Opportunity lost is opportunity wasted.

  • February 25, 2020

These protests must come to an end.

Not because I disagree with anyone’s right to protest or that civil disobedience is a great way to bring attention to what you believe is an injustice that most would ignore without it. History has been made better with activism such as this and I applaud anyone willing to stand up for those beliefs.

Their actions, voices and sacrifices have the world’s attention, has the ear of the ones who can effect change. These protesters wanted that and they have it. It is a win. Now is the time to take that win with grace and preserve the dignity and opportunity that it provides.

Sit. Consult. Talk. Negotiate. Demand. The power balance has swung and with the new support and attention it is an incredible chance to make a real difference. That is what was wanted, it is where we are.

But opportunity does not last forever. As long as that power is wielded with an unwilling spirit, one who wants to go beyond the win of what was intended – to get more, to punish, to prove a point – that opportunity is at risk of being lost.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is in an impossible situation. A call for calm negotiation, consultation, collaboration was offered but it wasn’t good enough. Even the offer outraged one side, fueled by demands of force from the opposition. That offer was rejected and barricades continued…. so now what?

There is little option left. No one group. No one group, whoever they may be, may have veto power over an entire country. No one group may hold an entire country hostage with zero willingness to negotiate. There can be no all or nothing… on any side here. People need to  understand this.

If the RCMP and military are called in to remove barricades to keep the country supplied, it will happen, it must. And if that happens we all lose. The opportunity for peaceful collaboration is gone. For some the willingness has already left. The moral high ground that started the protests, lost and support fading. This is not good.

If the barricades and protests end peacefully and talks of consultation proceed, we have a chance. Negotiation is never win-loss, it’s always win-win and that only happens if both sides are willing to give a little.

This is the only solution and I implore those on both sides in those positions to be willing to concede enough to end this peacefully and work together.

This stand off, this divisiveness isn’t good for other side, or the middle. We are all losing here and are at risk of losing more.

Michelle Budiwski

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