Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Thinking Outside the Ballot Box: How People Power Can Stop Harper’s Agenda and Create Fundamental Change

By Brigette DePape
Council of Canadians
September 22, 2011

Activist Brigette DePape was a page in the Canadian Senate when she came to the attention of the public on June 3, 2011 by a protest she made during the first throne speech of the majority government of Stephen Harper. 

By silently holding up a sign that said "Stop Harper!" she earned dismissal from her job, the media nickname "the rogue page," and the admiration of Canadians concerned with the undemocratic, ideologically extreme tendencies of the Harper government.

DePape has produced an extensive essay for the Council of Canadians on how we can be more engaged in political life and activism.


My experience discovering the power of direct action has been exhilarating. It has filled me with hope about our collective ability to transform this country for the better.

Many now know me as the page who held up a stop sign against Prime Minister Stephen Harper. But when I first moved to Ottawa to attend university, my aspirations were very different. I had no thoughts about turning Parliament into a site of protest. Instead, I wanted to take a comfortable place at its centre.

When I left my hometown of Winnipeg for Canada's capital, I came in part to join the Parliamentary Page Program. Back then, I saw Parliament as a means of bringing about much-needed social and political change. But living in Ottawa and working on the Hill, I began to understand our parliamentary system very differently. Far from serving to remedy injustice, it often seemed only to perpetuate it.

Read more HERE.

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