It seems lately that we can hardly make it a week without seeing some illegal protesters costing taxpayers and workers untold dollars due to the growing Canadian cowardice in handling them. This week, we are watching the ongoing illegal blockade of a road to a DeBeers mine in Northern Ontario by some members of the grossly dysfunctional and likely totally corrupted Attawapiskat native band.
Never mind that the road being blockaded does not even enter the Attawapiskat reserve. Never mind that DeBeers has hired hundreds of members of the Attawapiskat reserve over the years. Never mind the many many millions of dollars that DeBeers has paid to Attawapiskat in good faith to operate 90 kilometers away from the reserve. Never mind the free housing DeBeers donated to the reserve (which they trashed). A handful of natives feel that they have not extorted enough from a legitimate enterprise and dammit they are determined to block a road to the mine until they get more money for having drawn oxygen within extortion range of the enterprise!
With this clearly illegal extortion effort happening, what have we seen in response from Canadian authorities? Sadly and predictably pretty much nothing. After weeks of this a Sheriff has been flown out to present the illegal blockaders with a piece of paper which they promptly disposed of. In the meantime, untold dollars are being lost by a legitimate company. Authorities are essentially in collusion with the extortionists in their hopes that DeBeers will simply pay them off before any real law enforcement is required and will hide behind paper and sit on their cowardly hands in hopes that this becomes somebody else’s problem.
Few things make the collective testicles of authorities shrivel faster in all Canadian jurisdictions than having to deal with protesters. The knackers of officials suck totally into their figurative abdomens when it turns out that the protesters are natives.
Years of cowardly appeasement have put segments of people above the law as long as they are claiming to be protesting something. Never mind that there is no Charter right to illegal demonstrations. How many times do we need to cave to parasitic lawyers and waste the court’s time (and our money) to prove this? Does a police officer need to get an injunction for you or me should we say block the door to a 7-11? Of course not.
Despite what should be an almost self-evident reality in the limitations of legal demonstration, authorities use this fictional charter right to dodge doing their job and protesters and extortionists have figured this out quickly.
Let’s look at things from a protester’s point of view for a moment. Greenpeace is huge multinational corporation with tens of millions of dollars to spend annually. Despite that monstrous budget, Greenpeace would rather keep it’s professional fundraisers and protesters employed (not to mention highly paid management) than blow money on expensive advertising campaigns. At an economic summit in Calgary a couple weeks ago, for the price of a poorly made banner and a couple idiots holding it, Greenpeace managed to get free advertising throughout Canadian media as they illegally trespassed and disrupted a legitimate meeting. No charges were laid on the banner holders and they were escorted out at a cost to the local security and loss of the valuable time of legitimate meeting participants and viewers. At that cost, Greenpeace has been virtually invited to act illegally!
Why is it so hard to simply charge these people? Why so tough to issue fines?
Of course when somebody asks that the law be enforced on illegal protesters, some vapid clown will almost inevitably say: “Oh so you want police to just jump on in there and bust some heads!”. No you figurative wanker! Heads need not be busted and nobody is proposing such.
In the fall of 2011, I set out to demonstrate the double standards of law enforcement when it comes to protesters when our callow authorities refused to remove illegal squatters from Calgary’s Olympic Plaza. As expected, I as a law abiding taxpayer was charged within hours of breaking the very bylaws that the illegal squatters were. Along with demonstrating the legal double standard though, I also (admittedly unintentionally) demonstrated how rationed law enforcement works.
Upon noticing that I was parked in such a way as to violate local bylaws, I was approached by bylaw officers and asked to move. No billyclubs, no teargas and no initial charges. I was simply and politely asked to move. I politely replied that I was not moving as I was exercising my right to express myself and like the squatters around me, I was above the law. The bylaw officers then called the police who arrived and politely asked me to move. I explained my position again and politely told them to pound sand. After much headscratching and many phone calls, the Calgary police decided to charge me with bylaw violation and to tow my truck. I was told of this and asked to leave my truck so that it may be towed. I asked what would happen if I refused to leave my truck. I was told that I would be forcefully removed and charged with criminal obstruction. At this point I decided I had made my point and left my truck voluntarily. Below one can see the collection of fines I acquired as my truck was towed away. Well worth a few bucks to make the point though.
Now was that all so hard? Did they have to beat my head? Did it cause a riot? There is utterly no reason that the same process can’t be used on other illegal activities.
As the “Idle No More” thing fell apart, their demonstrators felt they would hold one more earth shattering “day of action” last January. Roads from four directions were to be choked in Calgary during rush hour as masses of demonstrators illegally marched down them.
The reality was quite pathetic. Rather than thousands, the protesters numbered at best in the dozens. Police took the event very seriously (as they should) and had as many officers (if not more) on the ground as there were protesters along with a helicopter. Now with the dismal turnout, the protesters essentially narrowed their scope to coming from one direction rather than four and came up Macleod Trail.
As they numbered only in a few dozen, these demonstrators could very easily have simply walked along the sidewalk and made their point. Alas no, Calgary Police “negotiated” with them and not only allowed the illegal and un-permitted disruption of traffic in Calgary but facilitated it by blocking cars as can be seen below.
How much did it cost to appease this handful of directionless malcontents? How hard would it have been to simply tell them to stay on the damn sidewalk? This mess was brought about because cowardly authorities had let a handful of them block a bridge in the city only weeks earlier. Appeasement only leads to more lawbreaking.
The collective temper tantrum of Quebec students cost us $90,000,000 as taxpayers as authorities hid and kept trying to negotiate and appease this group of spoiled brats for months. The “occupy” joke caused likely millions of dollars in damages to parks across the country when combined along with millions in law enforcement costs.
Aside from the monetary costs, lets look at the resources. Personally, I would rather see police officers chasing down pedophiles or drunk drivers rather than babysitting screaming hipsters and whining natives. Our law enforcement resources are finite. When we dedicate time and people to these protesters, we lose law enforcement in other areas.
The tantrums and protests are getting more frequent and more destructive as while most of the participants are indeed idiots, they do understand that they can reap havoc with impunity in Canada. When will we hit a breaking point here? When will citizens staple some figurative cajones upon their elected officials and demand that our laws be enforced? I do think it will happen eventually, but can’t happen soon enough.
Appeasement is a policy of cowardice and failure. It has to stop.