“Oil in the pipe and grain on the train,” declared a yellow-vest protester on Parliament Hill Tuesday who identified himself as Joram from Weyburn Saskatchewan. “I migrated to Canada 23 years ago.”
“I love the oil patch. I love the farmers. I love Canadians and that’s why I became a Canadian citizenship (sic),” said a smiling Joram to more cheers. “I am a yellow-vest and we stand for unity … yes Canada, we roll!”
Amidst a chorus of approval from those in attendance at the United We Roll demonstration, Joram talked about how difficult Canada’s immigration system was for him to navigate, the money he spent to “migrate lawfully” and the duration it took to become a Canadian citizen.
“Immigration to Canada used to be a very strict, very straightforward. The reason why I am here is because I went through the immigration process successfully,” he said. “Out of five of us, only two of us were accepted … And all of that (effort) happened at my own expense.”
Referring to illegal immigration occurring at the Québec border and elsewhere at unofficial Canadian/U.S. crossings – approximately 50,000 people to date – Joram expressed his frustration.
“What ticks me off is after two years of processing my immigration papers to try and be a Canadian citizen, to trying to get citizenship, I could not get it. It took me four years!” he told the crowd
“And now what ticks me the most is somebody can walk through the border. And guess what?” asked Joram, pointing to the Prime Minister’s Office at Langevin Hall on Wellington Street. “That guy over there wants them to vote for him.”
As ‘boos’ and ‘Trudeau must go’ chants erupted, here was a window into the misunderstood, mischaracterized yellow-vest protest that has been both represented by Canada’s diverse mosaic, ernest folks like Joram, and tarnished by bigots and brutes who have used the movement as a platform to level online threats and racist taunts.
While the core of yellow-vesters share the United We Roll pro-resources, anti-carbon tax message, they depart where the yellow-vesters add illegal immigration and Canada’s support for United Nation’s Global Compact for Migration to their list of gripes.
“No. Say no!” implored Joram.
In terms of non-citizens voting illegally in the coming federal election, critics like Senator Linda Frum have said the government has opened the door for voter fraud with Bill C-76. The Bill is an Act to Amend the Canada Elections Act; that says voter registration cards, in conjunction with another piece of ID is sufficient proof of citizenship – drivers licences and health cards can still be obtained by non-citizens for example.
Reports last year of non-citizens receiving voter registration cards in the mail have heightened these concerns. Notwithstanding Joram’s own lack of details on why he felt Canada’s electoral process was in jeopardy, he concluded his speech on a rather odd note, throwing down the proverbial gauntlet at Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
“I heard he’s a boxer. I did not see him box, but I heard,” said Joram, referring to the 2012 charity boxing match between Trudeau, then a backbench Liberal MP and Conservative Senator Patrick Brazeau; a brief, 3-round engagement that the Trudeau won in convincing fashion.
“I challenge Trudeau to a boxing match in the oil patch or a wheat field. It doesn’t matter,” said Joram, eliciting applause. “If he does not accept, then he is a wuss.”