Even Naheed Nenshi, possibly the nicest mayor big-city Canada ever had, is fed up with the Occupiers. If you've lost Calgary Mayor Nenshi, you've lost the country.
So here is the choice the Occupiers face: go, with their tents and their portable toilets, and keep their dignity and message reasonably intact; or resist, and act as a law unto themselves, and be forever remembered dragging their own names through the mud of their unwanted encampments.
There is a third choice, peaceful civil disobedience: refuse to leave, insist on being carried away by police, and face the judicial consequences. Alas, if Mr. Nenshi is fed up, civil disobedience at this late stage is probably going to be met with a yawn, at best, by the public. “The protesters need to understand that they've lost the thread, they've completely lost the plot,” Mr. Nenshi says. “Making this about the tents instead of about the issues they're talking about, they've completely lost any ability to influence people.”
The remarkable tolerance of the civic authorities may have created a mistaken impression among the Occupiers that they have a right to occupy. Maybe that explains why the movement has tried everyone's patience, including Mr. Nenshi's. Its members seem to believe that civil disobedience is a form of protest protected from consequences. In Vancouver, after being served with a court order, the protesters packed up their tents and, like children proud of their cunning, moved them to another public area. Occupy seems just another group claiming an entitlement, free of responsibilities toward others.
The Occupy movement began as an understandable response to the excesses that contributed to the world financial crisis. It turned into an excess of its own. And now the courts have taken a strong stand against that excess. The time for negotiations is gone. Even Mr. Nenshi says so.
What will anyone remember of all this in a few years, or even in a few weeks? It depends on whether the Occupiers make a last, self-defeating stand, or go, as Montreal Mayor Gérald Tremblay says, with their heads held high.
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