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2010-01-23 at 16:32

Protesting prorogation

By Jeff Labine, tbnewswatch.com
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Protesters at a weekend rally say they want perogies, not prorogation.

The Facebook-born Canadians Against Proroguing Parliament held rallies across the country, including one in Thunder Bay that started at the Labour Centre parking lot Saturday afternoon. The rallies protested the prime minister’s decision to close Parliament through prorogation until March.

More than a hundred people showed up to protest at the Thunder Bay rally. Some carried signs accusing Harper of being a dictator while others called for MPs to get back to work.

Don Radley, 78, came out to protest with his wife Kae, 77. The couple says they are concerned how Harper is running the country. They call him arrogant and accuse him of turning democracy inside out.

"It’s just the last straw," Radley said. "He’s like a 10-year-old boy who pushes and pushes and never misses a chance to stick his elbow in someone else’s ribs."

Emil Potvin carried a large poster he made with his wife, Ann. He said he wanted a big sign to ensure his point got across, and fought the winds that threatened to take it from him.

Potvin’s family traditionally votes Liberal, but Potvin said he is open to other parties’ platforms.

"Harper looked really good," Potvin said. "The SOB turned around on us. It’s sad. He thinks we don’t have a brain."

Local musician Rodney Brown led protesters in a song he wrote just half-an-hour before arriving at the rally. Brown started the chorus alone, but many began singing along with him eventually.

Joyce Hunter, public relations for Canadians Against Proroguing Parliament Thunder Bay Chapter, said she was pleased by the turnout and that it was more than she expected.

Hunter said more than 70 communities across the country were holding rallies similar to the one in Thunder Bay. The rallies will send a message to the government to get back to work, she said.

"There are 37 bills that will be trashed because of prorogation," Hunter said. "We know there are private members’ bills and they will continue. But the bills before Parliament affect Canadians on a day-to-day basis."

Harper has twice used prorogation to suspend Parliament. He first used it after the 2008 federal election, when the potential formation of a coalition government threatened his government. He again used prorogation on Dec. 30.

Hunter said she believes Harper used prorogation this time as a means to silence the committees that were investigating several issues before Parliament. One such issue included the treatment of Afghan detainees.

"We want debate and we want healthy discussion," she said.

MP Bruce Hyer (NDP, Thunder Bay – Superior North) spoke at the rally saying he is still working despite prorogation. He called Canada’s Parliament one of the weakest in the world.

Hyer said the last year has been a waste, as only private members’ bills will remain unscathed from the suspension. He was relieved that his climate change bill would survive into the New Year.

"I’m really, really, really concerned about democracy in Canada," Hyer said. "Harper said it was a priority to recalibrate Parliament and then look at the silly, fluffy cabinet shuffle."

Hyer said Harper is a realist and pragmatist and if he feels enough heat from the protests, he might reverse his decision.

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Comments

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realist says:
I attended the rally and one thing that stuck out in my mind was the lack of people in their 30's and 40's. There were a number of people in their early to mid-20's, with the majority of the crowd being in their 50's, 60's and 70's.

It really concerns me that a whole generation appears to not care about the future of this country. What happened to all the "Gen-X'ers?"

A big thumbs up to both Joyce, Javier and all the others organizers who put this rally together in Thunder Bay.

To all of those who attended, our voices will be heard!
1/23/2010 4:44:53 PM
portland39 says:
Why don't these people focus their energy on something positive for the community like rallying their MP's (both NDP now and Liberal before) to bring jobs to the region.
It would be the eighty year olds complaining too.
1/23/2010 6:25:03 PM
thebard says:
Realist don't be too upset about the turn-out. CBC gave the protest non stop promotion for a week, and today, the crowd in Ottawa was 3,000. (Toronto Star)

Not impressive when you consider that this was a Liberal/NDP rally combined.
1/23/2010 6:32:19 PM
tbaycat says:
It was a pleasure to see so many of our youth out fighting for our democracy. Too bad so many of our "Gen-X'ers" are too busy being self absorbed to care about anybody else but themselves.

To Rodney Brown .....Once more you've proven that "You’re The Man!"


