Stephen Rees's blog

Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

Archive for November 21st, 2007

Protesting

with 2 comments

Kill Bill 43 was a brave idea. In the shivering cold of the late afternoon about 100 people were milling around outside Canada Place. The atmosphere changed as the musak was replaced by chants. Suddenly a common sense of purpose was apparent. I had been going around trying to get people to take a flyer (somehow a great bunch of them had been thrust into my hands with no information on what I was expected to do with them), and I quickly learned that these people did not need to be told why we were there. I did get a chance to talk to some media – including Sing Tao one of the Chinese daily papers. And a very intelligent interviewer with a strong French accent whom I assumed must have been from Radio Canada, but turned out to be just an interested observer.

Carmen Mills deserves the credit for getting this thing organised. She is tiny (this is the first time I have met her in person) but a fireball of energy! This is a woman who Makes Things Happen! Good speeches from Maurine Karagianis – who spoke about how the Bill keeps being put off by the introduction of new bills, and there are only 5 days left in the session – Joe Foy of the Wilderness Committee who spoke without any notes but hit just the right note of outrage, Betty Krawczyk who as always is an object lesson in the power of civil disobedience – and its legitimacy – and then Heather Deal who I have not heard before but showed a remarkable gift for being able to puncture pretensions with humour. It was a real pity that Kevin wasn’t there to hear her – he would have hung his head in shame if he were capable of such a thing as feeling shame.

By the time I started speaking I estimate the crowd had grown to around 300, though I have no idea how they got there. I did pick up a couple more speaking gigs – I will be on CITR 101.9fm tomorrow between 1700 and 1800, and at some unspecified date for the Wilderness Committee, which I am looking forward to. I have always thought that the wilderness will do fine as long as people like me are kept out of it, but I am willing to be proved wrong.

I was pleased to meet a number of people who told me that they read this blog. Always nice to know there are real people who read this stuff – and what a delightful bunch you have proved to be. Afterwards I was dragged off to “green drinks”, a sort of social event for environmentalists – except very few proved to be activists and not the same crowd who came to the rally. One woman actually admitted that she did not know who Kevin Falcon is! There seems to be a bit of a significant gap between those who want to protect the environment and those who see protecting the environment as a business opportunity. (That, dear readers, is intended to be provocative).

We did not make the 6 o’clock CBC news (there was a significant media presence – about half a dozen professional looking cameras), but from their webcast I learned that with the wind chill it was down to 4C. It felt a lot colder to me – but the warmth of my reception made up for it. Thank you to those who came. Thanks also to those who will spread the word.

Written by Stephen Rees

November 21, 2007 at 11:09 pm