Just two hours after the 401 Ontario/Quebec portion of the nation-wide carbon tax protest had been scheduled to start, only a handful of vehicles remained parked on the shoulder of the service centre parking lot just west of the exit for Riviere-Beaudette. Tinkess Photo

BAINSVILLE – While the optimistically named nation-wide carbon tax protest did manage to draw substantial support in some areas, support locally was low, short-lived, and more than a little disorganized.

Facebook posts from organizers indicated that the portion of the protest located on Highway 417 and 401 where each of the highways cross the Ontario/Quebec border was to begin at 12:00 p.m. It was also stated that the protests would stay in place until the carbon tax legislation was rescinded.

The map provided on the Facebook page, however, was for a location in Norre Vilstrup, Denmark.

When the 401 location was checked at 1:30 p.m., thirteen vehicles with a few handmade posters and Canadian flags were observed parked on the shoulder of the service centre parking lot in Quebec, just east of the border. A lone Sûreté du Québec (SQ) vehicle was parked in the emergency vehicle turnaround on the highway, keeping watch.

It was unclear how many vehicles had shown up originally, although a Facebook poll indicated that approximately 22 people planned on attending. Numbers may have been impacted to some degree by a press release sent out by the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) in the days leading up to the protest advising of the consequences of blocking or slowing traffic.

On the Ontario side of the border, a couple OPP vehicles were parked at the entrance to the westbound service centre, and they appeared to be speaking briefly to drivers of vehicles leaving the highway.

While physical numbers were low, at least locally, the Facebook page created by the organizers currently has attracted approximately 174,400 members, although other than a desire to have the carbon tax eliminated, there did not seem to be a solid consensus due to infighting between those who believed in peaceful protest and those who preferred a more radical approach.

In the coming days it should become clearer what the result of the protest will be. It does, at this point seem like it will become a key issue in the next federal election.