I spent the afternoon at the anti-prorogue rally in Toronto. Before Christmas our Prime Minister “prorogued” parliament until March: that is, he killed the session, effectively ending (abruptly) 37 bills without closing them. They will have to be re-submitted and started from scratch in the spring, effectively wasting enormous time and money. We don’t like our government run this way, and decided to protest.
It was cold and windy, but lots of us turned out to make our voices heard by our somewhat elitist government. I went alone, but met some friends while I was there: I joked that my shutter finger was numb by the time we were done. The event was organized primarily online, and is a testiment to how grass-roots groups can use technology to organize quickly and efficiently, even in Canada in the midst of winter.
I returned home when it was done and immediately looked on Youtube; already there were videos posted. Of course I was armed with my own camera as I was entertained for the first hour and walked the protest route after that; I have posted my pictures on my Flickr site. I took almost 200, of which about 80 were actually decent shots; it was crowded and composing shots was awkward, but I managed to get a few decent ones.
As I noted in my last post on prorogation (which no longer exists on Gather), these protests were called in various cities across the country. There were certainly thousands who protested in Toronto (estimates are around 3000); shouting slogans about “Democracy Works” and “Hey, hey, ho, ho, Prorogation’s got to go”. There were also thousands who gathered for the same reason in Vancouver, hundreds in Windsor, over 500 in London. There was a rally in Ottawa, but I’ve not been able to confirm its size. Even in Kelowna (a relatively small city in BC) there were over a hundred people. There were 50 of the events planned across Canada, and apparently some planned in the States.. It is good to see that they were noticed. When I lived in the U.S., one of the catch phrases of the last administration was that they were trying to “bring democracy” to other parts of the world. They should have looked a little to the north; our Prime Minister is trying to usurp the power of democracy from the people by interrupting the flow of events whenever things become uncomfortable for him.
It was an opportunity for everyone who has not been heard to have moment, to be heard, to demonstrate and bond. Mr. Harper appears to just want the rest of us to keep quiet and not interrupt his work of running the country. But a democracy doesn’t work that way. There were members of the Socialist party of Canada, groups pushing a “fair vote” in the electoral system, NDP and Liberals, young and old, rich and poor. As our P.M. Has noticed in previous actions, it is easier to bring people together to react against something they don’t like than to support something they do. And in this case, we are reacting against his actions in parliament.
- Link to my Flickr site
- Back to the Geographer’s Corner
- This post was originally published on the (now defunct) Gather site.