People have gathered in Kent County this week to protest an energy company that’s recently begun exploring for sources of natural gas in local shale formations. SWN Resources has brought in ‘thumper’ trucks to do the job- seismic surveying tools that send (harmless) shock waves into the earth that are used to map underground rock formations. This data is then taken and interpreted by geologists who advise on the presence of gas deposits.
The fight against this exploration has brought together protesters from the Council of Canadians, Sierra Club, indigenous groups and local residents. Unfortunately this (valid) protest has quickly turned into a three ring circus- rather than using it as an opportunity to spread awareness of the dangers of fracking, they’ve instead engaged in a cop baiting extravaganza. After some arrests, the Sierra Club and the Council of Canadians have responded by issuing a seriously misleading press release…
The Sierra Club and the CoC’s are both militant organizations with long histories of turning protests into clashes with the police. The CoC’s are the most dangerous, often supporting violent activists. During the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, the CoC’s leadership (knowingly) enabled the Black Bloc to join the protests on the day they smashed windows and cause mayhem on the city’s streets. After the G20, the CoC’s Roy Brady was leading ‘solidarity’ actions in support of convicted criminals who also smashed up the city.
A common tactic used by militant activists is to recruit indigenous protesters to join and to use their ‘religious practices’ to impede the police’s ability to keep the crowd under control. The Clark County protest has made this tactic a central part of their strategy.
The protest began with the lighting of a ‘sacred’ fire- a tactic we’ve seen used during the Occupy movement, and one that’s a favourite of the CoC’s. The problem is, as a number of native fire keepers have explained to me, a sacred fire is not to be lit as a part of a provocation- otherwise, it’s no longer sacred.
A protester named Susanne Patles took things one step further, trying to use her ‘prayer’ as an excuse to be allowed to block the highway. She took some tobacco, spread it in a circle around herself, then kneeled on the road and began to pray. It took only a couple of minutes for the police to arrest and charge her with mischief. This, of course, gave the protesters the opportunity to broadcast out to the world how draconian the police were for interrupting a ‘sacred’ ceremony.
Make no mistake about it, the intention of the protesters attending these events is to push the police to the point where they need to make arrests. Without people getting arrested their protests would get very little public attention- basically, it’s all theatre. And the more they can make the optics of the arrests look like police oppression, the better coverage they can get.
On Friday, after the first 17 arrests occurred, the CoC’s and the Sierra Club out out a joint press release titled Nova Scotians condemn RCMP repression of anti-fracking protesters. The statement complained about the “heavy-handed actions of the RCMP” and “there have been reports of aggressive RCMP behaviour”. And provocative statements like “And how is this democracy?”.
To put this all into perspective, please take a moment and watch a video of the behaviour of the police and the protesters:
The first thing you’ll notice is that it’s, yet another, example of using ‘sacred’ practices to bait the police. This time the antagonist is using ‘smudging’ as a weapon, blowing smoke onto the police officers while trying to get a reaction out of them. The other thing you’ll notice is that the RCMP are anything but ‘heavy-handed’. In fact, if anything, the police are being way too gentle. This is the same issue we saw at Caledonia- political correctness gone wild.
There was one last piece of absolute hogwash in their press release:
“the RCMP had made several arrests this morning in order to facilitate the exploratory drilling of the area”
As I mentioned at the top of this article, SWN Resources has brought in ‘thumper’ trucks. These vehicles use sonar, a totally non-invasive tool that doesn’t involve the use of drilling. Yet another example of the Sierra Club and CoC’s twisting the truth.
Fracking is an important issue, it’s essential to get the word out to people of the potential for environmental damage. But when environmentalists start twisting the truth to try and better ‘sell’ their side of the argument, all they end up doing is hurting the cause they’re trying to help. Ultimately we all pay for this dishonesty- hindering our ability to have an honest debate.
Unfortunately, for militant organizations like the Sierra Club and the CoC’s, a big part of their activism is built around the ‘excitement’ of clashing with the police. It seems they’ve been stuck in this pattern for so long that they simply can’t help but fall into it each time they hit the streets. That, partnered with their appropriation (and perversion) of indigenous religious practices is only turning the general public off from getting involved (and damaging their view of native issues at the same time). Classy.
If they can’t stop this behaviour, they have no right representing environmental issues. It’s time for them to grow-up, or to move-on…