We are entering the third week of protests in Ottawa and at border crossings around the country. People have used their right to protest to express they are unhappy. I do support the right to hold peaceful protests. It is something that we in Canada have a right to do. It is something that people in other parts of the world do not have a right to do.
People are angry right now for a number of reasons. Things are changing in our world. Some old social norms have gone away of the dodo. Many of these changes I applaud (sexual abuse is no longer tolerated, people are more aware that our society is made up of people from many different cultures, people are at least more aware that horrible mistakes like the residential schools. And I know these changes are hard from some people so they get angry. COVID and isolation rules have made some people angry. The fact that we have had two minority governments in a row without much change has made others mad. Social media has given a way for those who angry to reconnect like never before. And of course the horrible failed coup attempt in the United States last year just shows how angry some folks are.
The thing is, I think those involved in the various blockades have got stuck in their anger. Listening to them being interviewed on the news, I have heard them express anger at many different things and not just one thing: Vaccine mandates, COVID restrictions, multiculturalism, Trudeau, Kenney, anti gun control, anti urban, gas prices, carbon taxes, and many more. The demands of one person in the convoy might be met, but it will be impossible to solve all of these concerns. Will the blockade be up forever until all these demands are met?
The blockades are having an effect, but not the effect of these changes that were desired. I heard from a colleague yesterday from Milk River. She talked of the difficulties living in her town right now. One is leary to say anything she said for fear of reprisals. If you are seen talking to people in the convoy, you will allienate some of your neighbours. If you are seen talking to RCMP officers you will get in trouble with other neighbours. She talked of days when she was literally trapped in her town. It was impossible to get to appointments in Lethbridge and Calgary. Citizens in Ottawa are suffering stress from three weeks of no sleep. Hundreds of millions of dollars of trade is now being blockaded at the border. Soon all of us will suffer from increased prices and empty store shelves. I fear that the anger in society will only increase as toilet paper and fresh vegetables disappear from our shelves.
I am choosing not to add to the din of the anger right now. I am going to be less judgemental. I am going to be more patient. I am going to count to 10 or maybe 20 or maybe even 100. I am going to pause before speaking. Maybe my little mini anti protest won't change things. But at least I will be less stressed.
And I invite you to join me in this non anger thing. Be kind. Be patient. Count to 10. Know that sometimes you will get your own way and other times you will not. Maybe if I improve my small corner of the world and you improve your small corner of the world, maybe we will find our way out of these troubled times. Blessings.