By Andy Crosby and Tim Kitz

As this paper — our 10th anniversary edition! — goes to press, a large convoy of trucks carrying the alt-right Canadian version of the gilets jaunes (that’s “yellow vests” for our Albertan visitors) will arrive and clog downtown Ottawa.

Driving Albertan trucks across the country so they can idle in Ottawa — on unceded Algonquin territory and at the heart of Canada’s political institutions — is metaphorically indicative of the kind of country these folks envision. They want to spread Alberta’s already massive carbon footprint through pipelines across this nation, to the Pacific Ocean in the west and the Atlantic Ocean in the east.

Key to this entire debate, indeed, is the issue of Indigenous land.

Think how fun it would be to have an economy that isn’t based on lies, injustice, and self-deception! You’ll feel better, we’re sure of it, healthier, saner — less prone to these fits of rage and misguided scapegoating.

This is the fundamental point that is missing from political and media commentary on the Canadian Yellow Vests movement, as it has morphed into a white-nationalist alt-right freakshow and freakout over Trudeau’s inability to build a pipeline. The point is, sovereign Indigenous nations have refused the construction of pipelines on their unceded territories.

Sure, Trudeau sucks, but his hands are tied. (Go ahead, chant “Lock him up” or whatever makes ya feel better). The Canadian state was built upon the theft of Indigenous lands and resources, and Indigenous peoples are taking a stand and saying ‘no’ to the Trans Mountain expansion and other pipelines.

There exists a duty to consult in Canadian law and consent is required in Indigenous law. There has not been adequate consultation and consent has not been obtained. Alors, no fucking pipeline. Sorry, not sorry, Alberta.

Look, Alberta. We get it. The recent collapse of oil prices has caused real economic suffering. Proposed pipelines that would enable you to get your capital and carbon intensive tar sands out of the ground and transported to market have been stalled. That must be galling, when it feels like turning on the pipeline taps would stop your economic hemorrhaging. (How you like that mixed metaphor?!)

But maybe this is an opportunity to think about what you’re doing. Do you really want to turn your land into a blasted moonscape and your waters into poisonous tailings ponds — you know, more than you already have? Have you even read the scientific reports that say your tar sands have to stay in the ground if we’re to have a non-apocalyptic future?

Perhaps you should look toward reconfiguring your economy? Try developing a long-term strategy not based solely on uninhibited oil extraction and export? Green jobs are good jobs and a green economy is the wave of the future.

Why don’t you try honouring the treaties the Canadian government made with Indigenous peoples on the land you occupy? Why not clean up the polluted moonscape you have made out of their once pristine territories? Have you noticed how much people love your wilderness — how much good national parks like Banff do your economy?

Think how fun it would be to have an economy that isn’t based on lies, injustice, and self-deception! You’ll feel better, we’re sure of it, healthier, saner — less prone to these fits of rage and misguided scapegoating.

And sure, continue to threaten to withhold transfer payments and secede from the federation, if it makes you feel better. We don’t like the government elites of Ottawa much ourselves. (Bioregional secession for everyone!)

Look, we know that the mainstream media has been embarrassing you — god damn that Marxist public broadcaster — by interviewing right-wing extremists clad in yellow vests screaming racist and Islamophobic slurs that revolve around the UN immigration conspiracy and what your troops perceive as a free-for-all at Canada’s borders.

White supremacists are giving y’all a bad name, and it’s really hard to feel bad for you. You know why? Because when a bunch of right-wingers get together to wave Canadian flag, the fascists inevitably come out of the woodworks. The alt-right loves to rally around migration issues, wave Canadian flags, and start spouting off about  “Making Canada White Again.” You really shouldn’t be surprised.

Parenthetically, it’s pretty hilarious when you accuse these supremacists of stealing and twisting your movement, when that’s exactly what you did to the original French Yellow Vest movement. And the French origin is doubly ironic, given your broad-based anti-French sentiment — you know, the way you pro-pipeliners merrily blame Québecers for killing the Energy East pipeline and half of the problems of federalism.

Anyways, it’s entirely predictable that far-right elements have latched on to your movement, just as they do in our neck of the woods — where neo-fascist, white supremacist militias attend rallies hosted by benignly-named groups such as the Canadian Coalition of Concerned Citizens, whose creepy, core raison d’être just so happens to be anti-immigration and Islamophobic politics.

We like the satirical Beaverton’s take on this. They took a hilarious jab at the Yellow Vests with headline, “We’re not racist if you ignore the things we say and do.

While a tad sensationalist, memes such as the one included here draw attention to the hypocrisy of Albertans adopting the yellow vest as a symbol of their discontent: that tar sands oil remains landlocked, Trudeau has somehow hurt their feelings in a very mean way, and that countries are attempting to develop more humane migration policies.

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