Imagine a Canada where land defenders, opposing the ecological threat of their homelands, are met with violent police and assault rifles.
A Canada where Indigenous women fighting for compensation for children who have been abused by child welfare are sued by the country. Where Black people demanding meaningful inclusion in a Pride parade incurs the wrath of a country because they spoke up at a parade they were invited to. Where Black and Indigenous people who are exercising their rights to protest are routinely monitored by the RCMP, seen as threats to the state.
Where truck drivers ram their pickups through protest lines, or decorate their vehicles with violent and racist language of inflicting harm on Indigenous peoples because of their protest.
Now, imagine a Canada where people openly support far right movements, openly complain about “depopulation of the Caucasian race …(because) the goal is, is to depopulate the Anglo-Saxon race because they are the ones with the strongest bloodlines,” and threaten to gridlock the nation’s capital or overthrow it. Where MPs are being told to hide as the mob receives police escort and are given access to washrooms and warm greetings with the same leaders who threaten to criminalize Black and Indigenous protestors for fighting for their lives.
This is the current reality, Canada. And it’s ugly.
This convoy, which I refuse to link with truckers or “freedom,” shows us who is allowed to speak up in this country and who will be arrested, attacked and threatened for doing so. This week has shown that a violent group of white supremacists, proudly waving Confederate flags in the nation’s capital are given that privilege.
This is just another glaring example of the ongoing legacy of racism and colonialism in this country. Don’t get it twisted. This shows us that our skin colour automatically makes us more threatening than those who spent a week destroying infrastructure and openly threatening to unseat our democratically elected leader. Where people in this convoy are fighting for their barely articulated concepts of “freedom” and an end to “mandates” we are fighting for the state to stop harming us with their state-funded police brutality. We protest for our land to not be destroyed, to repair the harms the state continues to inflict, for clean water.
For schools where our young people can thrive and not be harmed, given fair and equal representation in levels of leadership. However, when we peacefully do this, taking great care to not even hint at violence, we are dehumanized, criminalized, subject to state violence, and sometimes even killed.
We are spied upon, labelled as state agitators, terrorists and are subjected to threats and violence from the public who disagrees with us while the state looks the other way.
For those who work to actively dismantle the racist systems and values of this country, the reaction from our leaders and the media to this convoy was to be predicted. While some love to separate ourselves from the U.S. — living a fantasy that things are somehow more equitable here — we hope if anything that this week has been illuminating.
It is clear who is allowed to protest with state and police support, and who is not.