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

Crystal Johns used her lunch break to film her audition video for the Vancouver Canucks.
VIDEO: Former Vees anthem singer wants to bring her voice to the Canucks

Crystal Johns made her audition tape during a lunch break

The Okanagan Regional Library is holding a pair of online contests for its young readers. (File photo)
Okanagan Regional Library challenges young readers

Pair of contests online aimed at kids aged up to 18

Penticton Real Canadian Superstore
New COVID case at Penticton Superstore

The last day the employee worked was Jan. 21

Terrance Josephson of the Princeton Posse, at left, and Tyson Conroy of the Summerland Steam clash during a Junior B hockey game at the Summerland Arena in the early spring of 2020. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Test your knowledge of Canada’s national winter sport

Flooding has become a reality for many communities in the Okanagan Valley as the region faces more extreme weather storms, blamed on the impact of climate change. (File photo)
Okanagan high target for spring flooding

Higher snowpack and mild winter precipitation levels raise concerns for Canada’s insurance industry

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders sits in on a COVID-19 briefing with Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, B.C. minister of health. (Birinder Narang/Twitter)
PHOTOS: Bernie Sanders visits B.C. landmarks through the magic of photo editing

Residents jump on viral trend of photoshopping U.S. senator into images

Auldin Maxwell stacks the 693rd block on the top of record-breaking Jenga tower on Nov. 29. (Submitted)
Salmon Arm boy rests world-record attempt on single Jenga brick

Auldin Maxwell, 12, is now officially a Guinness world record holder.

A woman injects herself with crack cocaine at a supervised consumption site Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Drug users at greater risk of dying as services scale back in second wave of COVID-19

It pins the blame largely on a lack of supports, a corrupted drug supply

Wet’suwet’en supporters and Coastal GasLink opponents continue to protest outside the B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, February 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
‘We’re still in it’: Wet’suwet’en push forward on rights recognition

The 670-km Coastal GasLink pipeline was approved by B.C. and 20 elected First Nations councils on its path

Kelowna Fire Department. (FILE)
Early morning downtown Kelowna dumpster fire deemed suspicious

RCMP and the Kelowna Fire Department will conduct investigations into the cause of the blaze

Jennifer Cochrane, a Public Health Nurse with Prairie Mountain Health in Virden, administers the COVID-19 vaccine to Robert Farquhar with Westman Regional Laboratory, during the first day of immunizations at the Brandon COVID-19 vaccination supersite in Brandon, Man., on Monday, January 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tim Smith - POOL
Top doctor urges Canadians to keep up with COVID measures, even as vaccines roll out

More than 776,606 vaccines have been administered so far

From the left: Midway RCMP Csts. Jonathan Stermscheg and Chris Hansen, Public Servant Leanne Mclaren and Cpl. Phil Peters. Pictured in the front are Mclaren’s dog, Lincoln and Peters’ dog, Angel. Photo courtesy of BC RCMP
B.C. Mounties commended for bringing firewood to elderly woman

Cpl. Phil Peters said he and detachment members acted after the woman’s husband went to hospital

Dr. Jerome Leis and Dr. Lynfa Stroud are pictured at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto on Thursday, January 21, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
‘It wasn’t called COVID at the time:’ One year since Canada’s first COVID-19 case

The 56-year-old man was admitted to Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

An Uber driver’s vehicle is seen after the company launched service, in Vancouver, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020. Several taxi companies have lost a court bid to run Uber and Lyft off the road in British Columbia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Taxi companies lose court bid to quash Uber, Lyft approvals in British Columbia

Uber said in a statement that the ruling of the justice is clear and speaks for itself

Most Read