Penticton Western News reporter Brennan Phillips.

Penticton Western News reporter Brennan Phillips.

Shouting it out loud: It can happen here

Democracy is fragile, and we have a duty to protect it

People around the world were glued to their phones, computers and televisions to watch on Jan. 6 as America’s capital erupted into chaos.

We can’t take our democracy for granted, or think that what occurred in the United States can’t occur elsewhere.

To paraphrase the message of the author Sinclair Lewis’ novel, “It can happen here.”

Everyone who voiced their disbelief that such a thing could take place wasn’t paying enough attention.

Pretending there isn’t a problem and ignoring the signs, was how America got to the point of having their national capital building invaded by rioters and protesters, and terrorists with pipe bombs, zip ties and nooses.

Democracies are fragile, and they need the people’s protection.

To say that our own society is above what is playing in America is not only foolish, it’s dangerous.

Not more than a year ago, a Canadian reservist was arrested and accused of allegedly driving his truck onto the grounds of the prime minister’s residence at Rideau Hall, carrying with him loaded firearms. His case has yet to go to trial, and perhaps when it does people will start thinking and talking about him again.

In 2014, Corporal Nathan Cirillo was fatally shot while on his ceremonial sentry duty outside of Canada’s Parliament, before his assailant entered the building and was killed by security.

The War Memorial and Parliament Hill shootings were classified as terrorist acts by the RCMP. Those were direct attacks on symbols of our democracy.

Many Canadian cities saw small pro-Trump rallies pop up the same day of the attempted coup in Washington.

Anti-mask and anti-lockdown rallies across the country have taken place in almost every city and community across Canada. Many of those protesters have legitimate grievances, whether it be the loss of a job, family member, or something else. Yet at the core of those rallies, is an anti-government sentiment that is all too real, and far too dangerous.

Just as the anti-lockdown protesters have their grievances that led to participating in the rallies, many of the protesters and rioters in the U.S. had similar grievances for supporting Donald Trump, but they all had one reason for storming the capital, and that was to attack the democratic process of their nation.

The federal NDP is calling for the Proud Boys, an international far-right group founded in Canada, to be banned as a terrorist group after photos emerged of members participating in the events in Washington D.C.

The signs of potential future dangers for our democracy are there.

A threat to democracy doesn’t begin with a riot. The storming of the U.S. capital building wasn’t produced out of the ether. Those hundreds of people didn’t wake up that morning with the novel but shared idea to riot. It was generated by groups like the Proud Boys – and condoned by a leader like Donald Trump.

We have a system in place for people to have their voices heard. It’s called an election. They’re not perfect. If there is one thing I want to see from the government in the future, it’s reform for our elections, to address valid concerns from people who feel the need to support groups like Wexit, that or others that feel we do not have accurate representation in Parliament.

As members of a democracy, we have a duty to stand on guard and protect our society. That means holding our leaders to account when they condone violence and groups that would sow hatred and division, in a way that respects our laws and more importantly, our democracy.

Democracies are fragile, so let’s do our part to keep it together.

Brennan Phillips is a journalist with Black Press Media

Column

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The organizer of a Kelowna protest against COVID-19 restrictions was fined by the RCMP for the third time Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021. (File photo)
COVID-19: Organizer of Kelowna anti-restriction protest ticketed for third time

The individual’s latest ticket for $2,300 was handed out by RCMP at an anti-lockdown rally Saturday

Mount Boucherie Secondary School is one of three Kelowna schools with confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to an update from the school district Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021. (File photo)
COVID-19 confirmed at 3 Kelowna schools

Interior Health has confirmed exposures at Mount Boucherie, Springvalley and South Rutland schools

A map released by the BCCDC on Jan. 15 shows the number of new COVID-19 cases reported for each local health area between Jan. 3 and 9. (BCCDC Image)
Salmon Arm and Vernon see increase in new COVID cases, curve flattening elsewhere

The rate of new cases is levelling off in Kelowna, Penticton and Revelstoke.

(BC Conservation Service)
Hunter charged, fined for poaching immature moose in West Kelowna

Richard Fischer pled guilty to two charges under the BC Wildlife Act

Interior Health update. File photo.
86 new COVID-19 cases, two more deaths in Interior Health

The new deaths are from Heritage Square, a long-term care facility in Vernon

Keith the curious kitten is seen on Nov. 4, 2020 at the Chilliwack SPCA. Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 is Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 17 to 23

Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day, Pie Day and International Sweatpants Day are all coming up this week

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
‘Targeted’ shooting in Coquitlam leaves woman in hospital

The woman suffered non-life threatening injuries in what police believe to be a targeted shooting Saturday morning

Half of the most expensive homes are on 2080 Mackenzie Crt, which is across the street from Revelstoke Mountain Resort. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)
The 10 most valuable homes in Revelstoke for 2020

Combined, the properties are worth more than $35M

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
More than 20 days have passed since the last case of COVID-19 was confirmed at Lakeside Manor. (File photo)
Salmon Arm retirement facility reopens social areas after COVID-19

More than 20 days have passed since last confirmed case at Lakeside Manor

A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)
A deer with 3 ears? Unique animal routinely visits B.C. property

Experts say interesting look may be result of an injury rather than an odd birth defect

Standardized foundation skills assessment tests in B.C. schools will be going ahead later than usual, from Feb. 16 to March 12 for students in Grades 4 and 7. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. teachers say COVID-affected school year perfect time to end standardized tests

Foundational skills testing of Grade 4 and 7 students planned for February ad March

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Sooke’s Jim Bottomley is among a handful of futurists based in Canada. “I want to help people understand the future of humanity.” (Aaron Guillen - Sooke News Mirror)
No crystal ball: B.C. man reveals how he makes his living predicting the future

63-year-old has worked analytical magic for politicians, car brands, and cosmetic companies

Most Read