On 2015 March 14, Edmonton joined with many others communities across Canada to voice their opposition to the Federal Government’s proposed Bill C-51. By my estimates a few hundred people gathered at Canada Place to hear speeches, hoist placards and chant. Here is what it looked like:
It was very pleasing to see the speakers representing diverse segments of our society, politically and culturally. Unfortunately the sound system did not make it easy to hear what was being said.
I was a disappointed that some of the speakers chose to take the opportunity to push their own agenda such as:
- taking shots at the Liberal Party
- making comments that some would consider borderline anti-Semitic
Campaigning for the next election and debating foreign policy would have best been left for another day.
After the speeches, the protestors took off on a short march through the streets of downtown Edmonton.
There was no doubt that much of the blame for Bill C-51 was focused directly at the Prime Minister.
Most of the protesters seemed passionate and honest in their belief in free speech, open protest and standing up for what you believe – there were however a handful of people who attended the protest anonymously – masked. I do not believe that they helped the cause.
By the time of the march, the crowd had maybe reached 500 – not bad but given the seriousness of the issue I had really expected tens of thousands of people to be out in Edmonton. I was further dismayed that the Crashed Ice event (downhill racing on skates on an icy track built beside the convention centre), would attract something like TWO HUNDRED TIMES more people, a few hours later!
And to end on a lighter note…
Near the end of the speeches, an unannounced special guest, a true Canadian icon, dropped in on the event to express an opinion. Although he spoke loudly and with passion, that hinted at his stand, I’m afraid no one understood a thing that he said.