Good show, Canada! There were actually over 5000 people at Dundas Square alone, according to the police estimate broadcast on CBC’s ‘The National’ on Saturday evening. This is a good start, but for those who want real change, get involved in the political process, start your own party, do what it takes to wrest the system from the Ottawa political establishment. Don’t be afraid to break out of the box and look at third parties. Campaign for electoral reform. Otherwise we’ll simply see the next party to take power carry the same agenda further down the field. In the meantime, while everyone’s digesting the meaning of mass rallies the likes of which the country hasn’t seen for a long time, here’s a little quote from Stephen Harper on the subject of accountability, circa 2006.
“Restoring accountability will be one of the major priorities of our new government. Accountability is what ordinary Canadians, working Canadians, those people who pay their bills, pay their taxes, expect from their political leaders.”
Flashback: Anti-prorogation protest dogs PM | Harper says Parliament brings ‘games’ and ‘instability’ | PM Harper downplays detainee torture scandal, prorogation | PM suspends Parliament | MPs vote public inquiry into Afghan detainees, Tories ignore majority motion | Ottawa won’t budge on secrecy laws | Information commissioner quits, Ottawa chided for lacking ‘guts’ | Watchdog alarmed by Harper’s information clampdown | Decision to prorogue parliament sets ‘very dangerous’ precedent: constitutional expert | Harper halts parliament amid row | Comedian begins asking Harper question, cuffed by RCMP | Tentacles of Secrecy Grip Tightly | PM’s tactic `authoritarian’ | Parliament losing power, author says | Information lockdown: How Harper Controls the Spin | Elected Parliamentarians Neutered by PM-Appointed ‘Courtiers’ | ‘What is it they’re trying to hide?’ NDP asks for military export data | The Mulroney Affair: Why politicians seek out the rich | Harper to create government-run media centre: report | Steven Harper and the Bilderbergers Secret Meeting
Lousie Brown, Susan Delacourt, The Toronto Star
January 24, 2010
Demonstrators gather across the country against PM’s decision to delay Parliament
It isn’t easy to turn “Parliament prorogued” into a chant for a crowd, but thousands of people across Canada turned out anyway on Saturday to protest Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s shutdown of the federal legislature.
In Toronto, the estimated 3,000-strong turnout briefly forced the closing of Yonge St. The rally was one of 50 planned Saturday across the country by the grassroots group Canadians Against Proroguing Parliament, which sprang from a Facebook group that eventually numbered more than 200,000 members. They want Harper to change his Dec. 30 decision to suspend Parliament until March 3, when the Vancouver Olympics are over. MPs were supposed to be back in the Commons on Monday after their scheduled holiday break.
Critics have pummeled Harper for a move they say was designed to let him dodge the inquiry into how much the government knew about torture of prisoners in Afghanistan.
Liberal and New Democrat MPs will be on Parliament Hill Monday for a week of hearings, discussions and news conferences on unemployment, aiding Haiti, the pension crisis and Afghanistan, among other issues.
“I think it’s just disgusting that Harper shut down Parliament. It was clearly a political move to avoid the inquiry into torture in Afghanistan,” said librarian Syd Jones, who attended the rally at Yonge-Dundas Square with wife Renee.
“To use the Olympics as an excuse is a crock — and I’m equally disgusted with the Governor General for agreeing to prorogue the House for the second time in a year for no valid reason.”
Toronto Centre Liberal MP Bob Rae, who, along with other politicians, attended the Toronto rally, said he came “because it’s a chance for me to join others who agree that Mr. Harper made a terrible decision.” The crowd included church groups, families, individuals, unions and members of the Liberal and NDP parties. “Harper didn’t really give a good excuse for shutting down Parliament, so we thought we should get off the couch and do something,” said Nick de Pencier, who attended in Toronto with his 6-year-old daughter.