Protests ain’t what they used to be

Is it just me – or are public protests not all they used to be?

Is it just me – or are public protests not all they used to be?

Even our seeming credulous media couldn’t make much of the fewer-than 250 people who turned out to protest a speech by former US vice-president Dick Cheney at the Vancouver Club.

Cheney, unfazed, delivered his speech – and presumably collected his fee and moved on to the next crowd interested enough to listen to the bombastic egotist.

To me, the weirdest thing is that there are enough people in Vancouver prepared to pay $500 to form an audience to listen to Cheney promote his new book.

Who says the “whole” economy is in trouble?

Similarly, in Ottawa, the predicted “biggest display of public disobedience” in Canadian history rather fizzled as only an estimated 400 people, some waving banners, gathered on Parliament Hill to climb a fence and get arrested to protest the Enbridge pipeline from Alberta to the Gulf of Mexico in Texas.

While the protest drew only a few hundred people, I guess that probably included an un-counted number just there to watch what was happening.

There were no Darryl Hannahs or other Hollywood “celebrities” who chose instead to be among the more than 1,200 cuffed and arrested (on camera) in a larger protest in front of the White House in Washington earlier.

In Ottawa the “celebrity” drawing power was clearly lower. So the “offensive” was then switched to a planned sit-in for Monday. The Sunday Ottawa protest featured primarily aboriginal speakers from BC and Alberta, who quickly changed the focus of the XL pipeline to another Enbridge pipeline plan, the Northern Gateway to Kitimat.

Also in attendance was a large contingent of police,  Council of Canadians national chairman Maude Barlow and Brigette DePape, a former Senate page who drew national attention for being fired in June after raising a “Stop Harper” sign during the reading of the Throne Speech, as well as a few NDP MPs.

The president of the Communications, Energy and Paper workers union, David Coles, was first to be arrested.

There were 117 arrests for “crossing the line” – about one quarter of the crowd – but again, no criminal charges were laid as of Monday. Those arrested were charged with trespass and the fine in $95. Peace and love!

On Monday about the same number showed up, breached the barrier in an orderly fashion, climbed the barrier using a small stool, sat on the grass and were arrested.

 

 

 

The National Hockey League is again making a big deal of its “hard line stance” on head injuries and concussions,  but the mundane keeps creeping in to pull the focus away from the main action, a flurry of pre-season suspensions for questionable hits.

Mundane non-news like the so-called “racial” banana throwing incident with Wayne Simmonds in London, Ontario,  followed by Simmonds alleged homophobic slur against much-disliked New York Ranger, Sean Avery.

The RCMP have apparently found the banana thrower – amazing detective  ID work, resulting from a phone call with a name.

Why, this was also followed by an actual arrest of a 26-year old from London, and subsequent charges of carrying out a prohibited act under provincial legislation. The police chief showed up at a press conference to make the announcement. Maximum fine is $2,000.

Still, that’s one more than the Vancouver hockey riot in June has produced.

 

The NHL wisely dismissed Avery’s claim, stating there was no proof anything was said. The following day, a US channel played amped-up video of Avery skating

in a game against Philadelphia repeatedly threatening to kill Claude Giroux of the Flyers.

Bananas, gay slurs, death threats on ice – wow!

Really NHL players are professionals and have to have thicker skins than this, don’t they?

 

 

 

This windy, wet summer in Kitimat has not exactly been unusual – but it has been very abnormally depressing when compared with the past two nice-weather summer seasons.

I’d have to say the continuous flows of cool, wet and windy weather systems over the North Coast since June has been the worst I’ve seen in 30 years here, and I’m looking forward to at least seeing a couple of dry days here and there just to give me time to put the back yard in order without having to resort to rain wear.

I’ve only had to change the tank on my bbq once this summer. That alone is an indicator of the timing of a lot of the wet weather – like all day!

I know there will be a couple of more lawn cuttings needed before I can run the gas out of the mower and put new gas into the snow blower and switch their places by the garage door.

It’s been such a short season since the last of the snow on the lawn, so seeing new snow on the mountain tops in late September is just downright discouraging.

Equally, being stopped to watch the road crews bolstering the Highway 37  Kitimat River banks isn’t fun either, especially considering the dramatic and disruptive heavy weather impacts on roads in Stewart and Bella Coola.

Nevertheless, the date on this paper is October! You just can’t get away from it. Christmas remains inevitably set for three months from last Sunday.

 

ahewitson@telus.net