The pipeline blockade is into its second week and the signs are the demonstrators are losing momentum. There are some good reasons for that. The organizers lost control of their own agenda.
While it was a pipeline blockade that was the central issue it had cautious support in many parts of society. Then blocking the rails became the weapon of choice and the would be environmental movement went silent. It is now perceived as a bunch of lawless people without a sense of direction being disruptive.
The perfect plan would have been to have the police use a heavy hand and have the situation escalate to rail and others areas. What has happened is the escalation started without provocation.
It is not a case of the steam blowing out of the movement it is a case of people losing sight of their objective and overplaying their hand. The government didn’t pit them off against each other they have isolated themselves. As a spectator with some knowledge of how these things work, I was convinced by Wednesday they did themselves a disservice.
I remember a couple of times when a small group within the organization I represented wanted to block a bridge to protest.
My approach was to negotiate a better deal in a less confrontational manner. It proved to be far more productive.
For what its worth, yes decades ago I did spend time on a picket line. In another situation I was a general manager as well. Problems don’t get solved overnight. When things heat up both sides let the situation play out with a strike or blockade. It is far better to have a blockade than a potential violent confrontation.
The problem here is the demonstration and blockade has lost its focus and relevance and it is time to end all blockades and it is also time for the government and companies to talk to the hereditary Chiefs something they did not properly do in the first place. It should also serve as a thought provoking question. What does in the public interest really mean? How much clout should government and corporations have to bend the will of the people who are affected at ground zero when these decisions are made? I believe it was Dave Barrett who once said. Opinions vary depending on who’s ox is being gored.