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Yellow vests in Canada bear no resemblance to protesters in France: ambassador

OTTAWA -- Canada s ambassador to France says this country s yellow-vest protest movement bears little resemblance to the "gilets jaunes" who started it all in France.

Isabelle Hudon says the movement in Canada appears to have been appropriated by far-right extremists espousing racist, anti-immigrant views and even indulging in death threats against Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

By contrast, she says the yellow vests in France started last November with a protest against a fuel tax and mushroomed into a more generalized protest against the heavy tax burden imposed by French political and business elites on the middle class.

While violent individuals have been involved in the French protests, some of which have devolved into riots, Hudon says she s never seen the protests there linked to race or immigration.

Hudon, who was in Canada along with five other envoys to brief ministers at a cabinet retreat last week, says it appears to her that protesters here have adopted the symbol of their French counterparts -- the yellow safety vests all drivers in France are required to carry in their vehicles -- but do not share similar complaints or objectives.

During a stop in Moncton, N.B., over the weekend, she was surprised to see some yellow-vest protesters brandishing signs with what she called "violent words on immigration."

"It s not at all the kind of messages that the real gilets jaunes in France would deliver," Hudon said in an interview.

"It s not at all the same dynamic in Canada from what I heard and from what I saw," she added. "It s almost like here in Canada they re seeing a strong brand and they re branding their voice under the yellow vest but I m not sure that it s totally the same, or at all the same. But it s almost like they re borrowing the brand, the gilets jaunes, and you know what? It s highly visible."
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