Remember Brigette DePape? She was the University of Ottawa graduate and Senate page who walked into the chamber during Governor-General David Johnston’s reading of the speech from the throne on Friday, June 3, 2011, in uniform, and holding a handmade red stop sign with the message “Stop Harper!”. She stood in the middle of the Senate chamber holding the sign in front of her for a few seconds before the sergeant-at-arms escorted her out of the room.
A few days later on June 9, the Toronto Star published an op-ed piece she wrote explaining her action. “As a page, I witnessed one irresponsible bill after another pass through the Senate.” And, this was in 2011! She started a fund to support peaceful direct action and civil disobedience against the Harper agenda. Brigette’s site, http://www.stopharperfund.ca will still take a reader to a plethora of anti-Harper results.
Turnoverarocktoday wrote to her family in Winnipeg a few days later on June 10 to congratulate her parents for their daughter’s idealism and courage.
So, what has changed?
Stephen Harper and his party’s blatant disregard for the best interests of every citizen in favour of policies marked by partisan politics, founded on medieval sensibilities appealing to sophists, a servile minority, and the mean-spirited is supported by a marginally and unfortunately justifiable belief that enough voters can be persuaded that the emperor really is resplendent in new robes to tip the electoral scale in a preference for the status quo.
For all of us whose heads are not stuck in the sand, or lodged in a dark crevice at the rear of our body, it’s important to appreciate that a public servant is not above severe criticism, no matter how lofty the position. Canada may be ripe for both an Arab Spring and an Edward Snowden, but we have neither the equatorial climate conducive to the former, nor the world standing to attract the latter.
Let us therefore throw those little jabs which become increasingly uncomfortable with repetition, bruise before long, and wound in the end. Begin today!