Motorists who crossed the busy intersection at Government Road and Highway 39 around midday on Saturday would have seen “Yellow Vest” protesters lining both sides of the bridge over the Souris River, with signs protesting everything from the federal government to the impending carbon tax.
The protest lasted just over two hours, and was organized the day before via the Weyburn chapter’s Facebook page, with around 30 people taking part in the protest altogether.
For the Weyburn protesters, the issues varied, but many of them centred around taxes and immigration, and targeted the federal Liberals under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as the main culprit.
“For me, it’s the UN,” said one of the protest organizers Bill Allen. “Canada’s supposed to be a sovereign country, not letting other dictators determine who gets to live in our country. As a Canadian, I don’t want other countries determining if our borders are open to illegal immigrants. I’m not against immigration, our country was built on it.”
He estimated about 90 per cent of passing motorists were honking or waving their support as they drove by, and said the Weyburn group will be holding more of these protests in the coming weeks.
With a federal election coming up in 2019, Allen said there are plans by Yellow Vest Canada to mount a huge convoy from the West to drive to Ottawa sometime this year.
“For me, the big issue is taxation,” said Randy Schiller, pointing out that “55 per cent of my income is going to three levels of government. That’s got to stop. The carbon tax is another tax that’s going to hurt us all. It’s a detriment to our economy.”
Protester Kevin Hallberg said more pipelines need to get built, and noted the impending carbon tax is just going to hurt this province.
“We can’t sell the oil if we can’t get rid of it and move it,” he said, noting the oil industry in the southeast is hurting right now because of this situation.
In his time at the protest, he said three motorists gave them a thumbs-down, but everyone else driving by were in support of them.
The United Nations and immigration were the top issues for Troy Myers, and Devon Ror added his support of that point.
“I’m protesting the UN, and confiscatory taxes, the carbon tax, and over-regulation of our oilfields and pipelines,” said Ror, noting he grew up in Weyburn and knew those who were organizing it. While he hasn’t yet been able to attend a Yellow Vest protest in Saskatoon, where he now lives with wife Carrie, he was happy to join with old friends for the Weyburn protest while visiting for the holidays.
The Weyburn protest was held at the same time as a similar gathering at the Legislature in Regina, along with other locations in Saskatchewan and across Canada.
The Yellow Vest movement began about seven weeks ago in Paris, France, as a grassroots protest against high taxes in that country, with the protests continuing to grow to other countries as well.