Nanaimo protestors dog Pierre Poilievre visit

Around 100 people gathered in Nanaimo, BC on April 1, to protest Conservative Party leader Pierre Poilievre’s “Axe the Tax” town hall at the Vancouver Island Conference Center. The action was in response to Poilievre’s party voting against a motion in Parliament for a ceasefire and arms embargo with Israel two weeks before on March 18.

Anti-Poilievre demonstrators occupied the stairwell to the Conference Centre’s main hall. Those who came to see Poilievre had to walk past a long line of protesters on each step and landing. Protesters filled the space with Palestinian flags, signs and loud chants of “Genocide Pierre, you can’t hide; we know you take CIJA bribes!” After 45 minutes, seven RCMP officers arrived, called by site  , to evict the demonstrators who exited the building as slowly as possible. The demonstration continued outside the entrance for the duration of Poilievre’s event.

The action that day was organized by the Students for Palestine Committee and the Muslim Women’s Club of Vancouver Island University, which has led boycotts, marches and banner drops in Nanaimo since October 7.

Several altercations took place between pro-Palestine demonstrators and Poilievre supporters entering and exiting the event. This included Poilievre supporters yelling in protesters’ faces, knocking signs out of their hands, and attempting to   demonstrators with bodily contact.

Videos posted to Facebook and Instagram show a doorman shoving two Palestinian students and members of the Muslim Women’s Club. There is also footage of a Poilievre supporter pushing a demonstrator down the stairs.

RCMP officers stood by and intervened minimally. About eleven police vehicles were parked by the Conference Centre that day.

Though most of the protesters showed up in solidarity with Palestine, some opposed Poilievre for other reasons, such as the Tory leader’s disregard for the environment and attack on transgender rights. A few held signs in support of the carbon tax. This federal tax on fossil fuel emissions, which rose from $65 to $80 per ton on the day of Poilievre’s Nanaimo rally, was his scapegoat for economic woes.

As expected from Canada’s chief advocate for corporate greed, Poilievre blames the tax for the rising cost of living, while ignoring corporate price gouging. Appropriately, Poilievre’s April Fool’s Day rally aimed to fool working-class people into voting Conservative to increase their suffering under capitalism.

The real solution to climate crisis is the one proposed by the Communist Party of Canada, involving a just transition away from fossil fuels while creating jobs in clean and renewable energy sectors. To confront the rising cost of living, the Communist Party launches a new campaign this spring to defund the military and stop corporate price gouging.

But Canada’s corporate media cannot be expected to air the Communist Party’s position or analysis – only the non-solutions peddled by capitalist parties, and their vigorous debate on the false dilemma of keeping or axing the carbon tax, will be heard.

Likewise, local media coverage of Poilievre’s visit in Nanaimo News Now, Nanaimo News Bulletin and CHLY 101.7FM, the pro-Palestine disruption was an afterthought of one or two sentences.

The most extensive coverage of the Conference Centre action appeared in Ezra Levant’s far-right outlet Rebel News. A video uploaded to their YouTube channel on April 4, titled “Anti-Israel protesters fail to stop packed Poilievre rally,” shows extensive footage of the protest outside and inside the Conference Centre. While reporter Drea Humphrey attempts to discredit the Palestine protesters by calling them “pro-carbon tax” and “pro-Hamas,” Rebel News managed to give activists more of a platform than the mainstream news did.

“I just believe that this war is terribly, terribly brutal, inhumane, and it seems that Poilievre is a supporter of Israel and he is not going to fight for Palestine,” a demonstrator tells Rebel News. “I don’t think we as supposedly just Canadian people should stand by and watch, and certainly not vote this man [Poilievre] into government.”

On the same day, Israel bombed Iran’s embassy in Syria, in its effort to provoke a retaliation and instigate a wider war amidst its genocidal invasion of Gaza.

Poilievre has stood firm in support of the belligerent State of Israel.

Nanaimo Club CPC

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