1/23/2010 7:05:49 PM
laidoffmillguy says:
realist....I get what your saying, but you have to realize the people 30 to 40 are very busy. We are the ones with young families and work many hours. I lost my job and now go back to school and work part time with 3 kids. In this economy we were hurt the worst and have no time to attend a rally. We are not ignorent, only hard working and lots of us got laid off looking for work. If you were a true realist you would understand it.
1/23/2010 8:21:16 PM
laidoffmillguy says:
realist...don't think that the Gen X's don't care, fact is we do. We now are the ones the drive our economy yet we get little prosperity and time out of it.
1/23/2010 8:29:54 PM
Noodles2 says:
100 people out of a population of over 100 Thousand all converted, the vast majority of which where Socialists and Liberal supporters being preached to by Party officials of a Party who had in the fall of 2008 days after the federal election had conspired with the Quebec separatists to form a coalition to overthrow the recently elected government. The sweetheart deal would have given the Separatists a veto power over any Coalition legislation because of their total number of seats.Mr Parizeau former PQ Leader and godfather of the Quebec separatist movement was thrilled with this arrangement. 6 socialist cabinet members including Mr Layton and the Liberals would have their leader chosen as leader of this coalition(Mr Dion) Mr Dion's tender as leader of the Liberals was short lived. His Successor was signed on to by Mr Layton, a leader we might add that had been in favor of the Iraq war and favored torturing detainees, and assassinating Terrorist Leaders.and was not in favour of gay marriages, Is it any wonder the Socialist leader to his caucus said and I quote "Having separatists in Quebec was good for Canada" to a standing ovation including our two federal MP's, and apparently quite acceptable to signing on to a leader of the coalition with all those socialist values particularly if we get 6 Cabinet members through the back door of democracy we could get through the front weeks earlier. Now that's what I call a abuse of our Parliamentary system and democracy and that was worth calling a rally for,
1/23/2010 10:24:39 PM
Noodles2 says:
Correction- Note my comment should have read Trying to do something through the back door of our democracy they COULD NOT DO through the front door.weeks earlier in a general election, As a footnote Mr Ignatieff got cold feet some weeks later and the coalition collapsed shrouded in dust.Leaving Mr Duceppe and Layton pondering what might have been.
1/24/2010 12:01:56 AM
realist says:
@ laidoffmillguy

I'm 40 and I've been laid off in the past. I worked hard and clawed my way back and so will you.

However, to say you didn't have 2 hours to spare in the name of Democracy leaves me shaking my head.
1/24/2010 12:08:25 AM
realist says:
@ Noodles2

We get it, you're a card carrying member of the Conservative party. It is your belief that shutting parliament and stopping democracy is the right thing to do.

It was mentioned many times by both the organizers and the speakers that we as Canadians need to stand up and demand that our elective representatives do the job we are paying them to do.

There was no politicking at this event, it was a group of concerned individuals getting together and speaking out against the Conservatives for locking us the citizens of this country out of parliament.

I also want to let you know the Conservatives where invited to come and speak and share their reasons for proroguing and they either declined the invitation or didn't respond to the invitation.

It has become quiet obvious to the majority of Canadians that Steve Harper is George Bush without the support. He will do and say as he pleases, regardless of the wishes of the majority of the country.
1/24/2010 12:19:16 AM
FernandoMartinez says:
I don't get all this talk of "stopping democracy". Did I misread this news article? It seems to be about people exercising their right to protest. Perhaps I missed the part where Harper jumps into his Hitler uniform and starts broadcasting the anthem of Nazi Germany over state-run CBC. Does TBNewsWatch care to expand upon that detail?

Harper had to prorogue in 2008 because crybaby Liberals couldn't stand losing again. If anyone has impeded on Lady Democracy, it has been the Liberals and NDP using obstructionist tactics to limit the efficacy of this government.
1/24/2010 4:16:53 AM
richie says:
the only people who attend these rallies are individuals who are spoon fed propaganda by the media, liberals and ndp . these people need to realize the best option out there is the conservative party!! start making decisions on your own!! not the nonsense that comes out of the mouths of the liberals and the ndps. harper is on the right track and in 619 days (oct. 6, 2011) ontario will be on the right track as it turns blue once again. hopefully the people in thunder bay smarten up and vote in the conservatives.all the liberals and ndp are good at and thrive at is racking up massive debt!!
1/24/2010 8:39:34 AM
realist says:
Looks like the Conservatives have mobilized their own social networking force. Touche!
1/24/2010 11:02:45 AM
AJ147 says:
Where were these protesters when Chretien did the same???
1/24/2010 11:30:24 AM
The Beaver.... says:
AJ147.... yes 3 times
1/24/2010 12:21:02 PM
The Beaver.... says:
richie....you are so right ...Labour Center does not
bode well for people with a political mind of their own
1/24/2010 12:25:26 PM
realist says:
No one is denying what happened in the past. The difference being this time there was still business before parliament.

In the past when prorogation has occurred parliament finished the business before them, then moved the motion. Harper moved the motion effectively killing the 37 bills before parliament.

I for one, want prorogation removed all together. There is absolutely no need for this piece of legislation to be on the books.
1/24/2010 12:28:37 PM
thebard says:
Go watch football Realist you are having a bad week. Pie said nothing in his post that could be deemed racist.
1/24/2010 4:43:42 PM
The Beaver.... says:
Thanks God there is football....and prorogation not bad either..we go on from here ..no conniving coalition just plain old good government.
1/24/2010 5:56:30 PM
realist says:
Dance around the subject all you want. You and I both know exactly who you were referring to.

