08:53 GMT22 September 2020
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    Canadian truck drivers held a rally in Ottawa on Tuesday and Wednesday as part of the "United We Roll" convoy. Most participants were wearing yellow vests - a sign of affiliation with the country's own newly-formed grass-roots protest movement.

    Sputnik sat down with Cody Payant — a Yellow Vests activist from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, who's been following the convoy and organized similar protests of smaller scale in his home region. Payant is also a political figure, aiming for People's Party of Canada candidacy in the upcoming 43rd federal election.

    Sputnik: You've been following the "United We Roll for Canada" convoy going from Red Deer, Alberta, to Ottawa. What are their demands? Is it only about the "pipeline", or are there other topics at play?

    Cody Payant: The "pipeline" is definitely the main one. Justin Trudeau is our prime minister and his father, Pierre Trudeau, used to be our prime minister, and he started what is called "the National Energy Programme", which kind of tried to nationalize pipelines, to implement state ownership on energy infrastructure projects. And now, with Justin Trudeau, with the purchase of the pipeline for 4.5 billion dollars of taxpayer money — there is a big problem, because they spent all that taxpayer money on that pipeline, but they can't build it. So, they more or less extorted Canadian taxpayers to pay for this "imaginary pipeline", that they can't build. And Canadians are really upset; that has become a big issue for Yellow Vests.

    Canadians want pipelines because we have some of the cleanest oil and energy practices and industry anywhere in the world. And right now, compared to the United States, the United States is the only country where we can export our oil to, we are locked to them as one customer right now. Our oil is discounted big time right now, so we want a pipeline to Tidewater, so we can access world markets, whether it be Southeast Asia, or Asia.

    So, that was a huge issue, but also, some other issues with Yellow Vests are the United Nations — that's huge. The United Nations and the General Assembly — all of the people that sit in the General Assembly and on the councils — they are all unelected, and sometimes they are unelected in their own countries — the member states that comprise the UN. So, it's been a gradual "creep" — it kind of started after the World War [II]. So, the UN-2030 Agenda lays on all of these items that they are suggesting that the member states comply with. So, what the Yellow Vests sees is that Canada is a sovereign country, with sovereign borders; we need to protect our sovereignty as a sovereign nation, respect our ability to legislate ourselves, respect our representative democracy and our constitution. The Yellow Vests, basically, are patriotic, they want to preserve our sovereignty, they want to protect our sovereignty from supranational legislation of the UN trying to supersede Canadian law.

    Sputnik: Both Canadian MPs speaking at the rally in Ottawa's Parliament Hill, and Canadian mainstream media seemed to have been avoiding the topics of the UN migrant compact, border policy and similar "patriotic subjects". Why is that?

    Cody Payant: Part of the reason could be that pipelines are such a big issue right now, and there is a kind of "competition", I guess, between two "pro-pipeline" parties — the People's Party of Canada — and I'm a candidate with that party, and the Conservative Party of Canada, which also supports pipelines… I think both parties are trying to spread the message, so that could be a partisan thing.  

    But, also, immigration is a more contentious issue. The pipeline is a contentious issue, but immigration, all over the world, in a lot of places has become a very contentious issue. So, that's why it could be risky from a political perspective to talk about it. The migration pact is something that a lot of countries signed on to, and a lot of countries didn't. And there is a whole list of countries that refused to do so — the Czech Republic, Hungary, Japan, and the list goes on. Essentially, the issue that the Yellow Vests have with the Migration Pact is that — it's not pro- or against immigration, it's more of wanting Canada to be able to have the autonomy to legislate its own laws on immigration. We want Canada to make laws, not the UN.

    Sputnik: You're planning to run for public office, and once you announced that you're joining the Yellow Vests movement and then media started speculating about the link between your membership in the People's Party and your Yellow Vests activism being seen as something rather controversial. Do you feel that there is a bias in the media or some kind of pressure?

    Cody Payant: It is hard. I got involved in the Yellow Vests because it made its way to Canada from France after I had announced in September that I want to run for the nomination. So, it's kind of aligned. The Yellow Vests issues that they are advocating for are that they want, in terms of being patriotic Canadians who want to protect our sovereignty as a country, [to] protect our ability to legislate ourselves and remove the government from overregulating our industries and pipelines. As you said, the biased media is state-owned here in Canada. CBC gets 1.6 billion dollars per year in tax money, so it's basically a partisan tool for the liberal government right now. And it goes like that not only for Liberals — also for Conservatives — any party that's at power. It's state broadcasting.

    Cody Payant: So, they tried to paint me, and others too, in the party, as somehow being "risky". But for me personally, I have faith in Canadians. I know that there have been extremist groups trying to get involved in the Yellow Vests, trying to hijack it, to make it into something that it's not, whether it's "Soldiers of Odin", or "Antifa", or other groups like that. But, as a whole, I have faith in Canadians. Canadians will keep it on the tracks and overcome the hate, overcome the division and really keep it on the tracks. I think that rally in Ottawa was really evidence of that.

    yellow vests, pipeline, Justin Trudeau, Canada
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