It’s October 2022, the House of Commons has just returned for its fall sitting and across the country, trucks are once again descending on the capital. The vaccine and mask mandates have been lifted since the summer, but the convoy is bigger, louder and prepared to stay even longer to push for its new demand — scrapping the government’s cap on oil and gas emissions.

Speculative fiction? Maybe, but given the history of the convoy movement and our federal government's approach to climate policy, it’s not that far-fetched to imagine the next one being against climate action.

This is a movement that has direct ties to the United We Roll convoy that descended on Ottawa in 2019 to oppose the imposition of a national price on carbon. And many of its leaders and prominent supporters have significant connections to the fossil fuel industry and the universe of fossil fuel astroturf groups that have emerged over the past decade. Remember, Tamara Lich, one of the Freedom Convoy’s named leaders, showed up to her bail hearing in an “I Heart Oil and Gas” sweatshirt.

Movements like the so-called "Freedom Convoy" and the United We Roll rally have a pretty standard playbook. Backed and funded by wealthy business, real estate and right-wing political interests, they find a working-class identity they can put forward as the face of their grievance. In the Freedom Convoy, it was truckers, but in the past, we’ve seen attempts to use farmers and oil workers. Remember, for example, the Bernard the Roughneck campaign that culminated in a man in oil-stained coveralls delivering a pro-oil petition to Parliament while flanked by Conservative politicians.

Once they have their front and frame established, they rally the considerable resources and reach of the right-wing political, media and activist ecosystem behind it. They frame things as a conflict between the “out of touch elites” and the identity they’ve chosen as the forward face of their movement, and they stoke outrage to try to build support towards an eventual standoff.

Now, imagine that Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government moves ahead with its plans to announce a legislated cap on oil and gas emissions. The right will inevitably frame this as an attack on hard-working fossil fuel workers. Once they have stirred enough outrage, it’s not hard to imagine the call going out for another convoy to descend on Parliament.

Of course, there will be some workers and small- and medium-sized oil and gas companies that genuinely believe in the cause, as we saw with the small number of actual truckers in the Freedom Convoy. But, like in this most recent example, the politicians and political organizers behind the scenes use these moments to push a broader far-right political agenda designed to protect profits and enrich already wealthy elites.

It doesn’t have to play out this way. The success of right-wing movements like the so-called “Freedom Convoy” depends on their ability to frame the conflict on their terms. In the case of climate action, that means politicians are hurting working people by putting in place regulations and policies that kill jobs and destroy communities. And there is a grain of truth in that. Getting off fossil fuels won’t happen without consequence. There are thousands of people working in industries today that — if we do what’s necessary to tackle the climate emergency and leave fossil fuels in the ground — won’t be able to work those same jobs in the future.

But, we don’t have to leave those people and communities hanging. We can pass an ambitious, sweeping Just Transition Act that ensures that as we tackle the climate crisis, no one is left behind.

Opinion: Given the opposition to climate action, it’s not hard to imagine people planning another convoy to oppose any kind of oil and gas regulations, writes @CamFenton. #JustTransition #JustTransitionAct #cdnpoli #StopFundingFossils

Think of the Just Transition Act as a vaccine against the rise of the far-right. If the federal government passes a bill that guarantees good, well-paying jobs, it makes it a lot harder to land the argument that climate regulations are just policies to kill jobs. And if the Just Transition Act directly supports people and communities, instead of handing money and tax breaks to corporations under the false promise that it will eventually help workers, it inoculates against the accusation that it is just a scheme to enrich the government’s friends.

The occupation that held downtown Ottawa hostage for nearly a month may be over, but the movement that gave rise to it is far from gone. And given that movement’s history of opposing climate action, it’s not hard to imagine people planning another convoy to oppose any kind of oil and gas regulations.

They’ll try to wrap that opposition in a facade of blue-collar rage and if Canada doesn’t have a Just Transition Act, they might succeed. But, if this government keeps the promise it made in 2019 and passes a big, bold, sweeping Just Transition Act, we can fill in the most important missing pieces of Canada’s climate legislation, help workers and communities, and inoculate our politics against the next “Freedom Convoy.”

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Well said.

yes indeed. equity will tamp down alienation and rage

This reminds me of what happened in the States as the Republicans became more and more irrational and obstructionist, essentially paralyzing government and then Trump got into power and the Democrats kept leaning toward conciliatory moves, trying to UNDERSTAND the motivations on the right, which went on for years as the situation deteriorated, stoked by Trump and co. Then the Jan. 6th insurrection happened and the left finally got it--that this was not just the usual routine grievances, valid though they are, of poverty or inequality because many of the agitators were actually gainfully employed it turned out. In retrospect, it was hatred of Barack Obama based on the visceral outrage against the very idea of a black president. Several things converged to capitalize on the antipathy of endemic black racism. Right wing types resist such fundamental changes in society as those that started in the sixties with feminism.
Here it's a hatred of Trudeau that has fomented in the west for decades now based on the geographical reality of our population being concentrated where it is and elections being decided before the west was even done voting. Then there was Pierre Trudeau's promotion of our founding history and the French fact, trying to cement Canada's identity in the world by patriating our constitution; he sought a strong federal govt. to do this and it was his govt. who brought in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms that these ignorant convoy morons have based anarchy on due to misunderstanding it so completely. As this convoy unfolded I saw F*Trudeau featured most prominently. So I don't think a "just transition" will be enough to placate this particular element. If you could somehow get through to these deeply misled people that they're being used to dismantle left wing goverments supposedly working toward some "one world govt." and "the great reset" we might get somewhere. But it's like religion now; they WANT to believe the lies....

