Yellow vest movement comes to Manitoba
Hundreds of vehicles drove from Virden, Man. to Brandon to protest carbon taxes, support Trans Mountain
The yellow vest movement rolled into Manitoba Saturday, albeit relatively slowly.
An estimated 200 vehicles took part in a convoy that left Virden Man. around 11:30 a.m., heading east down the Trans-Canada Highway to Brandon, never going much faster than 50 km/h.
Organizer Damen MacGillivray, 27, said the demonstration was held to protest against carbon taxes and illegal immigration and to show support for the Trans Mountain Pipeline.
"I think what the yellow vest movement represents here is just the average Canadian tax-payer finally saying enough is enough," explained MacGillivray, who lives in Brandon.
"We need to start making our voices get heard."
The convoy had a police escort throughout its trip and the vehicles taking part kept to a single lane of the highway. They arrived in Brandon around 2 p.m., making a drive that MacGillivray says would normally take 45 minutes at the speed limit, in closer to two-and-a-half hours.
RCMP warned drivers to slow down near the convoy, and warned of delays.
Other than a rude hand gesture from one driver, most who passed the convoy seemed supportive, said MacGillivray.
"I would say 99 per cent of the people were honking with their thumbs up and waving."
A group of supporters, many wearing the high visibility safety vests associated with the movement, greeted the convoy when it made its way into Brandon.
European protests spreading
The yellow vest movement started in mid-November in France with protests at junctions and roundabouts against fuel tax increases, but quickly became a wider mobilization against French President Emmanuel Macron's economic policies.
Protestors in France donned the yellow vests, which are readily available in the country because of a law that requires motorists to keep high visibility vests handy in vehicles in case of an emergency.
Successive weekends of protests in France led to vandalism and violent clashes with security forces.
MacGillivray said his plan to bring the yellow vest movement to Manitoba got started with a single Facebook post he made a couple weeks ago after seeing the Alberta and Saskatchewan protests.
He says he wants to see the movement move further east.
"I don't know of any other convoy that's happening in Manitoba, but our hopes now are that maybe Winnipeg can schedule something," he said.
"Then we can start getting this coming into Ontario and Quebec."