Saturday, 14 March 2015

We stood up and were counted.

To my great shame I had been paying less attention to the political scene than I should have. I signed the usual online petitions, for whatever good that does, but I had missed the announcement that there was a nationwide day of protest against Bill C51. For non Canadians, Bill C51 gives sweeping powers to a secret police, has no oversight, and widens the definition of terrorism to include just about anyone protesting anything.

I heard about it the day before. I had missed opportunities to join other Nakuspers to a rally in any of the larger centers, all at least 2 hours from here.  It wasn't till late at night that I thought: Why not make something happen right here in the village? 

So I put the idea on the Nakusp Communicator list on Facebook, truly one of the best uses for the internet. It was picked up in the morning by my neighbour Mary. Mary's partner Walter had had the same idea and called me on that old fashioned medium, the land line. We agreed the cenotaph at the edge of downtown would be the perfect meeting place. 
Walter set out to make some dynamite signs, I tried to round up a few people. Picture above and the one following by Mary's cell phone.

I picked the cenotaph as a meeting place because it is central, but also because I could think of no better way to honour people who had died to defend freedom than to gather in its defense. It never occurred to me that the legion might disagree, but it turned out
some of its members see "politics" or "protest" as disrespectful of the sacred place.

When we got there two members were patrolling the place to make sure no active democracy took place. I walked over to talk to the guys and make clear that the choice of venue had not been meant in a spirit of disrespect, on the contrary. 
I had grabbed a blooming geranium from the window sill as a peace offering. We shook hands and the vets agreed to redirect anyone to where we were. It was not a big deal, we could just as easily gather at the gazebo, easily visible from the monument. 
Thanks to Facebook the press showed up, took pictures and will cover our gathering in the local rag. Below. Trisha Shanks, intrepid reporter for the Arrow Lakes News, is also a dog breeder. She multitasked by taking some of her pooches along for the outing.
The following pictures are all by Trisha, published here with permission. 
The most popular member of the cast! Below in company.
Below, our motley crew before setting out.
We were not exactly a crowd, more a handful. Several of the people I messaged were already on the way to a rally in a larger town, and it was all impossibly short notice. The weather had turned miserable, cold and drizzly. 
After the group pictures were taken we walked up and down our mainstreet once and called it a day. 
Some of us, including Trisha, gathered at Gabi's FairyTale cafe afterwards for coffee and talk. We argued about niqabs, face veils. We all agreed that this topic is a distraction cleverly used to distract and divide people. Walter sent me a surprising post by the woman who wants to change the rules and take the oath while hiding her face. I added it to the blog I wrote on the topic, which can be found here:
Trisha educated us on the power of Twitter.

And that was it. Not much, but I feel good Nakusp did its bit to stand up and be counted. And now, to add our efforts to the national count.


  1. Reject fear and paranoia as a political weapon. Yes....

  2. Good for you and fellow Nakuspians, Ien. We Canadians can be too polite and gutless, quite frankly, all too well-schooled in the dreary saying: If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all. Well, we are a bunch of sleepwalking sheep being led to a police state by the stone-eyed Harper and I am so proud of so many Canadians standing up all across the country to be counted!

  3. OMG, Carolyn Woodward read my blog! I am deeply honoured.


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