Why Don’t These Professional Protestors Have Real Jobs?

ProtestersBrian Zinchuk
Editor of Pipeline News, Columnist at Battlefords News-Optimist


Brian Zinchuk suggests something’s wrong when professional protesters don’t seem to have any real jobs. Why do we have to deal these people? Why should they influence anything?

Burnaby is the focal point of opposition to the Trans Mountain Expansion Pipeline project, with the terminus of the pipeline in that Lower Mainland community.

Protestors recently got arrested for zip-tying themselves to fences and what not. The Burnaby RCMP stepped in, enforcing a recently-imposed permanent court injunction on protests within five metres of the pipeline terminal entrance. We carried their story on pipelinenews.ca. More than one person pointed out the irony that they used oil-based plastic zip ties to protest an oil pipeline.

Professional Protestors

Earlier protest at Burnaby

This happened on a Saturday. However, a story in Burnaby Now concluded by saying, “Protests are expected to continue over the next week.”

I imagine they will continue a lot longer than that. If the North Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) protests are any indication, they will last months, maybe years.

Thus, it was convenient for these 28 people to get arrested on a Saturday. Other people might go to the mall, take their kids to a school sporting tournament, or clean up their yard. These people chose to get arrested.

But what happens on Monday? Tuesday? And all the other days? Those who will protest, and do so to the point where they get arrested, how, exactly do they do that?

Most of us, you see, have jobs. And if you don’t have a job, you should probably be looking for one, especially given the cost of housing in the Lower Mainland. What do these people do in the morning when they drop off their kids at the sitter? How does that conversation go?

“Oh, hey, Susie, I might not be back today to pick up the kids, like at all. Yeah, I might be locked up overnight until my first appearance in court.

“Oh, today’s Friday, I might be held until court on Monday. Um, here’s a few more juice boxes to tide the kids over.”

There has been a lot of talk about American big business, even in the energy business, financially backing these protests. I find that a little hard to believe, as I don’t think most of these earthmuffins are on any sort of payroll, at least to protest. I think they come by their idiocy and hypocrisy quite honestly.

That doesn’t mean to say there is no such thing as professional protestors. Ezra Levant, while he still had Sun News behind him, used to make great sport in pointing out the professional protestors who conveniently appeared at the events he went to rabble rouse at.

I know of at least one academic in Saskatchewan, a tenured University of Regina professor, who seems to be at nearly every energy- or Indigenous-related protest in Regina. If it’s a social justice warrior cause, she’s likely there. I pointed out to her, at an oil conference, that her Facebook page showed how many numerous protests her baby had attended while she was on maternity leave.

And, there was a lot of talk about a lot of the opposition to the Keystone XL project having backing from the folks who profit from crude-by-rail. I don’t know if that was rumour or reality.

So if you are a normal Joe or Jane Public, how do you go to a protest on a Tuesday, a normal working day for most folks? After telling your sitter, what do you tell your boss?

“Hi, Mr. Boss. I need to take today off. No, my kid’s not sick. He’s at the sitters. No, I don’t have a dental or doctor appointment. I want to protest a pipeline. Yes, the pipeline that delivers the fuel that goes in the trucks of our fleet to deliver our product. Yes, I know our product is made of plastic, which is made from hydrocarbons. I just want them to stop all pipelines, including that new one. It’s going to end the world, you know.

“Yes, I am paying for a sitter so I can protest a pipeline.

“Have I gone crazy? Well, I guess you could possibly consider this a mental health day.

“Clean out my desk tomorrow? Whatever do you mean?”

Maybe there is some credence to the notion people are being paid to protest. How else would the above conversation take place?

“Ms. Underling, are you telling me you took holiday time to chain yourself to a bulldozer? That I am paying someone else overtime to fill in for your ‘family emergency?’”

It’s income tax season. Do you get a T4 for protesting? Or is it a deduction? I’m really not sure.

This article reposted, by permission of author, from Pipeline News and Battleford (Saskatchewan, Canada) News-Optimist. As I told Brian, we call them serial protesters here.

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8 thoughts on “Why Don’t These Professional Protestors Have Real Jobs?

    • I think you just insulted “lobbyists” in general. The folks on K Street in Washington D.C. would definitely disagree with you regardless of what group they “work” for.

  1. https://mobile.twitter.com/hashtag/StopKM?src=hashtag_click

    So the year is 2018 and multiple pipelines have been resisted all over the United States for quite some time. I am at a loss as to how people can’t find out the answer to this question. So obviously some people are professional organizers from various organizations and others aren’t. If one doesn’t know anything about the different pipeline resistance efforts, one place to begin research is the Twitter hashtag about stopping KM.

  2. I meant to say in the United States and Canada.

    Fracked gas pipelines, fracked oil pipelines and pipelines moving oil from Canadian oil sands, all are being resisted or organized against, have been for years and some players are the same for all.

  3. Protesters that don’t have real jobs? Look at the picture; most of the people in it are retired. We went though the same thing at the Finger Lake protests 2 years ago and someone was moaning about the geezers blocking the facility. It does not matter if they are old or young, what they use to attach themselves to the fence or if someone is paid to co-ordinate them? They are the opposition and they are in the field.

    If all Zinchuk can do is whine that it’s not fair because they seem to have too much times on their hands, then he is worse than useless. Where is his plan to counter them or is he preparing his “Lost Cause” explanation, like post Civil War Confederates? I’m not interested in his or anyone else’s political purity, I want northeastern natural gas to revitalize the northeast.

    Vic Furman’s article about sticker shock for winter utility bills was an excellent start. Talk it up, it will certainly happen again next winter. Getting involved in local government is important, and if anti’s are active in local government, you have to be also. Educate yourself on what it takes to put in a utility scale solar or wind installation (never call them “farms” or allow the anti’s to).

    • Mark, agreed…I find that much of the same people who attend these protests are against GMO based farming and promote “organic” foods yet are pro solar or pro wind which are yet FAR from organic as you get. If these protestors simply looked at the supply chain of what is required to mine, manufacture, transport, construct and maintain such “renewable”, facilities…they would be aghast (provided that they use any common sense) of how this all goes against their respectable “missions”.
      These behaviors are evolved (or should I say “devolved”) into a Theology where it is now a Religion and you cannot in this country fight against one unless you can prove they are not.

    • “Industrial wind turbines” is the phrase used by another site to remove the bucolic ambience from these things.

      Hammering home the immediate financial cost of shunning natgas is an excellent path with which to engage a wider audience.

  4. It is my suspicion that environmental NGO’s are one who have the nessary $ to support such protests, not unlike they did at the Keystone and DAPL. In addition, they have a great “moral crusade:”

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