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Winnipeg election town hall a success


About 200 people attended our election town hall at the Indian and Metis Friendship Centre in Winnipeg last night.

It follows the forums we have held in Vancouver (April 30) and Ottawa (May 7).

The speakers featured last night were Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow, Canadian Union of Public Employees president Paul Moist, Winnipeg Indigenous Rock the Vote co-organizer Sylvia Boudreau, and University of Manitoba associate professor Niigaanwewidam James Sinclair. The evening was moderated by Council of Canadians youth vote campaigner Brigette DePape.

As the evening began, Barlow tweeted, “In Winnipeg for the Go Vote town hall! Great turnout. First Nation voter registration taking place here too!”


Tweets from Barlow, the Council of Canadians Winnipeg chapter, Isaac Wurmann and Council of Canadians democracy campaigner Dylan Penner offer a sense of the content of the evening:

Maude Barlow

  •  List goes on and on. Barlow has been listing services that have been cut for 5 minutes. “Harper has clear cut an entire movement.”

  • “What would our county look like if we hadn’t had the civil society movements to fight for justice?”

  • Barlow talking about importance of reclaiming democracy including fighting voter suppression

  • “Alberta is what we needed. We need to take back our democracy.”

  • “And this I’m going to promise you Stephen Harper will not be PM after the next election”

  • “And he will not take our institutions, our values, our hearts, our dreams with him”

Paul Moist

  • “We are one election away from the Canada we want … If we vote with our hopes and not with our fears”

  • Heads up to fellow J-Schoolers: Moist says Canadian media is failing at it’s job of reporting on platforms of party leaders.

  • “Funding cuts to advocacy groups like Status of Women Canada is not to save money, but to weaken our democracy”

  • “But we can’t just talk about Harper. He cannot be the focus of the 2015 election”

  • Moist telling audience that we can elect the government we want of we get out and vote!

Niigaanwewidam James Sinclair

  • “First they called us savages, then RCMP called us bacteria (fyi, bacteria is a good thing!) now they call us terrorists.”

  • “It is time for us look each other straight in the face and see that we are relatives in this treaty territory.”

  • “Treaty 1 is more than something we say at the start of gatherings-it’s law. It means respecting our neighbours.”

  • “The word ‘Canada’ means ‘village’. It doesn’t mean ‘pipeline’, it doesn’t mean ‘profit’.”

  • “Now, under Bill C-51, we might be called terrorists at gatherings like this.”

  • “Territory of indigenous peoples in Canada have been exploited to build economy. It’s time for reconciliation.”

Sylvia Boudreau

  • “Aboriginal people were not allowed to vote until 1960”

  • Boudreau admits that in the past she didn’t think her vote mattered. Now she wants to convince people that every vote has value

  • “If we don’t protect the grandfathers, if we don’t protect Mother Earth, she’s not going to be there for future generations”

Brigette DePape

Brigette DePape

  • There is a lot at stake in this coming election, says DePape. Over 9 million Canadians didn’t vote in 2011.

  • “Coast2coast people coming together from all directions to see the change we all believe in”

Last night’s event was organized by the Council of Canadians in partnership with the Canadian Union of Public Employees.

The next election forum will take place tonight in Saskatoon.

For more on our democracy campaign which seeks to increase voter turnout in the October 19 federal election, please click here.

Photos by Barlow, Penner and DePape.