The problem with public demonstrations, of course, as a means of protest, is that they require two things to be credible: a) more than a single constituency with complaints, and b) critical mass. A third, coherent vision, is also nice, though not necessarily essential. Sadly, today's rally on Parliament Hill
was none of those things, mostly because it's hard to piggyback specific discontent with the federal Liberals onto largely rural, unfocused discontent with (as signage in the fourth photo below notes, in the close-up) all levels of government.
Wellington was blocked off with tractors for all of Centretown, but I saw precious few signs thereon that seemed to display grievances not particular to farmers.
The sum total of the anti-Martin content: one couple with posters, and a later speaker (who took the stage only after the majority of farmers began to leave) who actually did seem to be with FreeDominion.
As you can see, not much of a turnout.
I have no idea which document's Article 28 that's in reference to. Googling suggests the WTO or GATT charters, though.
I can't say I'm happy about whatever this was. There's no need to burn anything on Parliament Hill; if nothing else, it makes an ugly mess.
An effigy coffin?
Between these, and the tone of some of the speakers' rhetoric, I was reminded how uncomfortable it sometimes is to be on the side of farmers, or vice versa. Fiery speeches about how "people in cities who ride buses shouldn't get to tell people in the country who ride tractors what to do" don't exactly endear me to legitimate grievances, both as an urbanite and a user of public transit. Nor am I impressed with digressions into bashing Mayor Chiarelli, or the premier, or with shutting down two of Centretown's main arteries (Wellington, as well as Bank down to Albert) for several hours. That forced the re-routing of STO (Gatineau) buses from their normal route on Wellington, which further plugged up the core. There's a time and a place for certain battles, and right now was an excellent time to pick one with the federal Liberals, not municipal or provincial politicians, culpable in the enabling of Liberal corruption though they may be. Generic city-bashing and clear displays of contempt for those of us who actually do have to live and work in Ottawa only gives urban residents (and especially
urban Ontarians) another excuse to write off all Conservatives as obstructionist and insufferably rural. I don't think that's particularly helpful.