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Far-right fail in Burnaby, BC

A handful of far right supporters were outnumbered by counter-protesters
Ryan Schebek

February 4, 2019

On Saturday, the far-right group, National Citizens Alliance, flew their candidate in from Calgary to drum up support for their platform outside Burnaby city hall. Their messages of racism and hate were drown out by numerous counter protesters. Roughly fifteen counter protesters and allies, including members of the International Socialists Vancouver, chanted slogans of “No borders, no walls” and “Austerity no, immigration yes!” Those who came to hear Stephen Garvey, the sole NCA candidate, included four individuals who appropriated the French yellow vests. Counter protesters made it clear that NCA’s racism and fascism are not welcome in Canada. One women even removed her yellow vest and another, too embarrassed to put his on, watched from the sidelines.

In addition to their yellow vests, NCA supporters donned red baseball caps with white writing that displayed the NCA logo, just like Trump’s MAGA hats. One can imagine, with this in mind, that the hats serve as a dog whistle tactic to signal to other far-right groups to join their cause. They say they are not racists but they wear a hat that signals to a deeper ideology, tapping into the success of far right populism in the states.

The confrontation was peaceful and, luckily, did not escalate. What few hateful words the NCA managed to get across demonstrated their complete ignorance and toxic rhetoric. The NCA clearly had no knowledge of the history of treaty rights in Canada. They were unable to comprehend that the ground underneath them is unceded Coast Salish territory. As well, their toxic rhetoric included scapegoating immigrants and refugees of colour and only acknowledging support for “white” immigrants from Europe. Blaming much of the affordability crisis on immigrants of colour fell on deaf ears. The crowd made it clear that this is laughable while others pointed out that capitalism was the problem, not immigrants. After about forty minutes the demoralized racists gave up. As they left one organizer told the NCA to get ready for next time, we will be there. His message being that anytime racism finds a voice, we will be there to meet it and tell it again and again it is not welcome here.



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