You are a coward.
1/24/2010 6:04:58 PM
TBayFlash says:

I made my own decision to rally against prorogation. This was not spoon-fed to me by a particular party or the media. I pay attention to politics through a number of media forums with a careful eye.
My Great-Great Grandmother worked for C. D. Howe who was our local MP and cabinet minister. He hated parliament, calling it along the lines "children's play." He understood that this was the forum to get work done. Look what he accomplished; seaway, Trans-Canada highway, Air Canada, bolstered private investment in forestry, manufacturing, and mining. He elevated Canada into an industrialized nation. "Canada can make anything" he said. Companies like INCO, Abitibi etc. in our region were his projects that received support; not all monetary but a stable government that spawned partnerships to make them competitive.
Now we need that same kind of leadership and "bulldozer" power to lead our next economic wave. C. D. Howe's batteries, respectfully, are dead. Somebody needs to pop in the new economic ones.
So, I hope motions will be made to bring back all of the bills in the house so that the work can get done. There are bills put forward for regional development, job creation, and trade. But you need the support.
As a younger person, I am working hard putting my energy to help my region. I have neighbors who lost their jobs, most of my friends are gone, and I help my elders who cannot do everything by themselves. Don’t say those who rally waste their time and not put their energy elsewhere. Were you at a rally? It’s like this, if you don’t vote, don’t complain. If you say you don’t vote because you disapprove, spoil your ballot to officially say so.
Canadians who work, raise their families, and pursue interests in life do not need governments at all levels stabbing them in the back. We should not have to worry about every move government makes that could breach our livelihoods as a nation, province, communities, and our own personal lives. Our image as a country effects our nation’s confidence in markets, investment, leadership, and social development.
In closing, Canadians had a democratic right to rally, fighting to ensure that our country stays on track. I am proud I was there to share my voice.
1/24/2010 7:06:55 PM
The Beaver.... says:
ohhh you are so right TBay...and Harper is the man to do that for us.
1/24/2010 7:48:54 PM
tbaycat says:
Well said TBayFlash. Ignore the beaver, pieislandrefugee, richie and those others. They all must ride the short bus to work if they think Harper is our Lord and saviour. Myself, I don’t want to be sold down the river again by those Mulroney lovers who kept on telling us to “trust them”, everything was going to be alright, right before they shafted us and sold our country out to the Americans.
1/24/2010 11:07:56 PM
thebard says:
tbaycat. The Liberals have moved all the way to 31% in the national poll. NDP 17%. Doesn't look like anyone wants an election does it ?

Relax, enjoy the Winter Games, and get ready to discuss real issues in 5 weeks, at which time the Government will try to bring down the deficit without increasing taxes.
1/24/2010 11:45:42 PM
tbaycat says:
thebard ..... the last thing I want to see is an election. What I want is a government that works the way it is supposed to. I am actually a proponent of minority governments. Any time a party, ANY PARTY, gets a majority government, that government suddenly starts acting like a dictatorship. Democracy flies out the window. The wishes of the majority are discounted and ignored. And please, no one jump in and say a majority government means the majority wanted that government. With our first past the post system, the term “majority” becomes a joke.

When Mulroney was elected on his “free trade” platform, he won with a majority government. In actual fact, if you combined all the votes against him, the MAJORITY of the voters were actually AGAINST him. Well, we all now see the results of what a majority government can do when they no longer have to work with the other parties. Sure it takes longer to get things done because the government has to work slower because it needs the approval of all the other parties. But at least when all is said and done, whatever policies or laws or whatever are finally enacted, they are a true representation of what the majority of Canadians really want. And THAT my friends is what a true democratic government does. It looks out for ALL of us. No matter how long it takes.

1/25/2010 10:59:33 AM
TundraBay says:
Unfortunately people didn't take to the streets for the upcoming HST.
1/25/2010 12:37:49 PM
DirtBag says:
I guess if anybody could give themselves 3 months off with pay they would. Unfortunately the rest of us have to go to work everyday in order to pay the salaries for these politicians to take time off for the olympics and I bet if you checked we also get to pay for their hotels meals and family expenses at the olympics,,,now "isnt that special". Canada is a great country but serious problems exist in the parliamentary rules. We need to get rid of the queen(read your constitution people), elect senators and judges and remove kim jung harper from office immediately.
1/25/2010 2:00:15 PM
mcse1999 says:
AJ147 says:
Where were these protesters when Chretien did the same???

