Today I Went to a Demonstration

What a beautiful sunny day in Ottawa for an anti-proroguing rally. It was about -5C with full sun. It does not get better than that in Ottawa in January. I might not have gone to this rally if not for something that one of my favourite bloggers, Zoom, wrote at www.knitnut.net:

“As of this writing, 209,860 people have joined the Facebook group Canadians Against Proroguing Parliament. The Prime Minister believes Canadians are too apathetic to do anything more than that.

I would strongly urge every single Canadian who cares about this country and how it’s run to make a point of going to their local rally tomorrow. The Prime Minister is counting on you to stay home. Democracy is counting on you to show up.”

I did join that Facebook group with the click of a mouse, and Zoom’s post really hit me that I had clicked because it was easy, and now I needed to back up my click with getting off the couch and heading downtown.

My impressions:

– The rally was really well organized. Everything moved along at a good pace and the sound quality was great, with no technical difficulties or delays. Congratulations to the organizers – very well done.
– The Raging Grannies and Trevor Strong from the Arrogant Worms were a fun and humorous break to the speeches, which were pretty left leaning, even for me.
– Jack Layton sounded like he was advocating the decapitation of Stephen Harper by comparing him to Charles I, even though he assured us that he was not.
– Does anyone else see Paul Dewar as the next leader of the NDP?
– I thought that Michael Ignatieff needed to be more inspiring and passionate, and a few jokes would have helped his speech a lot. Ignatieff may well be in pre-election mode, and if he can’t step it up for campaigning, then his leadership of the Liberal Party will be in trouble.
– The crowd was a mix of young and old, children and dogs. All well behaved.
– The rally was a bit long at 1 hour and 45 minutes and my toes were numb by the end, even though it was such a nice day. If the weather had been more typical for January, much of the crowd would not have stuck it out.
– There was only one minor altercation near me. One person was holding a 9/11 conspiracy sign and another rally attendee, whose face was not visible due to his hat, scarf and sunglasses, approached him and said that this was no place for that kind of shit. The 9/11 guy looked back at him and asked who he was hiding from. Masked Guy replied “uh I don’t want to be recognized here,” and then quietly slinked away.
– A 17 year-old ecological cinematographer was so passionate about climate change in her speech that her voice was breaking with emotion.
– The CBC reported on the way home that there were 3000 people on parliament hill, but to me it seemed like more.
– Facebook is a real tool to connect with people and effect change.

Today I was very glad that I came out of my shell and got up off the couch to go downtown and show that I am not apathetic, and that I care deeply about Canada and its democracy. It meant enough to me that I even gave up my indulgent “Me” day to do so. I did learn today however, that I am not a real activist type. Perhaps I am just too much of an introvert to shout out slogans on Parliament Hill and shout Shame after every statement made in a speech. In fact this was only my second ever demonstration on Parliament Hill, the first being in around 1992 or 1993 when university students gathered to protest tuition fee hikes under Bob Rae (wow, I guess things do come full circle).

But today felt good and I think that it meant something and that it showed something to Stephen Harper. I wonder if he was listening.

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About Finola

I am an Ottawa area Mom, writer-want-to-be and coffee legend in the making.
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7 Responses to Today I Went to a Demonstration

  1. zoom says:

    This post made my day. Thank you.

  2. Finola says:

    I thank You Zoom!

  3. 2ebecca says:

    good for you. i was going to show up, but then i ended up doing three loads of laundry and mopped the floors.

    i wonder who was that masked man?

  4. Good for you for attending! I felt badly I could only stay for 20 minutes (in between hockey games). I heard Jack Layton too and chuckled at the Charles I comparison. Come on Jack – we're all pissed off, we're freezing our butts off, no need for decapitation talk. I am not an outgoing activist either Finola (chanting or shouting I can't do) but I clap and add one more body to the group. I think that counts. I sure hope it does.

  5. Finola says:

    2ebecca – laundry and floor mopping are important and hard to get done during the week! I still have to tackle my mount laundry 😦

    MM – I'm so impressed that you squeezed it in between hockey games. Clapping and being there definitely counts!

  6. Nat says:

    It was a lovely day… too bad we didn't meet up.

  7. Finola says:

    Nat – sorry I thought I answered you. Would love to see you at race weekend!

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