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Big audience in Vancouver for election town hall forum

Maude Barlow

It was a full house last night in Vancouver for the first of ten election-focused town hall meetings across the country. The panel featured Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow, Canadian Union of Public Employees national president Paul Moist, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip and instructor/ activist Itrath Syed. The moderator for the evening was Council of Canadians campaigner Brigette DePape and it began with a territorial welcome by Cecilia Point of the Musqueam Nation.

In terms of statements and comments from last night, Council of Canadians democracy campaigner Dylan Penner and others tweeted:

Maude Barlow

  • “We have a watershed election coming up – a very important election.”

  • Maude Barlow gives me strength to protect democracy

  • Maude Barlow talking abt Harper’s clearcutting of social movement funding. It’s a long list.

Paul MoistPaul Moist

  • “With low voter turnout Harper got his majority with the support of only 25% of Canadians”

  • Paul Moist talking about voting decline and corrosive political impacts of horse race polls

Grand Chief Phillip

  • “C51 not about jihadists hiding under our beds. It’s about silencing indigenous land defenders”

  • “it’s about more than the nxt elxn. Austerity agenda is a huge issue”

  • “Harper has dramatically changed country w omnibus bills, militarism & secret police”

  • “when I deal with the gov’t I’m like the Loon. They never know where I’m going to pop up”

Itrath Syed

  • “C51 will turn people away from dissent by criminalizing it”

  • “We have been on the road to C51 since 9/11”

  • “the kinds of civil liberties violations in c51 have been felt by Muslim & Arab communities for yrs”

After the event, DePape posted on Facebook:

“Thank you to all those who came out tonight for the 1st of a series of 10 democracy town halls happening across the country! It can feel really intimidating and huge when we look at the task ahead with the 2015 election. Like Grand Chief said, we have 140 days, and we need to not simply go home and sip tea and say, that was a great event, we need to get organizing now! It’s amazing to see what is happening in Alberta. I like what Paul Moist said, we can begin to see “Hope over oil”. And I was so excited by the amount of people who raised their hand when Dylan Penner asked the question “Who will go door knocking to get out the vote?” I hope to see you for a door knocking canvassing training and door knocking next Thursday from 7PM-9PM at Bonsor Community Centre. More on that here. Thanks to all those people who made tonight’s event happen Dylan Penner, Leena Hasan, Harjap Grewal, AJ Klein, Ellie McNamee-Annett and many others!”

Brigette DePape

The next election town hall forum will be on May 7 in Ottawa. That gathering will feature Barlow, Unifor national present Jerry Dias, Canadian Veterans Advocacy president Michael Blais, Canadian Peace Alliance co-chair Christine Jones, PSAC National Capital Region executive vice-president Larry Rousseau and Ottawa ACORN leader Grace Iyabosa.

Further reading
Council of Canadians to launch 10-city election town hall tour (April 2015 blog)

Photos from last night.