Big difference there AJ147 - Chretien prorogued parliment only after it passed a free vote in the house. Harper the weasel took it upon himself to run away from the heat with absolutely no regard for democracy. I initially thought that perhaps Mr Harper might make a good PM, but now that he has shown his true colours I believe his days as PM are numbered.
1/25/2010 6:43:59 PM
princessdonna says:
Was it OK when the Liberals prorogued 4 times under Chretien?
1/25/2010 9:48:20 PM
silent rebel says:
Realist, what do you do for a living? What age demographic to do you fall into? Your comments are pushing away people who would consider coming out to these rallies but are glad that they didn't come associate themselves with ignorant self-righteous folk like yourself. There are better and more productive ways of making your voice heard. What's your next plan of action? A pie in some politicians face? You seem like the type.

Anyway, all those bills will make their way before parliament again soon enough, that's what politicians are pd to do... nothing has been lost....and i don't blame Harper. His job isn't to come babysit politicians who call each other names, scream at each other and in other words stomp their feet like children. Maybe this down time will give people to calm down, collect their thoughts and come back to the table with real idea's and issues rather than spend their time trying to throw one and other out of office or try to point fingers at other people while ignoring the fact that still, nobody who is guilty has really paid for the sponsorship scandal....the money still has not been repaid, billions of dollars have been wasted on ehealth, and now a nother $7 billion is going to be wasted on some Liberal decision to invest in a "green Project" with Samsung in South Korea?! WTF! And not to mention the HST put forth by the liberals.....Now there is something to protest against.
1/26/2010 1:22:50 AM
TWM says:
Prime Minister Harper was in China and brought up the human rights issue yet, when he and his party faced questions regarding the same issues, he decides to prorogue parliment.. in a recession no less, to... strategize?.
A report mentioned on CBS.com stated by years end there could be 500,000 canadians who will exhaust their EI benifits, I'm sure most of you have seen it already.. not a great time to prorogue responsibilties. I agree with changes to the rules of prorogation and I'm not entirely in line with the liberal way of thinking on this but perhaps when parliment resumes, public bills and motions before prorogation should also resume, not just private members bills.
" kim jung harper "... lol, I had to laugh.
1/26/2010 7:02:55 AM
realist says:
Realist, what do you do for a living?

I work hard, something I also expect the people whom we elect to do as well.

What age demographic to do you fall into?

Had you bothered to read my posts, you would know I’m a “Gen X’er.”

Your comments are pushing away people who would consider coming out to these rallies but are glad that they didn't come associate themselves with ignorant self-righteous folk like yourself.

I’m self righteous?! Why, because I dare to voice my opposition to shutting down of parliament and scuttling of democracy? Do you realize I also voiced my opinion over the Liberal’s handling of the ad scandal by not voting for that party?

There are better and more productive ways of making your voice heard.

Public protest is one of the more immediate plans of action when it comes to getting ones voice heard. Social media is another.

What's your next plan of action? A pie in some politicians face? You seem like the type.

Your assumption, borders on slander. You don’t know me and we’ve probably never met, but I can assure you my protesting in done in a peaceful and respectful manner.

Anyway, all those bills will make their way before parliament again soon enough, that's what politicians are pd to do... nothing has been lost....

I guess this is true if you believe in paying to do the same job 2x. Economists both pro and against even agree this is costing the nation almost $50-million. I’m thinking that’s not money well spent.

and i don't blame Harper.

Then whose decision was it to take an Olympic break? Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t it Mr. Harper who picked up the phone and called the governor general? I don’t remember anyone in opposition standing up in parliament and asking for an extended paid vacation.

His job isn't to come babysit politicians who call each other names, scream at each other and in other words stomp their feet like children.

Then what exactly is the leader of the nation’s responsibility?

Maybe this down time will give people to calm down, collect their thoughts and come back to the table with real idea's and issues rather than spend their time trying to throw one and other out of office or try to point fingers at other people while ignoring the fact that still, nobody who is guilty has really paid for the sponsorship scandal....the money still has not been repaid, billions of dollars have been wasted on ehealth, and now a nother $7 billion is going to be wasted on some Liberal decision to invest in a "green Project" with Samsung in South Korea?! WTF! And not to mention the HST put forth by the liberals.....Now there is something to protest against.

Actually, the HST is a Conservative initiative put into play by governments in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

If the federal Conservatives are so concerned about the HST why did they pass federal legislation authorizing a $4-billion dollar transfer to the province of Ontario to bring in the HST. All the conservatives had to do was vote down their own party’s legislation. I also blame the federal Liberals on this bill passing as well since they voted in favor of it.
1/27/2010 2:33:02 PM
DirtBag says:
I think the point here is that the PM can shutdown the govt at will and is abusing this power now. The ridiculous rules that would allow this banana republic technique of shutting down opposition need to be changed. The idea that the PM must ask the queen thru the gov general is really offensive and made me read the constitution, I was shocked. Everyone needs to read the rules. If you think the Queen is a figure head then ask yourself why Harper asks her for approval to shutdown your govt. Read the rules and see what you think.
1/27/2010 9:06:53 PM
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