Ernie Black, also known as F1 Gogles or @GOGGS_ON_F1. Formula One fan since birth. Creatively expressing my opinion online on anything F1 related. Actively looking for new and fun ways to introduce the sport to a new generation of F1 fans.
June 6, 2012 (F1plus / Ernie Black).- There have been several articles written about the protests in Montreal as well as the complications and ramifications of Bill 78 and hiked tuitions, so I’m not going to get into any of that. Human Rights and the right to assembly are subjects best left to the professionals
As we witnessed in Bahrain which had protests that threatened the Formula One weekend, the media is making a little more of this than is actually happening. While the situation is very real and is certainly different from Bahrain, the truth that disruptions can occur is possible and likely but still exaggerated.
We have already see the initial effects via the cyber-vigilantes/terrorists/hackers (anonymous) that have publicly disclosed information of some F1 fan’s personal data such as names, seats, emails and phone numbers by hacking into ticket sales websites. Furthermore, GP organizers have recently called off the “Open Door ” Thursday event which normally kicks off the GP activities for fans. In addition, I have also just spoken to some of the street festival organizers from past year’s F1 events and have been notified that they will no longer be participating. Among some of these events that I shall miss are the displays of exotics and vintage collectibles which used to line certain streets. Promoter Francois Dumontier has had to make some difficult decisions to cancel events in the name of security and safety. At a time when Bernie threatens every race on the calendar, Montreal does need to give Mr. Ecclestone any ammunition or reason to look elsewhere to fill a race slot.
There have been daily protests and marches for over one month now, generally peaceful however on several occasions there have been arrests. The media, both online and in print have done their part to embellish and exaggerate the situation as was the case in Bahrain. This behaviour is feeding the protesters and helping them gain the attention they crave. While it is important to bring attention to these issues which I assure you are legitimate, I don’t agree with using an international event such as Formula One to promote visibility and negative attention. In doing so, it immediately discredits the protests, the issues and the cause in my humble and honest opinion.
Posters floating around about disrupting commuters on the Metro on Sunday (race day) at 10:30am essentially invites the police and the media for public attention. These types of actions do nothing more than draw negativity and cause potential clashes with fans.
I suppose the students protesting don’t care about the financial impact of F1 to the city that yields millions to the local economy an in turn, millions in tax dollars that can help them their tuition cause. Nor do they care about the hardworking F1 fans that have one opportunity to see an F1 race live and spend stupid amounts of money on over-inflated hotel rates and food prices. Sadly, some of restaurant owners rely on F1, the Jazz Festival and Just for Laughs festival to make enough money for the YEAR to support their families.
If you want to protests, be my guest, but don’t do it in a way that impacts the lives of innocent people unrelated to your cause or problems. Negative attention won’t help you get what you need but it can certainly hinder your chances of getting it.
Due to the recent student protests, my contacts in the city inform me that some of the street festivities will be kept to a minimum this season. Also please note that the Free Access (Doors Open) day on Thursday has been cancelled so there will be no pit-lane walk.