Yellow vest protests should leave us red faced with embarrassment

Promoting yellow vest protests in Red Deer is an embarrassment to our city.

The symbol of the yellow vest in France has very little to do with energy issues in Alberta. The movement may have begun as legitimate protest against high fuel prices in that country, but it was quickly co-opted by violent extremists on both the right and the left; people who have no other agenda but promoting hate against refugees, with destruction and lawlessness thrown in as an added bonus.

There are reasons to be unhappy with the economic situation in Alberta, but if local yellow vest protesters are conflating carbon taxes, lack of pipeline capacity and the presence of foreign-looking people, they are either being deceived or are trying to deceive us.

It was former Conservative governments — provincial and federal — that created our pipeline crisis through poor planning and plain inaction. It was the Supreme Court of Canada, not any current government, that stopped the pipelines in their tracks.

As for the carbon tax, it would be nice if protesters could present a better market-driven idea for Canada to reduce our greenhouse gas production — preferably one without massive subsidies to big business, which columnist Lee Harding of the Frontier Centre for Public Policy says is the problem of the current plan.

So far, no other option has been offered, only generalized shouting aimed at getting populist politicians elected.

Blaming the wrong people for our problems is not good enough. Kicking action on climate change down the road for our children and grandchildren to deal with is not good enough.

These are immature reactions to our own self-made discomfort. Frankly, they are embarrassing.

We, in Red Deer, can do better than that.

Greg Neiman, Red Deer

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