Green Party of Canada leader Elizabeth May is a strange duck. On the one hand she’s one of Canada’s most outspoken figures against activist violence- consistently insisting that it’s “unproductive” and has a negative impact on the environmental movement. But equally, she so often comes out spouting nonsense in regards to the people committing the violence that one’s left to wonder if she’s intentionally trying to muddy up the waters.
May is an enigma, wrapped-up in ancient forest friendly paper, and artfully tied with hemp twine by the spoiled kids of Saltspring Island millionaire hippies. And now, right when one couldn’t imagine things getting more confusing, May has thrown us another curveball- this time implying that the people enacting activist violence are under the employment of oil companies and the RCMP! But that wasn’t the only shocker- May also appears to have admitted that, due to their support of violence, the Council of Canadians is an illegitimate organization.
But, she still agrees to work with them…
The excitement happened last night when Victoria activist with We Are Change Victoria & former political candidate Josh Steffler landed himself a ten minute long interview with May. One of May’s most admirable qualities is that she’ll actually stop to take time and actually talk to independent media- Trudeau, Harper and Mulcair usually push them away. Your Humble Narrator approached May about her position on violence in October and she was very willing to get into the details.
Steffler’s first question for May asked what her message would be to protesters who are planning to fight pipelines with violence or sabotage. Her answer was a real eye-opener!
“Well first of all, I hope no one is actually doing that. You never know if things on the Internet if they’ve been place there by people who’ve been employed by the fossil fuel industry to de-legitimize what is right now a wide-spread movement”
Okay, wow, that’s quite the statement! If May were your average dumb ‘smash the state’ anarchist it wouldn’t be so surprising to hear her saying this- there are lots of unproven rumours being pushed by professional agitators. But May is a sitting Member of Parliament and the head of a national political party- and she provided no evidence for her claim. What’s up with that?
Next May explains what action one should take if they hear someone promoting violence:
“If you’re in a movement, or an organization, and you hear anyone talk about doing anything violent- I think it’s important to take a photo of the person talking about violence, because that person is probably a saboteur”
This, of course, makes a lot of sense- all one has to do is look back to the 2010 Olympics for a good example. People from all walks of life banded to choke-up traffic to the games, but most of the moderates went home pretty quickly after the violence started. If the government wanted to kill the anti-Olympic movement they couldn’t have chosen a better strategy than to send in Vancouver anarchist Harsha Walia’s beloved Black Bloc. (Walia is married to Harjap Grewal, an employee of the CoC’s).
One of the people May has worked closely with during her career is Maude Barlow of the Council of Canadians. Of all the country’s militant NGO’s, the CoC’s are the one most closely related to political violence. The 2001 Quebec City Summit of the Americas became Canada’s first major incident of Black Bloc violence when kiddies getting into street fights with the police. Barlow made a stunning announcement after the ruckus was done:
“The breaking of windows, while regrettable, is sometimes necessary to exercise the right of free speech”
Moving forward to Vancouver in 2010, it was a member of the CoCs who brought the Black Bloc into the anti-Olympic convergence. Bob Ages of the group’s Richmond, BC chapter was the ringleader for that event- he was also the guy who managed the money (and didn’t account for it) at Occupy Vancouver. When asked for comment on this in 2011, CoC Executive Director Garry Neil openly admitted that Ages brought in the Bloc. The CoC’s have been present at every major incident of radical left violence in Canada over the past thirteen years.
Elizabeth May wrote a book with Maude Barlow in 2000, it’s listed as one of her accomplishments in her bio on the Green’s website. May has partnered the Greens with the CoC’s in events where both she any Barlow were featured speakers. When Maude Barlow announced her extremist views on saying no to “all pipelines” in October 2012 the Greens tweeted out her demands (newly elected BC Green MLA Andrew Weaver re-tweeted).
In her closing statements in her discussion with Steffler, May quoted some wisdom she picked-up from Toronto civil rights lawyer Clayton Ruby while organizing the protests at the Summit of the Americas:
“if some one talks about violence in your group, say I think you’re an undercover provocateur with the RCMP, we don’t want you in the room- go!”
Ruby’s advice to push away people who suggest violence is solid- as the protest community learned during the Olympics, juvenile idiots wearing ninja costumes can kill a movement in a few minutes flat. That said, it’s highly unproductive to suggest they’re police if one doesn’t have evidence that they are. G20 ringleader Alex Hundert was counselling people to commit violence- he spent some months in solitary confinement after, it’s highly doubtful he was an undercover cop! (Could be I guess, he never seems to get arrested while committing crimes these days.)
Unfortunately, when it comes to preventing political violence, it seems that Elizabeth May talks-the-talk, but has avoided walking-the-walk. This was confirmed this evening when May was asked to explain how she can work with someone who promotes violence:
May further explained her view on organizations who allow people to promote violence:
Exactly! Despite all of the confusion during our prolonged four month conversation about political violence, it appears that Your Humble Narrator and Elizabeth May are on the same page- any political and/or activist organization that allows its participants to call for violence is illegitimate. Organizations, people and politicians who promote violence aren’t practising activism- they’re acting like criminals.
It will be interesting to find out how May explains the glaring conflict between her position on political violence and her willingness to engage with the people and organizations who support it. She walked out of the conversation right after she admitted the CoC’s are illegitimate, so we may not know the answer for a while.
Regardless, at this point in history, it’s not oil company and RCMP bogeymen that Canadian activists need to be worried about- the real threat comes from inside the activist community. It’s people like Barlow, Walia, and Hundert who promote the violence. Equally, it’s the enablers like Elizabeth May who network, lunch, and co-author books with them. Anyone who behaves this way should be rejected from any legit parliament…
Here’s Stefler’s video: