The good old protest march – as Canadian as a hockey game!

Top: The front of the line, which stretched back for blocks, heads east on Jasper Avenue early Saturday afternoon. Below: Faces from the rally. Bottom: The crowd on the steps of the Legislature.

It’s always uplifting, and good exercise to boot, to get up off your duff and go out and rally for a good cause.

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.

2 Comments on "The good old protest march – as Canadian as a hockey game!"

  1. Anonymous says:

    None of these protesters has ever voted PC let alone Wild Rose so their impact has virtually no effect.

    Most of us have better things to do on a weekend like spend time with friends and family, volunteer or work a job or vainly try to knock sense into readers of Clim's blog!

    (for a leftoid blog, it's not bad!)

  2. Anonymous says:

    From one Anonymous to another in regards to social protest.

    The whole point of a protest march like the one David reports on is for individuals to come together to do something other than visit friends, family, etc. If my fellow Anonymous would come to events such as these he/she would find that many of these protestors have voted conservative all their lives and are looking to vote WAP. At least they are doing something to show their discontent.

    A social movement has to start somewhere and perhaps David is right when he talks about packed meeting halls and protests such as these as being the vanguard of a newly politicised Alberta. All parties should view these protests with concern as I feel too many Albertan’s feel let down by existing parties and may just be enraged enough to go back to the polls they abandoned years ago and cast a ballot for what they believe will be change. Perhaps we are past the stage where voters once voted for who they thought would be elected in order to have their vote count.

    In any case we can thank Stelmach and his band of incompetents for finally letting it out of the bag that their real constituency is big oil and not the smucks who have faithfully and blindly voted (and funded) PC all these years. Big Eddie is ruining whatever political reserves he may have by implementing a royalty review and then promptly capitulating to oil interests. If he was really interested in serving the public he would have tried to align with the politicos to the east and west to convince them to raise their royalties, but Eddie has never learned to play in any sand box unless money rather than sand is being thrown his way.

    I hope more Albertan’s stop with the same old same old every weekend and take some time to stand up for some real change and find out that there is a place for their voice. So here is an invitation to my fellow Anonymous and all other Anonymous’ out there, come out and do something different the next time there is a march or a rally as you will meet new friends and new ideas.

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