FILE — Yellow Vest protest came to Vernon Saturday. (Brieanna Charlebois/Morning Star)

Letter: Yellow Vests are no gilets jaunes

Much ado about not too much.

So, about 20 members of Yellow Vests Canada gathered on Vernon’s courthouse steps on Saturday (Dec. 15, Yellow Vest movement rallied in Vernon Saturday).

If this is a movement, it’s anything but a unified one. From what I can tell from online musings, members fall at different points along a spectrum of right-wing conservatives, anti-government libertarians, flag-waving patriots, rabid white nationalists, and off-the-wall paranoiacs. The thing is, many of them have no analytical ability, so they’re not even aware of their ideological leanings. As for their utterances – on Saturday we heard about a fight for ancestral rights, for freedom of speech, for a way of life and a quality of life, and for what’s right and wrong, somehow in relation to veterans and seniors – at best it’s code for white privilege and at worst it’s inarticulate blather.

Notably, members of Yellow Vests Canada appear to have no understanding of the differences between themselves and the gilets jaunes in France, who have told the world they rise against wealth inequality and the austerity policies of the Macron government. The only thing the Yellow Vests and gilets jaunes actually have in common is “yellow.”

It’s important for thoughtful newspapers and readers not to credit this so-called movement with more than it actually has going for itself. Sixty-thousand members may be at their Facebook page, but as one member explained to me, his buddy added him to the group without asking permission, and he’s hanging in just long enough to see what they’re up to. On Saturday afternoon in Vernon, there were probably 10 times more people in the city’s coffee shops enjoying the company of friends than there were at the courthouse getting steamed up over the perceived need to protest evil taxation and protect white privilege.

Dianne Varga

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