The just transition is just so hard (whine)
The just transition won't replace my high paying oil job. (since when did the Oil industry pay a decent wage or provide decent working conditions? Their profits depend on stiffing the workers and cheating consumers and extorting subsidies from governments - that our taxes fund)
The greedy predatory capitalists will make sure we won't get any benefit from a just transitions (TRUE - if we let them)

The only jobs the dinosaurs care about are fossil-fuel jobs.
We need jobs that don't cost us our future.
Climate change impacts already cause huge economic damage and imperil jobs and production in many industries. As well as entire communities, species, and ecosystems.
Fossil-fuel driven global warming destroys jobs — from forestry to fisheries, from farms to wineries, from skiing to tourism. Think drought, wildfire, mountain pine beetles, coral reefs. Oil spills threaten jobs in fisheries.
No jobs on a dead planet.

Even as oilsands production rises, jobs go down due to automation. Tens of thousands of Albertans lost their jobs in recent last oil price crashes. Doubling down on fossil fuels only sets AB up for even bigger crashes in future. More job losses, more dislocation.
Time to get off the fossil fuel rollercoaster.
"Canadian jobs in renewable energy had already surpassed jobs in the oil sands back in 2014. That's before the downturn in the oil sector, and before the continued growth in development and jobs in clean energy."
"Why do we listen to oil execs when they talk about jobs?" (Observer)
"Making a less energy intensive Alberta can create many jobs. Out of 56 economic sectors, oil and natural gas extraction are dead last in job creation — a measly 3.5 jobs for every $1 million invested." (Rabble)
Nearly 300,000 Canadians were directly employed in clean energy in 2017 — nearly 100,000 more than in mining, quarrying, and oil-and-gas extraction.
"Clean energy one of Canada's fastest-growing industries" (CP 2019)
"Job killer or job creator? Experts predict a climate employment boom" (CBC)
"Solar Employs More People In U.S. Electricity Generation Than Oil, Coal And Gas Combined" (Forbes)
Clean energy employment in the U.S. exceeds fossil fuel jobs nearly three-fold.
If renewables can create jobs in Republican states, they can create jobs anywhere — even in wingnut Alberta.

"Just look south to Texas, which now leads the United States in wind energy capacity and is well on its way to being the second-biggest source of solar PV capacity after California...
"But in Alberta, it's apparently still heresy in the govt's eyes to seriously consider this future and where the province can fit into it. Never mind that the boom in wind and solar energy in Texas is creating thousands of new jobs, and that those technologies could easily do the same in Alberta if given half a chance."
"Ask about Alberta's future and suffer fear and loathing from Jason Kenney" (Globe and Mail, 27-Apr-20)

Great thoughts, ideas, but . . . . . Many of us have realized by now we are just pawns in a sport or game of money making for the 1%. 99% of the 1% are government or corporate connected. In any country. They love the chaos and infighting going on in the streets and towns of any country. They promote the chaos, the anger, the hatred & buy the means (all media which they own) to spawn it, bait it and watch it spread. It's what they want. Divide and conquer has always been the motto for invaders, pirates, privateers & some government sponsored organizations. Make sure to keep the 30-40% of 'mistrusting' souls misguided and deluded into believing their government, the medical community, the CBC, you name it, are all against you. That way, no matter what red herring they throw out there, they can continue behind the scenes doing exactly what they want with no oversight.
Unfortunately, part of the problem is control of the government, which is partially true as we all know the politicians who pay back their big corporate donors with lucrative contracts. The politicians who ignore the voice of the majority and hold out for their 'cut' while in office. But the true control in our world today is illegal capitalism (the pirates of old) in the form of corporatism. Money controls, money does all the talking no matter what groups of wonderful citizens want to embark on a mission to save the future no matter what country in which they reside.
Long ago sociopaths were shunned, uneducated individuals that could not survive in small communities. Today, they are well educated as specialists, government officials, doctors, lawyers, corporate leaders and have managed to turn our world upside down. Until the day comes when we, en masse, realize that the pirates of long ago are still with us but are now part of the elite, working on the front lines and behind the scenes weaving in and out of all manner of officialdom from palaces, government seats, producing and procuring war materials, buying out media and spreading the hate that we see among us all today. I applaud those who are trying their hardest to bring about some non-partisan work and getting others together to join them. It's a start but oh, we have such a long, long way to go before the reality of where we actually are today, hits home.

Spot on Markiana. Hiding in plain sight is what they have been able to achieve and the ultimate irony is that when you try and explain that disturbing big picture, it's easily relegated to being another conspiracy theory. Social media has been a massive gift to the corporate psychopaths/sociopaths and exceptionalist America where bigger is better has provided fertile ground. Sitting ducks really. (It's also hard to imagine Mark Zuckerberg as anything other than right wing politically unless his "metaverse" becomes another whole new entity to compete with reality along with religion.) And now that the Supreme Court is stacked to the right, it's mission accomplished, and America is in real trouble.
I just watched the first black woman nominated to the court by Joe Biden, but was utterly dismayed that the first thing she said, the very FIRST, was to thank GOD for gods' sake! Religion has been the one common denominator I suppose, but as is inevitably the case with that delusion, even that is now being sabotaged by the right wing developing their OWN new religion-- Q-Anon.

Absolutely, Tris. Not sure whether the history or paperwork still survives, but Mark Zuckerberg was funded by the CIA in order for them to keep tabs on a fast growing population. He personally was just another one at the 'right' place at the 'right' time and very willing to become wealthy when approached. Many others have fallen into the traps set by organizations created to watch over the actions and directions of the masses. It started after WW2 and continues to this day. Unfortunately, it is not a conspiracy theory - I wish it were.