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Hello all,

This is my first-hand experience of attending an anti-parliament rally in Saskatoon on December 6th, organized by Conservative party members (how I hate to call them that after they stole the name from the Progressive Conservatives to cover up their Reform party roots — "Tories" they definitely are NOT!). The rally attracted the most fanatic and aggressive, who are already in a murderous mood. Their signs were vicious and vitriolic, and they targeted mostly Stephane Dion and Ralph Goodale.

In today's coverage of the rally, in Saskatoon Star-Phoenix, one protester was quoted as saying: "'I hope to be witness to the day that marked the eventual destruction of the Liberal party in Canada,' said Conservative supporter Kate McMillan." She happens to be a particularly nasty blogger, http://www.smalldeadanimals.com/, whose blog was happily endorsed by Saskatchewan's (Saskatchewan Party) premier, Brad Wall, until he was publicly embarrassed by a blog entry where McMillan advocated that (aboriginal) drug addicts share needles so they can speed up their deaths (and society can get rid of them, once and for all). See Star Phoenix coverage of the rally at http://www.thestarphoenix.com/Coalition+opponents+backers+joust+rally+Saskatoon/1046922/story.html

A very disturbing comment on CBC Radio's Sunday edition where a "street interview" was played by someone advocating violence against Stephane Dion. I wrote the following to the programme's host, Michael Enright:

"There was one chilling and authentic comment that you played, and should probably play again and again so more Canadians can hear it, namely that 'Stephane Dion should be given a ride out of town on a rail.' ***  You chuckled at that, Michael, which added to the chill, as you allowed it to pass without the necessary condemnation. Shades of political brown shirts, to me, and you appeared to find it humorous, and you further downplayed it with your background music, Elvis Presley's Blue Christmas."

Couple of hours later we had CBC Cross-country checkup where Rex Murphy saw fit to invite five guests to speak against the coalition (Jim Travers from the Toronto Star, Andre Pratt from La Presse, Janice MacKinnon, former NDP finance minister in Saskatchewan —who is worried that the Coalition might move the Liberals to the left! —  John Manley who publicly attacks Stephane Dion and the Coalition, and Roger Gibbins of the Canada West Foundation, with MacKinnon and Gibbins claiming to speak "for the west" — a laughable claim, to say the least.) Not ONE guest to speak for the Coalition, to explain it and advocate for it!

Some balance from the CBC!

Marjaleena Repo
Saskatoon
306-244-9724

*** Wikipedia: Riding the rail was a punishment of Colonial America in which a man was made to straddle a fence rail held on the shoulders of two men, with other men on either side to keep him upright on the rail. The victim was then paraded around town or taken to the city limits and dumped by the roadside. Injuries from the ride could, if the victim were stripped, result in a cut crotch that often made walking painful.  It is akin to being tarred and feathered.


Saskatoon, December 6, 2008

Below is a leaflet I prepared in a hurry this morning for a pro-Harper rally in Saskatoon. About a hundred "Conservatives" there, quite ignorant, aggressive, thuggish, particularly venomous— surprise, surprise! — against Dion. Speeches against "separatists" with people wrapping themselves in huge Canadian flags.

I went there by myself, planning to observe and take photos,  but then last minute decided to make and bring along a leaflet, too, for "by-passers." There were, however, no by-passers to leaflet — a very cold day and few people downtown in the city hall area where people usually demonstrate here in Saskatoon — so I offered it to the crowd. Quite an interesting phenomenon: most would not take it, or even look at it, as if their minds would be taken over by an evil force if they allowed themselves even to glance at it. A mother grabbed it from the hands of her teenage daughter and said: "We don't read this kind of stuff!" — as if I was passing out pornography!

I was immediately accosted by a big man who claimed to have been a soldier and "all his life" having fought separatists. "So you support separatists, eh!", he kept repeating. No chance of dialogue with him, particularly when he was trying to physically block me from taking photos. (I did, of him, and the crowd, and he took a very, very close-up photo of me, more as an act of intimidation, than interest in taking my picture.) A very polite pro-Harper man came over to take him away, and this man took the leaflet and neatly folded it and put in his pocket. Others who took it would crumple it and rip it up, but it did end up in a number of pockets, perhaps of people who thought it was one of theirs. They are going to get a shock of their lives, when they get home and start to read it!

