Thanks to a gullible media and some pretty lax security screening, the anti-pipeline insurgency chalked up a minor victory in Nanaimo.
As I watched a live stream of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Nanaimo town hall, broadcast from Vancouver Island University, I thought the crowd seemed more rude and aggressive than even a typical activist audience.
I know B.C. has given us some pretty noisy groups who practise aggressive media tactics toward news outlets that thrive on conflict. I realize Greenpeace, the David Suzuki Foundation and Dogwood are all willing to make a huge fuss if only that will get them on television.
But I was thinking town halls were different. I thought they were a place for citizens to discuss issues with their political leadership. I was expecting some level of respect from the live audience. And most were fairly respectful – but not all.
Now I understand why.
If the term “insurgency” could ever be applied to an activist movement, then it seemed applicable to a few vocal activists in Nanaimo that day.
First, a quick political science refresher: an insurgency is normally defined as a protracted, aggressive campaign against civil authority or an established government.
Now, consider that one of the women ejected from the Nanaimo town hall after acknowledging she would not respect any other voices in the room including, I presume, those of several First Nations chiefs and elders, is known as a Greenpeace activist, appearing on their website in professionally-produced photos for the media to download.
Thanks to our blind tolerance of the manipulation of these “green” groups and their employees, Canada is one of the few sources of global oil supply that has had all new pipelines obstructed, while also facing increasing carbon and regulatory costs. Thanks to the fact we bend over backwards as we try to win “social licence” from anti-oil warriors, we have no new pipelines under construction, no LNG facilities operating and Canadian drillers are moving their rigs south to chase prospects in Texas, and opposition to our sector and our country’s prosperity hasn’t budged. They only get stronger by the day.
Let’s at least call this what it is. What I saw on that live stream from Nanaimo wasn’t simply anti-pipeline; what I saw was anti-social, anti-democratic and anti-Canadian.
As a country, we can do so much better. It’s time for action.
Cody Battershill is a Calgary Realtor and founder/spokesperson for CanadaAction.ca, a volunteer organization that supports Canadian energy development and the environmental, social and economic benefits that come with it.