So it was inspiring to see close to 800 Albertans – students from MacEwan University, disabled citizens, teachers, public employees, trade unionists, social workers, retired folks, nurses and many others – give up a sunny spring Saturday to shout and sing for an end to dumb government cutbacks that exacerbate the problems they supposedly solve.
These folks marched through the streets of downtown Edmonton from several locations and ended up on the steps of the Legislature. The motorists they inconvenienced were mostly good sports about it, and surprising numbers of them stopped to honk their horns and shout their support.
We can be certain that our Conservative government and the media will dismiss protests like Saturday’s rally as the work of “the usual suspects.” To a degree of course, this is the truth – I’ll happily plead guilty to being a member of that happy band of brothers and sisters.
Yes, going to one of these events can be quite a bit like going to church. Still, I’m seeing an awful lot of new faces at these things nowadays, people who never would have let their shadows fall on an information picket in days of yore. Yesterday’s rally was no exception.
Whether it’s packed community meetings about mental health care, crowded protests against education cutbacks or well-attended rallies to support public services, I can’t shake the feeling that something is really happening here in Alberta.