There were Saskatchewan Party politicians in the crowd, and a couple of Conservative MPs, all riling up the crowd about "separatism" and Stephane Dion. A group of young coalition supporters gradually arrived, with their signs and slogans ("ABC" for "Anything But Conservatives" from Danny Williams'  battle against Harper, "62%," and others). They shouted slogans and sang "O Canada" in both languages, lustily. LOTS of O Canada singing there, so perhaps our national anthem will experience a real renaissance, with people actually learning the words! (A friend, a fellow Liberal party member, arrived at one point and got some good photos, I think, including one of the ripping up of my leaflet by some aggressive young men.)

Loud encounters between the more thuggish anti-everything crowd and the coalition supporters, one of pro-Harper man  challenging a  young coalition supporter to "meet him in the ally." He meant business.

The media present for the whole rally (which lasted for an hour or so), so there will be news reports in the Saskatoon Star-Phoenix and the local radio and TV (CBC and CTV). I was interviewed by the Star-Phoenix, so might or might not be quoted. I told the reporter that I was there to support our parliamentary democracy which the demonstrators seemed to know so little about and to support the coalition, and that I was just appalled that a mother had prevented her daughter from taking the leaflet and that so many were scared to take it at all.  (A young man who had accepted it, was told by another demonstrator, "You don't take that!", to which the young fellow replied, "I wasn't going to read it," and then to prove that he can be trusted NOT to become informed, ripped it to pieces! Way to go, for brainwashing the young, too!)

Below is the text of leaflet, 100 of which I and my friend gave out,  20 or so to the coalition  supporters, 80 or so to the demonstrators, a dozen or so which I found crumpled or ripped afterwards. I would LOVE to know how many were actually read by those who know so little about how our parliamentary system functions.  We have here, of course, a phenomenon of the willfully ignorant, encouraged in their ignorance by no lesser person than the prime minister of the country! I had a strong sense, particularly from the young men and women, that here we had Brown Shirts in the making.

Marjaleena Repo
Coalition supporter
Saskatoon, SK
306-244-9724


A FEW THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE GOVERNING OF CANADA (BEFORE YOU WRAP YOURSELF IN THE FLAG!)

Canada is a parliamentary democracy and a monarchy. (We are NOT a republic!)

We don't elect a prime minister — he or she is only elected in his or her home riding.

The party that receives the most seats becomes the government and its leader becomes the prime minister.

The government rules as long as it has the confidence of the parliament. If it is a majority, it is safe, but if a minority, it is dependent on the support from the opposition parties. If it loses a non-confidence vote, it ceases to be a government and a new election is called, or other parties in the house might be able to form a government, with the approval of the Governor general.

A coalition government is formed AFTER an election — no one runs in an election as a coalition government, unless parties have formed an electoral coalition for that purpose. Both are legitimate ways of proceeding in our system.

A non-confidence vote is NOT "undemocratic" as Mr. Stephen Harper claims — it might be unpleasant, but is the essence of our parliamentary system.

It is irresponsible and unacceptable for Mr. Harper to claim that a looming non-confidence vote is a coup d'etat! With this propaganda he is subverting our democratic system by misleading Canadians citizens.

FACT: In our latest election, Mr. Harper's party only received 36% of the vote, as opposed to 62% for the three other parties in the House. The majority has rights, too!

FACT: The coalition has two partners, the Liberals and the New Democrats, and the Bloc Quebecois has agreed to NOT to vote against it in a non-confidence vote for 18 months, thereby guaranteeing stability for the Coalition government. To claim that the Bloc Quebecois has "veto powers" is to perpetuate a deliberate lie!

For more on how our country is governed, PLEASE read Eugene Forsey's  How Canadians Govern Themselves. (All too many Canadians, of all ages, including the prime minister and his members of parliament, seem not have much of a clue!) To read this book on-line go here and to order your own free copy contact Information Service,Parliament of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0A9. info@parl.gc.ca Toll-free (Canada): 1 (866) 599-4999.

(For more information, contact Marjaleena Repo, 201 Elm Street, Saskatoon, SK, S7J 0G8,  306-244-9724  mrepo@sasktel.net)


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