Dundas Town Hall Meeting discussing Bill C-38
Having been alerted to this Town Hall Meeting on extremely short notice, it was quite surprising to find between 50 and 75, mostly local people, in attendance with standing room only to be had.
From what panelists and participants in the Q & A period after introduction were saying, Bill C-38 (Budget Bill) is an attempt by the Harper Administration to ram through all sorts of sweeping changes, in the guise of amendments to already existing legislation, and calling it a "Budget Bill". Ostensibly designed to liberate us, the little people, from the few rights and freedoms we still have left in this nation, Bill C-38 is purportedly one more piece of legislation that is rapidly turning Canada into a full blown police state.
In attendance was a panel group comprised of Peter Ormond (electoralalliance.ca) Kathie Clark (Council of Canadians - Moderator), Ray Rivers (Liberals), Bill Thompson (NDP).
The crowd was largely comprised of baby boomers, senior citizens, and social activists of an "anybody but Conservative" hue.
Kathie Clark (Council of Canadians) The moderator of the event, did a great job of keeping things lively and focused, but could have done a better job in asking individual speakers with quiet voices, to speak up so the entire body in the hall could hear the concerns being voiced.
Nevertheless, without getting into who said what, the general consensus of those who seemed to have taken the time to read this massive 400 page Bill, is that it is one of the most insidious Bills that has ever been introduced into the House and that backlash against it is growing across the nation.
Specific warnings were voiced on attacks to pensions and senior citizens, sweeping privatizations of public assets, disregard for environmental concerns, and the gutting of Canada's Employment Insurance Plan.
Parallels between Harper and Hitler were voiced, that Harper was/is ignoring the will of the majority of the electorate (who did not vote for him) and asking why is he doing this. Also, a general overwhelming feeling of helplessness in this battle could be heard and questions of what can be done to stop Harper's from driving through this very threatening agenda were all voiced.
Possible solutions to the above were offered in various forms. The main one seemed to be that, "Individual voices and actions do make a difference.", even if they only give others the courage to speak out and take further action.
But other very noteworthy suggestions were the necessity to support the trend toward a Proportionate Representation System of government where more people would be encouraged to participate instead of the dismally low electoral turn outs we presently have, the possibility of mounting charter challenges to the present Bill C-38, and a very urgent need to spread the word and educate young people as to what is happening because young people represent the future of this nation.
Along the lines of getting more people involved were voices like Maggie Hughes of Broadcaster Independent Media who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Magie is presently prerecording shows for web broadcast, but is working to upgrade equipment to enable her to produce live streaming shows where callers can phone in and voice opinions.
Something that is clearly a growing trend and was noticeable at this Town Hall as well were the offers of anonymity for anyone willing to make public statements. There seems to be an escalation in the possibility of losing ones employment or being subject to other coercive retaliation by forces that seem to be resorting to dirty tricks in their attempts to strip us of our dignity.
On one of the last notes before the meeting ended were words of encouragement by pointing to Greek protests in light of that country's financial woes, Montreal demonstrations against tuition hikes, and the general world wide awakening that seems to be ongoing and growing. In light of this, the message was; "We are not alone" and "We must not give up hope".
fixourworld reporter RA