A small group of Yellow Vest Canada members gathered at the Ponoka Tim Hortons on Saturday, July 20 to try to engage the public.
The event was one of the groups “road trips” where they visit small towns and try to get their message out. They planned to go to Lacombe later in the day.
The members also hold “cruising coffees” in different communities.
Included in the group were local members Joe and Tatianna Landsman, as well some prominent members of the movement.
Norm Thiesen, a leader in the movement who was also part of the convoy to Ottawa, was present, as well as Bobby Kyle, one of the founding members of Yellow Vest Canada. Kyle became involved in the movement in November, 2018.
Angie Reid, who was the east coast coordinator of the convoy that went to Ottawa in February, 2019, was also there.
Yellow Vest Canada is based on a movement that started in France. The movement is against over-taxation, pro-energy and pipelines, anti-illegal or irregular immigration and maintains it is a peaceful movement and advocates for freedom of speech and non-violence.
Reid moved back to Bonnyville, Alta., from New Newfoundland a year ago because of lack of work.
She says the Liberals are hurting the economy across the country, with bills like C-69, adding the livelihood of Newfoundlanders has changed drastically.
A lot of people there were oilfield workers and were flown back and forth from Newfoundland to Alberta, but since the downturn in Alberta, work became more restricted to locals first and companies stopped flying in camp workers.
Newfoundland’s other major industry was fishing, but that has also become more limited in order to not over fish off the coast, she says.
Although that makes sense, she says, a lot of Newfoundlanders are moving to Alberta to find work.
“There has been a change.”
Reid was in the convoy that went to Parliament Hill, and says the group received a cold reception, being penned in an area full of snow, when the sidewalk had been cleared.
According to Reid, other MP’s came out to see the group, but no Liberals came out to address the convoy members.
“The amount of disrespect we received from parliament … it was crazy,” said Reid.
“It would have been nice for him (Trudeau) to address us a little bit,” she said, adding he also could have sent somebody else out in his stead.
The signs and flags displayed belong to Chris Harrod, a Yellow Vest member from Calgary.
Yellow Vest Canada does not officially endorse or support any federal political candidate and allows its members to hold their own views.
The groups biggest beef with Prime Minister Trudeau? Thiesen says, “He sold us out to the UN” and is “single-handedly selling our sovereignty.”
Kyle says he supports the Veterans Coalition Party of Canada (VCPC), whereas the Landsmans are for Maxine Bernier and the People’s Party of Canada (PPC).
Kyle says the issues in Canada don’t lie with any one group of people, that “it’s not a racial problem, it’s corruption at every stage of our lives.”
Thiesen says it doesn’t matter to him what views a person holds or what party they support, as long as they’re informed and using their integrity to vote.
“We’re truly trying to unite Canada,” he said.
“Vote with your brain and your ethics and your morals. Do your homework.”
The group received some honks from passing vehicles and one gentleman, Ponoka resident Dwaine Olson stopped and donated some money for the members to buy some coffee and donuts.