Thursday, December 18, 2008

Canadians Take to the Streets over Blogging Coalition

This week's showdown between 2008 Best Progressive Blogger and the fledgling Progressive Blogger coalition has galvanized thousands of ordinary Canadians, who took to the streets yesterday in massive political demonstrations.

In Toronto, about 4,500 coalition supporters flooded Nathan Phillips Square to hear bloggers Dave Cournoyer and Danielle Takacs explain why their united progressive blogging front, which is backed by well-known Western Separatist Calgary Grit, is better for Canada than We Move to Canada.

"we move to canada has done enough for progressive blogging and that is why the it has lost our confidence as 2008 Best Progressive Blog," Takacs told supporters.

Meanwhile in Ottawa, about 3,500 people converged on Parliament Hill to protest the possibility that a coalition of the progressive bloggers could try to unseat the 2008 winner without another vote.

"Canadians voted for we move to canada, and I believe that Daveberta and Takacs are trying to overthrow the legitimate winner," said 39-year-old truck operator Chuck Branson, attending his first demonstration. "I don't believe Canadians are used to a system of a coalition, and we have to stick to what we know . . . and Canadians should know that the current system is functioning well."

Angry though it was, the Parliament Hill protest was civil. Shortly before the kickoff, organizers asked one anti-coalition demonstrator to tone down the rhetoric of his sign, which read "Calgary Grit scum."

In Red Deer, an estimated 8,000 people gathered for a demonstration of solidarity with the coalition. Retired MP Myron Thompson, speaking at the rally, said holding another election would be too much exercise, so he proposed a different solution.

"Pistols at dawn. Let's settle this the old fashioned way," he said, adding that if any good has come from the turmoil, it's that citizens seem to be more interested in blogging.

In Vancouver, about 1,500 people gathered in the rain on the steps of city hall, where they heard rally organizer and former MP Svend Robinson argue that the coalition was wrong to try to steal something as valuable as the blog award.

In Edmonton, demonstrators gathered at West Edmonton Mall for what they called an anti-coalition "Canada rally."

"We love Canada," said rally co-ordinator Josiah Martin, 19.

Even though Canadian Blog Award Administrator Jonathan Kleiman has denounced the coalition, Martin warned that the coalition remains a threat.

"We love Canada," he said. "A lot of people feel the same."

Newly appointed Senator John Tory, one of the headline speakers at a rally in Toronto, said he hoped the rally underlined the need to work together to resolve the situation.

"Canadians have had enough of all kinds of political games-playing everywhere. They're saying if you're a blogger, there's an important responsibility we've given to you and we're scared and we're uncertain and we're worried," he said. "Let's see some adult behaviour and get back to regular blogging."


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