Counter-protestors outflank anti-immigration marchers in Niagara Falls
September 30, 2017
By Richard Hutton Niagara This Week |
Numbers weren’t on the side of participants who had planned to take part in an anti-immigration rally in the city Saturday, one of several staged across Canada by Quebec-based Storm Alliance.
A group of five or six men marched down Falls Avenue only to be met by a loud group of well more than 100 counter-protesters, some who had been bused in from Hamilton and Kitchener-Waterloo gathered along Falls Avenue across from the Rainbow Bridge.
The six men were part of a group of about 20 who came up against the counter-protesters throughout the morning. All were distributing leaflets which read: “Keep Canada Canadian. Protect Canadians, Enforce Our Laws.”
Confrontation was inevitable.
“I want people who come here to Canada to come here legally,” the man, who refused to give his name, shouted at one of the counter-protesters.
“I’m third-generation (Canadian) and they came here legally,” he said before being shouted down.
The counter-protest was organized by the Niagara Anti-Racism Coalition. Participants came from all walks of life, including union members, church congregations and ordinary citizens.
Desmond Sequeira of St. Catharines has seen first-hand the effects of racism. His son, Jedon, was bullied relentlessly in school while the family lived in Woodstock, Ont., simply because of his skin colour.
“He was bullied, thrown out of groups,” Sequeira said. “He was told, when he becomes white he can come back.”
But Jaden, who is now 33, overcame obstacles put in front of him and now is a teacher for the Durham District School Board, Sequeira said.
“He’s doing well.”
Sequeira said that it was important for everyone to stand up against racism and hatred.
“Canada is a land of immigrants,” he said. “We have room for everybody.”
Sandra Frayne of Pelham felt the same way.
“We’re just ordinary people showing support for inclusiveness in Canada,” she said.
But Arthur Smitherman of the Cultural Action Party of Ontario (CAPO), who was taking photos and filming the rally, said participants in the counter-protest are misinformed.
“The media has turned into misinformation central,” he said.
Asked to cite examples of “misinformation,” Smitherman simply went on to say that protests such as the one being staged by anti-racism groups only serve to foster division.
“There are no fascists on the right,” Smitherman said. “They’ve always been on the left. The Nazi party were socialists.”
Smitherman went on to say he is not racist, and neither is CAPO.
“I believe in responsible immigration,” he said.
Karl Dockstader, president of the Niagara Regional Native Centre, meanwhile, said that a cultural tipping point” has been reached south of the border under the presidency of Donald Trump and fears the same thing could happen here.