Just a coincidence? You decide.
In mid-March, the City of Calgary obtained an injunction against a group of Calgarians marching through the downtown streets every Saturday afternoon.
The marches had been going on for more than a year, protesting against losing freedoms taken away by governments in their COVID-19 management operations.
The marches, which I witnessed first-hand, were peaceful, family-friendly affairs — at times noisy, sure — but never out of control.
They had permits and police escorts to manage traffic and keep the marchers moving. You don’t get police management if you don’t have permits. The city’s website says permits are a must.
Despite being well-mannered and under control, the marches drew complaints, from merchants along 17 Ave. S.W, from Beltline residents who said the marches caused them to lose sleep and others.
The marches usually left Central Memorial Park every Saturday around 2 p.m., returning to the Park around 3 or 3:30 p.m., and yes, I believe there are people who need to sleep in the afternoon.
I believe that 17 Ave. merchants should have had the sense to meet with the marchers to settle problems. That didn’t happen.
I also believe a small number of ‘woke folk’ were annoyed because they were afraid of the marchers. Not afraid of what the marchers were doing, but afraid of everything the marchers stood for, especially getting back control of their lives.
Then, perhaps the woke folk noticed one of their own, Courtney Walcott, had been elected to Calgary City Council last fall and reached out to him to quell their fears.
Whether they did or not, Walcott went on Twitter, claiming the marchers were white supremacists. “These protests aren’t about COVID public health measures, they’re about white supremacy and opportunism” he tweeted on March 6.
Coun. Gian Carlo Carra, now under police investigation for a ‘physical incident’, joined Walcott’s chorus and that was all the incitement the woke folk needed.
Days later, a group of six or seven of them confronted the marchers at 17 Ave. and 7 St. S.W., forcing the police to move them out of the way of the legal, permitted marchers.
Shortly after, in the gong show that is city council, a vote passed to place an injunction against the marchers from venturing onto 17 Ave. It was OK to go to city hall, but not 17 Ave.
The injunction against protests in the Beltline has ended, with the city proclaiming it did what it was supposed to do.
“The injunction has served its intended purpose, which was to deter ongoing public safety issues, noise issues, traffic disruptions and other concerns raised by residents and businesses,” the City of Calgary said in a press release.
The timing could not be more suspicious.
With every Flames’ playoff game, the hockey team is hosting a giant outdoor watch party in front of the Saddledome on Stampede Park.
The ‘Red Lot Community Viewing Party’ will open three hours before puck drop and close when the games end.
Admission is free, subject to capacity limits, and there will be plenty of activities, including lots of food and drink available, with games shown on a TV called ‘The Titan’ (22 ft. by 40 ft.).
Even Johnny Gaudreau will look tall on that screen.
What could possibly go wrong? Ever heard of the Red Mile? It’s back.
After every playoff game, if history is any measure, thousands of fans will stream, perhaps stumble, to the Red Mile, likely paying no heed to the difference between sidewalk and roadway.
Thousands of fans who spent upwards of five hours cheering the Flames along with a brew or two.
And the injunction, designed to prevent noise, confusion and traffic disruptions on 17 Ave., ends just in time for noise, confusion and traffic disruptions to take over 17 Ave.?
It’s well known the bars, restaurants and other businesses on the Red Mile do booming business during Flames’ games and we’re glad they do.
The last couple of years have been incredibly bad, due to governments revoking freedoms. Making gathering on the Red Mile ‘legal’ is a huge plus.
And, there’s the mayor of Calgary, Jyoti Gondek, who abruptly killed the new arena/entertainment centre deal, of which the Flames were paying a healthy portion. It’s a deal the city desperately needs to have back in place.
The mayor who said protesters should go to city hall, the McDougall Centre or Harry Hayes Building, but not 17 Ave.
(The Flames first round opponents are the Dallas Stars. Is cheering against the Stars a protest? Then off to city hall with you!)
I am 100% in favour of celebrating the Flames playoff run on the Red Mile or wherever. Celebrations will rival those of 1989, if only because of the last two years and the pent-up exuberance.
Is it a coincidence the injunction went away when it came time to re-open the Red Mile, or are other favours in play?
Nodding heads need to know.
Myke Thomas is a Western Standard contributor
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