UPDATE: Videos are being added as they come out – just scroll down!
Today, across Ontario, people took to the streets to protest our Provincial government’s mismanagement of our energy supply, which has resulted in doubling or more of our energy costs…with more cost increases coming soon.
Living in Ottawa, I came to the protest nearest me: at Bob Chiarelli’s constituency office, on the corned of Carling and Woodrooffe.
And what a protest it was!!!
While I’ve heard radio reports of ‘more than 300 people’, and while the numbers did fluctuate over time, at the height of the protest, my count put the crowd at somewhere between 500 and 600 people and dogs. (Yes, there were cute doggies in the crowd.)
Right away, I saw some familiar faces – Ruth and Beth (frequent callers to CFRA’s Lowel Green show – a couple of fine ladies who are not afraid to speak their minds), there was Debbie J., and Gordon and Jeremy and many, many other familiar faces. A strong contingent from the Landowners’ Association – and a petition against rising hydro costs by Randy Hillier was circulated. But, there were also people I’ve never seen at any of the protests I’ve been to – a lot of younger people than usual, despite this being a Friday noon protest.
The weather was icky and the wind was sharp and bitterly cold – which is probably why the size of the crowd fluctuated as people snuck off to their cars to warm up, then came back.
The organizers of the rally – led by Beth Trudeau from the Canadians for Language Fairness – ought to be very proud of the fine job they did!
They had a makeshift platform set up, with a bullhorn – and they had a large number of excellent speakers.
Lisa MacLeod and I have had our differences, but, I give credit where credit is due: not only had Lisa done a most excellent job following this issue as the Energy Critic, she also came out and spoke at this rally. I wish I could have heard better what she was saying, but I only caught snippets of it as at that moment I was on the median of Carling Avenue, and rather far from the podium. But, Lisa did notice me and waved to me and I waved back, acknowledging the great job she’s been doing following this issue and not letting go.
There were other speakers – politicians, journalists, citizens. One guy told us how he had just started a family and his energy bills were driving him out of his home and into an apartment. Another urged people not to vote for any political party, as they do not differ that much from each other: we need real people in government, not career politicians!
I also got up and spoke a few words of encouragement to support all the people standing up and saying enough is enough, we will not suffer energy poverty!
All in all, it was very exciting, but I underestimated the wind and turned into a bit of an icicle…
Still, I think this protest was not the end – rather, just the beginning of the wave of unrest as people refuse to be reduced to energy serfdom.
Here are some videos from today: