london ontario greets stephen harper


This from David Heap, of the London War Resister Support Group:
With only two days notice, dozens of Londoners took to the streets in front of the Convention Centre where the Harper campaign had stopped to meet with their party faithful. Our chants included:

End the Harpocracy, listen to democracy, let the Hinzman family stay, NOW!


Listen to the nation, stop the deportations!

Joined by some autoworkers with the local Labour Council (calling for more support for manufacturing jobs -- Harper out, jobs in! Harper out, resisters in!), we occupied four lanes of York Street for over an hour and held up the campaign buses (the valiant Commander Steve reportedly snuck out the back way). Kudos to London's police who facilitated the whole event by blocking traffic and keeping the whole thing safe.

Lots of fun, a great spirit and a great crowd. Some links to photos (and maybe video) to follow.

And this terrific story in the London Free Press:
PM's London debut marred by protests

As Prime Minister Stephen Harper made his London campaign debut, special interest groups beat drums of protest outside the city’s convention centre.

"We are here to make sure Stephen Harper recognizes his position around the status quo is unacceptable," said CAW official Tim Carrie, speaking over chants of "Hell no, Harper's gotta go," coming from members of the London War Resisters Support Campaign.

"We cannot continue to lose manufacturing jobs at this rate. . . there are thousand of people who do not support his vision of Canada," said Carrie, who was among dozens of NDP supporters including members of the CAW and the Labour Council hoping to get their message out to Harper.

The protest was small but mighty, with about 60 people causing police to redirect traffic on London’s York Street.

Harper evaded the group on his way into the convention centre.

"We are mobilizing the labour movement to get the Harper government out," said Patti Dalton, president of the London and District Labour Council.

Representatives from the Council of Canadians were also outside the convention centre, but the most outspoken group appeared to be the anti-war protesters.

Amid the drumming and dancing and banners demanding the government "stop the deportation" of U.S. war resisters, one demonstrator clad in a U.S. flag and President George Bush mask pulled the gigantic puppet strings of another demonstrator wearing a Canadian flag and a Stephen Harper mask.

"We are here because of the path Harper is on," said Anthony Verberckmoes, with the London War Resisters Support Campaign. "I don't want to be a part of that."


Thanks to Jeff Blake for these terrific photos.

Is Harper coming to your town soon?


David Heap said...

If these courageous people can risk so much for peace the least we can do is make a phone call - or yell at a Tory - to support them.

So I yelled myself nearly hoarse at the London protest against Harper (and I need my voice to teach today...), but note that I am trying to avoid calling that party "Tories" anymore (which is a drag, because the word is handy for chants -- both scans and rhymes better than "Conservatives").

We used to have real Tories in Canada, and for most of the last century they were called the Progressive Conservative Party. The name sounded oxymoronic but it actually described part of that tradition fairly accurately.

When they merged with the farther right Reform Alliance, they briefly called themselves the Conservative Reform Alliance Party (the wonderful acronym potential only lasted a day or so) and then became the Conservative Party, dropping the "Progressive" along with part of their traditional support base (including e.g. the now leader of Canada's Green party).

Harper's wannabe Republicans-of-the-north have nothing to do now with our Tories of old -- it is very weird, but it makes me almost nostalgic (for Joe Clarke say, or even Bill Davis: dignified conservatives who were decent people even if you disagreed with them).

If proof is needed of this change, consider that fact that, as part of our British political heritage, we used to be able to distinguish a certain type called "Red Tories" -- but there is just no such thing as a "Red Conservative" now on our federal scene (Harper keeps them too tightly controlled), any more than it would make sense to talk about "Red Republicans" stateside (using our Canadian colour reference scheme that is, not the red/blue state division).

L-girl said...

I am trying to avoid calling that party "Tories" anymore

I say similar things about the word "conservative". When people say the Bush US is too conservative, I point out that they're anything but - they are radicals. They're not conserving anything.

However, Tory still works for me. Sorry!

Cornelia said...

My personal favorites for the damn bunch are either authoritarian conservatives (as suggested by a friend who emailed me an article on them or rather by the author of the said article) or reactionary and backward.
Anyway, wow, that protest went great, including the press coverage, and the slogans were just cool!!!

Jen said...

Considering my town is Ottawa, I hope he's not coming back here anytime soon!