EDITORIAL: Protesters need to grasp the art of persuasion

As protests go, the one staged on Monday at Thompson Rivers University likely did little, if anything, to attract supporters to the cause of the group known as the Tiny House Warriors or the Secwepemc Women Warrior Society.

The group was again protesting the proposed expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline, now owned by the federal government.

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The protest took place at TRU because former Supreme Court of Canada Justice Frank Iacobucci and his team were meeting with local Indigenous groups as part of a pre-consultation roundtable on the pipeline expansion.

While one protester screamed “I’m not mischief, I am Secwepemc!” as she was arrested by Mounties inside the Campus Activity Centre, it should be noted that the Tk’emlups te Secewpemc will receive $3 million from pipeline owners as part of a mutual-benefits agreement.

Nevertheless, such financial arrangements do not necessarily preclude opposition to the pipeline expansion, but the manner in which the Warrior group goes about protesting does nothing to engender support.

Vandalizing a university campus with red paint, screaming at police and meeting attendees through a bullhorn and taking a stand that offers nary a centimetre for compromise is a guaranteed recipe for failure.

The Warriors, and other opponents of the pipeline expansion, have compelling arguments relating to our reliance on oil, the impact spills have on the environment and the rights of Indigenous communities to have decision-making powers in the proposed project.

Arguing persuasively, collecting evidence and data, recruiting supporters to your position and reaching out with deft diplomacy and convincing politicians of your argument — all while obeying the law — is what it takes to enact seismic shifts in society.

Screaming at your opponent, vandalizing property and acting like a defiant child generally does not equate to success.

© Kamloops This Week

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