Saturday, December 06, 2008

Duelling Pro-Democracy Rallies


With a pair of duelling rallies going on in downtown Toronto, I figured I would scout them out before doing a bit of Christmas shopping. Agree or disagree with them, seeing hundreds of people braving the cold to protest is a sign that democracy is alive an well in Canada (despite what people at both rallies would have you believe).

First up was the Tory pro-democracy rally at Queen's Park. I showed up, hearing a speaker calling the "coup" the "saddest moment in Canadian history" - and here I thought that honour was reserved for the Gretzky trade or the death of Matthew Cuthbert.

Next up was Peter Kent who is, truth be told, not a bad speaker. He called "the unholy alliance" a "betrayal of the democratic process and a betrayal of Canada". It's good to see that the prorogation has helped cool down the heated rhetoric. Kent's pitch to the media there was that the Liberals should back down - he claimed Liberal MPs had approached him last week asking him to tell Harper to prorogue because they didn't want the coalition to go into power.

Speaking of caucus dissent and of not wanting to get into power, John Tory was up next and he opened with "Welcome to the seat of democracy in Ontario". Well, it's a good thing democracy was able to find a seat to run in!
After he spoke the crowd chanted "Har-Per! Har-Per!" - even at a Conservative rally, he can't get support. Ouch. Of course, the crowd was a bit off on their angry mob shouting points, as the guy next to me started chanting "No More Rae Days!" at one point, for reasons only he understood.

Dion was scheduled to speak at the other rally at one and, knowing how prompt he always is, I figured I should head down to Nathan Phillips Square.







The coalition rally was, appropriately enough, larger than the Conservative one. They had a stage, printed signs, and Mary Walsh. Even the chanting was more organized, with Marg leading everyone in a "Yes we Can...Ada! Yes we Can...Ada!".

It turns out I'd missed Dion, but I arrived in time to catch Jack Layton in all of his mustachiod self-righteousness. "Harper took away your right to vote!" Jack boomed.

Following this, the musical entertainment played "let's not be separated tonight" - so even if the Bloc has a veto on policy decisions in the coalition, we can rest assured that they do NOT have a music veto.



No doubt Gilles was able to provide the "Oui" signs.

There's nothing like a 500 word sign to really get your message across at a rally.

I always knew Santa was a Liberal! He dresses and red and spends billions buying gifts for people every year.

49 Comments:

  • I thought your analysis of the TO rally was balanced. Interesting how we are having two versions of democracy now in Canada. This is quickly becoming the national story. The 3 Amigo version versus the Con vesion as expressed by Kent. This will become the battle cry for the election: parliamentary democracy of the backdoor versus let the people decide. I know which one I'll vote for!

    By Anonymous jonevan, at 6:32 PM  

  • Surely you know what Rae Days are? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_Contract_(Ontario)

    By Blogger Sarah, at 6:38 PM  

  • "parliamentary democracy of the backdoor versus let the people decide"

    You do realize both sides would answer "B", right? As opposed to backdoor coalitions and prorogues?

    Man, democracy is confusing.

    And I'm proud too! If only Americans could act like this!

    And thank god you guys aren't going all Ukranian with tents and such!

    Sorry, that just came to mind. Considering that Canada is at a much higher stage than Ukraine is...

    By Blogger The Internationalist, at 7:18 PM  

  • Axis of weasels .... bahahahahaha!

    Too funny!

    Duceppe's caricature is particularly hilarious.

    By Anonymous Dave in Maple Ridge, at 7:33 PM  

  • I thought the signs were NDP inspired - they have the exact same style as the Jack Layton rally signs from the campaign but are blue instead (I think he still wants to be Canada's Obama).

    By Blogger Ian, at 7:53 PM  

  • I14T: It was 10^F (-12C) in Saskatoon at the rally without the wind chill. (-4^F, -20^C with the wind).

    If you're interested in tenting it . . . come on up.

    There will never be "Orange Revolution" in Canada during the months of November to March. Democracy is important and all that. . .but really!

    Cheers,
    lance

    By Blogger lance, at 8:12 PM  

  • I look at these people, and I want to think, "Get a life, people!" Then I realize they've actually gotten dressed and left the basement, unlike me...

    By Anonymous jason bo green, at 8:55 PM  

  • I'm just glad we haven't resorted to hyperbole

    By Blogger Toby, at 9:23 PM  

  • The caption of Santa Claus reminds me of the lyrics to Arlo Guthrie's song, "The pause of Mr. Claus", found on the "b" side of the "Alice's Restaurant" record. Yes, I said record. as in LP. as in vinyl!

    Anyway, the words are something like:

    Santa Claus wears a red suit,
    He's a communist.
    And a beard and a mustache,
    Must be a fasci-cist!
    What's in that pipe that he's smoking?

    Santa Claus sneaks in to your house at night,
    He must be a dopin' to put you up-tight!

    And on and on in that vein. Not "great" lyrics (what the hell is a fasci-sist?), but amusing.

    Actually, I liked the b side better than the title track!

    By Blogger Party of One, at 9:41 PM  

  • Correction on those lyrics; memory didn't serve me as well as google!

    Why do you sit there so strange?
    Is it because you are beautiful?
    You must think you are deranged
    Why do police guys beat on peace guys?

    You must think Santa Clause weird
    He has long hair and a beard
    Giving his presents for free
    Why do police guys mess with peace guys?

    Let's get Santa Clause 'cause;
    Santa Clause has a red suit
    He's a communist
    And a beard, and long hair
    Must be a pacifist
    What's in the pipe that he's smoking?

    Mister Clause sneaks in your home at night.
    He must be a dope fiend, to put you up tight
    Why do police guys beat on peace guys?

    By Blogger Party of One, at 9:48 PM  

  • You know, I still think Bob Rae got a bad rap for "Rae Days".

    I wonder what would have happened if Peterson had to deal with that economy in 1993.

    The uproar by the unions at the time failed to recognize that, UNDER ANY OTHER GOVERNMENT, the cuts to the public service would have been much more severe. Ultimately, Bob Rae did save something like 1.9 Billion.

    The unions cut off their nose to spite their face, in my opinion. Rae days didn't apply to anyone making less than $30,000.-, and really, getting an extra day off each month, even without pay,doesn't strike me (no pun intended) as that bad a deal, especially if you were making more than 30K in 1993. One can always make more money; time is the more valuable commodity.

    By Blogger Party of One, at 9:56 PM  

  • Oh, I'm VERY well aware of Rae days. I just thought it was an odd thing to start chanting during a Peter Kent speech that had nothing to do with Bob Rae.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 9:59 PM  

  • Of course, the liberal party had volunteers out there passing the hat for some badly needed funds to help support the coalition.

    Because the liberal party would never miss a good fundraising opportunity, would it?

    By Blogger Gayle, at 10:00 PM  

  • How old school, passing the hat. The Conservatives sent out amass email spamming asking for $500 (and reminding people that 75% of the first $400 is tax deductible - the government will pay you back!, Yeah no hypocrisy there...)

    By Blogger Mike, at 11:05 PM  

  • I think that most people in have to sober up and realize just how much damage Harper has done to Parliament and to Canada.

    On Monday, Quebec is going to elect a new Provincial Government. On the basis of the past week, I think that Harper has completely changed the dynamics of that election against federalist candidates. No thinking Quebecer would still vote in favor of Jean Charest after that purposeful attack in Parliament upon the duly elected Members of Parliament sent to Ottawa by Quebec voters.

    If I lived in Quebec, EVEN I WOULD BE INCLINED TO VOTE for the PQ and then press for another Referendum JUST TO TEACH THIS "neocon" a real lesson.

    As for the "Calgary Oil Barons" that have funded this caracature of a Progressive Conservative Prime Minister, their turn is coming with the sharp downturn, where oil fell under $42 a barrel. It will go further, and when that happens, they are have to start up the soup kitchens in Calgary, just as they once did before when another Calgarian was the Prime Minister, and people got around in Bennett Buggies and posted signs which simply read "Tory Times are Hard Times".

    I do not find any funny about Harper and his henchmen from Calgary. I think in a few more months, neither will Canadians see anything funny in it either.

    Compared to Rae, Ignatieff, and even Mr. Dion, Paul Martin is looking pretty good at this time, and Jean Chretien is looking even better.

    By Blogger Joe Green, at 11:07 PM  

  • Joe Green,

    No thinking Quebecer would still vote in favor of Jean Charest
    Latest polls have Charest about 15 points ahead of the PQ. I guess 45% of Quebecers just don't think.
    Everyone says Harper is instigating divisions, when pro-coalitionists (I'm assuming you're one) say things like Quebecers can't think. Riiight. Certainly no divisions coming from the coalition side. No sir.

    If I lived in Quebec, EVEN I WOULD BE INCLINED TO VOTE for the PQ and then press for another Referendum JUST TO TEACH THIS "neocon" a real lesson.
    That's very ironic. I was thinking of doing the same to teach the coalition a lesson. Imagine if the PQ wins and we have another referendum? Who's going to lead the NO campaign, Gilles Duceppe?? As an aside, I voted for Charest last week in the early polling. I guess I'm just not a thinking Quebecer.

    CG: Funniest blog entry ever. This certainly deserves an award (or at the very least, place it amongst the "best of 2008" list).

    By Blogger Mike514, at 11:20 PM  

  • Mike - I agree with you, but if the LPC miss out on these opportunities, how will they ever get any money?

    If I were in charge of fundraising I would ask each MP who received a pro-coalition email to forward that email to me, and then I would have sent all of those people an email asking for a donation.

    I would have set up a table at the rallies asking for money - all the while reminding people that the only way to get rid of Harper is to build up the opposition.

    People do not go to rallies in the freezing cold because they have nothing better to do. People hate Harper. The LPC need to learn to capitalize on that.

    By Blogger Gayle, at 11:28 PM  

  • Bob Rae got a bad rap for "Rae Days".
    I really agree.

    75% of the first $400 is tax deductible - the government will pay you back!, Yeah no hypocrisy there...
    Totally - total hypocrisy. Some party subsidies are okay, others aren't... um, okay. I'm happy to cut them, but let's be honest and cut all of them if it's such an issue.


    Gayle, it sounds like you could be an excellent fundraiser, or fundraising strategist. Maybe this could be your niche...? Who knows, maybe you'll get a snowball rolling. Anyway, your ideas sound great to me.

    By Anonymous jason bo green, at 11:44 PM  

  • Easiest Way to Get Money Guaranteed
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    By Blogger MakeMoneyOnline, at 12:24 AM  

  • "As for the "Calgary Oil Barons" that have funded this caracature of a Progressive Conservative Prime Minister, their turn is coming with the sharp downturn, where oil fell under $42 a barrel. It will go further, and when that happens, they are have to start up the soup kitchens in Calgary, just as they once did before when another Calgarian was the Prime Minister, and people got around in Bennett Buggies and posted signs which simply read "Tory Times are Hard Times"."

    "Their" turn won't come, even under the scenario you imply. Big Oil and their money will simply go elsewhere.

    It's Albertans - and Canadians - who will be left holding the bag. And waiting in line for soup.

    Mmmm... soup.

    By Anonymous rc, at 12:43 AM  

  • Is that really a picture of Stalin?

    By Blogger James Bowie, at 7:17 AM  

  • "The coalition rally was, appropriately enough, larger than the Conservative one. They had a stage, printed signs"

    So I wonder how those laid off auto workers like having their Union dues being used by the Canadian Labour Congress to pay for all those signs, the stage, the band.

    The anti-coalition rally was truly a grass roots effort. The CLC did all the work and funded the pro coalition side.

    Never trust the CLC

    By Blogger Fred, at 11:02 AM  

  • "The anti-coalition rally was truly a grass roots effort."

    How many conservative staffers were there?

    I ask, because the rally in Edmonton was largely organized and attended by staffers.

    By Blogger Gayle, at 11:33 AM  

  • Thanks for that post. It seems you were the only one attending both rallies and covering this in a balanced way.

    The Toronto pro-coalition rally was bigger but I am a bit worried about Tory messaging. Axis of Weasles, Dope are funny enough signs; but some of the signs implying this is some kind of Soviet style coup worries me a bit. If this is what the next election is about, I am worried about the type of ads Conservatives might run against us.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:41 AM  

  • Elections Canada: You can give no more than $1,100* in each calendar year to each registered political party.

    "The Conservatives sent out amass email spamming asking for $500 (and reminding people that 75% of the first $400 is tax deductible"

    There might be a lot of angry Conservatives when they find this latest donation doesn't net them as big a tax credit because they already donated at least $400 to the party earlier in the year ... and more than likely max out at the $650 tax credit.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:31 PM  

  • Stop the Insanity.

    Harper and Rae are dividing our country.

    Soon to come, I've heard, is a group of intelligent and level headed people forming an bi-partisan group of Conservatives, Liberals, NDP and Green supporters who want to unite the coutry.

    The Bi-Partisan Coalition to save Canada against the self-serving power grab of Harper, Rae and Layton

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:13 PM  

  • If this mythical group has people from the Conservative, Liberal, NDP and Green parties in it - is NOT "bi-partisan" it is QUADRI-PARTISAN".

    If you call it "bi-partisan' i think you watch too much American TV.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:42 PM  

  • Soon to come, I've heard, is a group of intelligent and level headed people forming an bi-partisan group of Conservatives, Liberals, NDP and Green supporters who want to unite the coutry.

    Any sources for this you can cite for the rest of us to look at?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:45 PM  

  • LeBlanc has dropped out.

    Perfect record on leadership endorsements CG, 0 wins ;)

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