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ACTION ALERT: Blow a bubble for democracy!

The media is reporting that the Conservative Party is tightly controlling any public access to the prime minister during the election. Conservative leader Stephen Harper is not doing any door-knocking, nor is he doing any ‘main-streeting’ where he would meet with the general public. Those attending speeches by the prime minister must pre-register and then produce identification at the door. This has been described as Harper’s campaign bubble.

Two teenage women were turned away from a Harper event in London, Ontario simply for having gone first to hear what Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff had to say and posing with him for a picture. Two apolitical veterans advocates were turned away from a Harper rally in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia for unknown reasons. In Guelph, Ontario, two university students were turned away for having sung ‘O Canada’ outside the hotel where Harper was speaking. A Sierra Youth Coalition activist was also turned away from this event for having gone to the recent climate talks in Cancun, Mexico. And the Toronto Star reports, “One young woman was apparently ordered to turn her T-shirt inside out because it had a slogan endorsing environmentally-friendly fuels.”

The opposition parties have decried this and said it is an affront to democracy. It has been asked why (and how) Harper is doing background checks on people for these forums and restricting their access because of a Facebook photo or an event they attended, while failing to know that a top adviser, Bruce Carson, had five convictions for fraud.

Harper has not relented on this policy and has unconvincingly said his staff make these “operational” decisions and that he can’t comment on “individual matters” like these.

Everyone is encouraged to send us a photo of yourself, your friends and family blowing a bubble for democracy. Send your photos to mramsden@canadians.org or upload them to a Flickr group called ‘bubbles4democracywww.flickr.com/groups/1668231@N23/.

Council of Canadians chapter activists are encouraged to set up a bubble station (dish soap and large bubble wands, or a child’s bubble-maker from a toy store) in a public location. You could then ask people to pose for a photo ‘blowing a bubble for democracy’. We will post those photos on our website, send them to the prime minister, and alert the media. We will also have handbills available for you to distribute to passersby. While this is a low-cost action, we can offer support to chapters to organize these bubble stations. Please be in touch with your regional organizer for more information and help.

Your actions will help keep this affront to democracy in the public eye.

Blow a bubble for democracy and help burst Harper’s bubble!