Eldest daughter and I went to our local Rally for Canada today. We didn't get home until fairly late, as we were out and about afterward.
It was a touch on the chilly side, with the weather not quite sure if it was raining or snowing. We took the train and found ourselves heading to the legislature grounds with a group of people. At one point, I found myself walking beside a man who wasn't quite sure if he was at the right place. When I told him that, yes, this was where the rally was going to be held, he told me that he wasn't supporting Stephen Harper, then asked if I were going to the same place. When I said yes, he didn't say anything and started walking faster. Later on, I saw him take out an anti-Harper and anti-GG sign invoking Mugabe that had me laughing out loud. I suppose it was meant to be insulting, but all it really did was show off his own ignorance. But hey, each to their own.
There was quite a crowd already gathered, and it grew quickly. Ours was one of the smaller demonstrations in Canada - something over 500 people, I've read. Along with Mugabe guy, there was another counter-demonstrator with a "Fire Harper" sign, and something about perogy on the other. A play on the word prorogue that was supposed to be either insulting or funny. He was walking back and forth in front of the crowd for a while, until some people with signs against the coalition started walking along right behind him, step for step. At one point he yelled out something about us all being Quebec haters, which someone promptly corrected. Not wanting to deal with separatists is not the same as hating Quebecers. Eventually, he found a high spot in the middle and held his sign. Every now and then, during the speaches, he'd shout something out about "padlocking parliament" and the like. I would like to have asked him if he was protesting like this the last time parliament was prorogued - at Paul Martin's request,* so as to avoid the ad-scam fall out.
*correction: It was Chretien that prorogued parliament; Paul Martin was left holding the bag as PM after Chretien stepped down.
There was one guy that got into a shouting match with both the counter-protestors before things started. Of course, with each one, the tv and newspaper cameras came running along to record it. It's unfortunate that this happened. The counter protestors have as much right to their opinion as the rest of us, and shouting at them is not only disrespectful, but counterproductive, what with how it would end up being portrayed in the news. It's certainly not going to change anyone's mind.
When things got started, we opened with the singing of Oh, Canada! Shortly after, there was a moment of silence to commemorate the 3 soldiers that died in Afghanistan recently, as well as the Montreal Massacre.
There were some more speeches, with the whole thing lasting under and hour. We closed off with another singing of the national anthem. My daughter noted to me later on that Fire Harper guy was the only person she saw that wasn't singing. Mugabe guy was standing with his back to us, so I have no idea if he sang along.
When things broke up, most of the crowd headed over to where a table was set up, giving out copies of a petition against the coalition, so that people could get signatures, which are to be sent in by Dec. 12. While looking through the crowd, I noticed on Western separatist sign a guy had, as well as one sign a woman carried that suggested Quebec should separate.
While we waited for my husband to come and get us, a family group walked by with their large, professionally printed signs. I asked them where they got the signs from and they told me they'd found a printer that was able to do it in 6 hours for them - and that they cost about $50 each! These were printed on both sides with a lot of text, too. You know it means something when people will toss off $150 for signs that can only be used once.
All in all, I left the rally feeling somewhat encouraged. It helps that the coalition looks like it's already breaking apart. We'll see how things work out over the next while. Parliament would've shut down next week anyways, so it's just a few extra weeks closed than it would've been. Layton is already saying the NDP won't support the budget, no matter what it is. And people say Harper is the one who's being stubborn and a bully? How can the CPC work together and be concilliatory with a party that intends to work against them no matter what?
We're definitly living in interesting times.