Ever wonder why the left keep winning political battles and conservatives keep losing?
It’s because the left know how to do brass knuckles grassroots activism that gets the attention of decision-makers, and conservatives don’t.
Consider: the Standing Rock protests over the Dakota pipeline is garnering international attention. It sounds like there are only a few hundred people involved but with pepper spray and rubber bullets flying, it is headline material.
We’ve been warned by First Nations leaders to expect Standing Rock style protests if, as expected, the Liberal government announces approval for the Kinder Morgan Transmountain pipeline later this month. Vancouver Sun columnist Vaughn Palmer told me Greenpeace is already on the ground training activists for the fight (no doubt with money granted to them from US based foundations like Tides).
The National Energy Board hearings in Montreal were shut down, and have not yet restarted, after an estimated 100 or so activists raised a ruckus outside. Three protestors stormed the meetings and security shut the whole thing down out of safety concerns.
Contrast that with the genuinely peaceful protests that took place in Alberta last week. Several hundred unemployed oil workers and their friends and family gathered on the steps of the legislature last week to show support for pipelines. Didn’t hear about it? Well no one misbehaved so it wasn’t on CNN.
Todd Beasley, an organizer for the Rally for Alberta, said an estimated 7,000 to 9,000 people attended 12 separate rallies across the province on Saturday to hear speeches and sign a petition asking the provincial government to hold a referendum on the carbon tax. Somehow that didn’t make international news either.
That’s not to say that conservatives need to get violent or get out the riot squad out in order to be heard. One of the things I appreciate about conservatives is that they are genuinely law abiding and orderly. But conservatives need to ratchet up their efforts if they are going to turn the tide in favour of pipelines.
Paul Hinman, co-chair of Canadians for Energy East, says it is time for those who support pipelines to step it up beyond rallies and petition campaigns. He says it’s time to get the politicians’ attention with campaigns targeted at key decision makers on pipelines and energy policy. At their website, freedomtalk.ca, they have a signup sheet where you can receive weekly emails on concrete actions you can take to ensure your voice is heard.
Margaret Mead said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Clearly, the left have a huge head start on this. It’s time for the other side to catch up.