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#GoVote2015 public forum held in Bridgewater

Maude Barlow

The Council of Canadians held a #GoVote2015 public forum with about 250 people in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia this evening.

As the event began, Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow tweeted, “Packed house for Go Vote town hall in Bridgewater NS!”

Barlow, Canadian Union of Public Employees president Paul Moist, Canadian Federation of Students chairperson Jessica McCormick, Canadian Doctors for Medicare chair Monika Dutt and actor Cory Bowles spoke at tonight’s public forum. The evening began with songs by the Raging Grannies.

Raging Grannies

From Twitter posts by Council of Canadians campaigner Dylan Penner, organizer Angela Giles and friends, we get this overview of the evening:

Maude Barlow

  • Maude Barlow lists the many, many cuts the federal government has made: “He has clearcut movements”

  • Maude Barlow informs Bridgewater that Harper will no longer be our PM after October’s federal election. (Crowd cheers)

  • “Federal government is cutting funding for advocacy by First Nations”

Paul Moist

Paul Moist

  • Paul Moist speaks about the “real issues” we care about: democracy, child care, health care

  • Paul Moist asks next federal government to restore funding to Status of Women

  • “Canadians want an issues-based, values-based election”

  • “Nova Scotia voter turnout in last federal election was 59%. — let’s do better this year.”

Jessica McCormick

  • Jessica McCormick highlighting how the so-called “Fair” Elections Act undermines democracy

  • “1.8 million eligible youth voters didn’t vote in last federal elections. We could be gamechangers.”

  • “Strong sustainable economy is everyone’s goal. Youth want the same support and tools as previous generations.”

Monika Dutt

  • “Important to stop the cuts, but also to organize to expand public health care through pharmacare.”

  • “Instituting a national pharmacare program has the potential to save $7 billion.”

  • “Election issue is pharmacare due to patchwork system (diff coverage in each province).”

  • “Health care system has become a patchwork. A free treatment in BC could cost $24,000 in Nova Scotia.”

  • “Crucial to prevent encroachment of private care into the public health care system.”

  • “Private for profit ins companies getting more and we are getting less. 3-6million people can’t pay for medication.”

  • “Housing, food security also major health issues.”

Cory Bowles

Cory Bowles

  • Cory Bowles on challenges facing arts & culture

  • Cory Bowles speaks truth to the importance of arts & culture in Nova Scotia and in Canada

  • “Now I’m really angry” — after hearing the previous speakers!

  • “Arts and culture are crucial to the economy. Austerity cuts are baffling.”

  • With cuts to arts “We lose our voice. Our vitality.”

  • “It is our right to vote. We need to vote.”

  • Cory Bowles likens not voting to standing by when an assault happens

  • “We want a fair government: accountability, respect, fairness. We need a good director, not a bad dictator!”

Bridgewater was the fifth stop in a ten-city cross-country tour following successful events in Vancouver, Ottawa, Winnipeg and Saskatoon. All together, more than 1,000 people have attended these forums so far. Our next election town hall forum will take place tomorrow (Wednesday May 20) in Moncton with Barlow, Unifor president Jerry Dias, Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada president Deb Daviau and Council of Canadians youth vote campaigner Brigette DePape.

These stops in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick are significant in part because Globe and Mail columnist John Ibbitson recently commented, “No Tory seat is safe in all of Atlantic Canada.” In terms of where this upcoming October 19th federal election could be heading, the Toronto Star reporting on a recent Forum Research poll seat-projection has noted its results suggest that, “The Conservatives would capture a minority with 131 seats. The NDP would remain the official opposition with 111 seats and the Liberals would see 95 seats…”

After the Atlantic stops, the tour will go to Scarborough (June 1), Toronto (June 18), London (June 22) and Comox (June 24).

The Council of Canadians also plans to release a Voters’ Guide that outlines questions voters should ask candidates and a chart presenting the positions of the main parties on key issues. That should be available by June 1.

For more on our democracy campaign, please click here. To follow the tour on Twitter, search #GoVote2015

Further reading
Broken Covenant: How Stephen Harper Set out to Silence Dissent and Curtail Democratic Participation by Maude Barlow

Twitter photos of this evening’s public forum.