A protest against recent moves by the federal government was held in the centre of Lloydminster on Saturday.
The small group of protesters gathered near the intersection of 50 Avenue and 44 Street for a short time in the afternoon. Organizer Theresa Smith said their goal was to protest the actions taken by the federal government against Islamophobia in Canada, with a focus on Motion M103.
The motion, which is non-binding, asks the federal government to study systemic racism and religious discrimination. It does not make any changes to law, or bring in any new laws.
It passed last week, with 203 MP’s in favour, and 91 opposed. Only two Conservative MP’s, Michael Chong and Bruce Stanton, voted in favour of the motion. The Conservatives said they agreed with the intentions of the motion, but were concerned about the wording over possible challenges to free speech.
Saturday’s rally made mention of the motion, along with a host of other concerns. Using a megaphone, Smith railed to the passing motorists along Highway 16 about her views on immigrants taking Canadian jobs, what she saw as the many failings of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, her belief in the non-existence of racism in Canada, and her concerns about the threat of refugees coming into the country.
The Canadian chapter of the Soldiers of Odin were also present at the rally, with several attendees wearing clothing with the group’s logo along the edges of the gathering. Smith stated they were there for security.
Smith also says she isn’t uncomfortable with the presence of the Soldiers of Odin at the rally. The group was originally founded in Finland, and has been described as holding anti-immigration and anti-refugee views. Smith indicated she had contacted them to attend, citing her concern about being attacked for her views.
“What I did, is I asked the RCMP for help here, and they didn’t come out,” said Smith.
“I asked them, and they said yes, they would be at my side.”
The rally got some support among the travellers, with some drivers honking their horns and others shouting agreement with the attendees. The rally was also the second organized in the Border City by Smith.
“I was asked to come in from Calgary to do a trial,” says Smith.
“We were doing it in cities across Canada, the big cities. Lloydminster is part of Saskatchewan, is part of Alberta, so we decided to try to do a little run last week, and the response was very well. So I was asked to come back as speaker, and then there is more to turn out.”
Smith maintains she isn’t against the Islamic faith completely.
“I have friends that are Muslim, and I have friends that are ex-Muslim, everything,” said Smith.
“So, a lot of the Muslim people I know, for many, many years, are aware what’s happening, and they told me they’re scared, because this is the same process. The Islamophobia law, then it goes into motion, and then it starts the process to sharia law. They are in fear because they left the Middle East because they wanted to be free, so they come here. So now, this has got to stop.”
Since the motion was approved, there have been no changes to the Canadian law system, or any planned. The date for a study of the issues mentioned in the bill has not yet been announced.
As for whether or not more rallies will be held in Lloydminster, Smith says it is up to the residents of the city.
“It’s up to them,” said Smith. “(If) the community feels that they need to have meetings to understand what’s going on with government, because Trudeau has changed it completely.”
“I want Lloydminster to stand up, for freedom, to stand up against Trudeau, because there are petitions out there online that you can find to keep the charter of freedom of speech of Canada to stay the same. Equal. That’s why we’re out here. We are all equal, Canadians are all equal, but Trudeau is changing that. He’s dividing us, which we feel should not divide us.”