target.

It will be interesting to see what happens next. And more so, what happens long term.

4 thoughts on “Exporting Protests

  1. I’m kind of on the fence here. The protests while a pain in the neck, and shutting down the bridge was probably a move to far, it was no where near the occupation in Seattle where it was pure anarchy and lawlessness. Do they have a valid point? Yeah I have to at least acknowledge that for the past 18 months or more, these truck drivers, doctors and nurses across the country have kept the world functioning without an inoculation. I say inoculation because it is introduced to give a resistance. Vaccine is supposed to give you immunity. But that said, here we are with covid numbers plunging, on the verge of it just being something we will need to live with like other types of influenza, and government is still trying to force people to get a medical procedure regardless of their desire. It really is a slippery slope argument. When you look at all of the measures imposed, what happens the next time. At what point are we arrested and strapped into a chair and forced to get a shot.

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    • To add on to the insanity, healthcare workers here in New Jersey that are not vaccinated are being fired, but those that have gotten the vaccine, but have currently tested positive, are being asked to come to work because there is a shortage of healthcare workers.

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      • I guess in the end it really doesn’t matter whether the protests are peaceful or violent, they are disrupting the lives of a lot of people that just want to go to work and earn a living. I can’t imagine living with the Main Street in my town shut down. When we have a Summer Solstice festival they close it off, and my street becomes the detour and parking for thousand’s attending. I can deal with it for a day, but if it was a week or more? It wouldn’t matter to me if I agreed with your cause or not.

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      • Right, that was the point of the post. Not so much what the argument was for/against, but the acts that followed.

        Time will judge if the the response here was the appropriate one, and set precedent for what comes next.

        Liked by 1 person

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