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Letter to Council of Canadians

posted by dru Geography: Quebec Montebello Topics: social movements, protest

August 31, 2007

Letter to Council of Canadians

[Andrea from People's Global Action picked up the CoC's petitions at the anti-SPP demonstration and decided to make a few points while offering to deliver them.]

Dear Maude and Staff at the Council of Canadians,

I just wanted to write to let you know that the 10,000 petitions you delivered with great fanfare to the gates of the Chateau Montebello last week are safe. You know, the ones in the three clear plastic bins with the blue lids. The ones featured in that photo on your website ( www.canadians.org).

You are probably frantic right now. You've likely been searching for them since you put them down in front of the line of riot police and retreated back to the family friendly zone when you finished your media scrum and speeches. I have no doubt that you have been doing everything in your power to locate and retrieve them, considering your commitment to representing the voice of progressive social movements in this country, and your concern for democracy. This was, after all, a petition addressed to the Prime Minister, which demanded that the Security and Prosperity Partnership be debated in parliament. And although you were prevented from delivering them at the summit site, in spite of your negotiations with the RCMP who assured you it wouldn't be a problem, you surely still intended to bring them home to Ottawa with you, where you could have delivered each and every one of those hand-signed sheets to the Prime Minister's Office.

I understand that it was a tense afternoon, and that's probably why you left them behind. Only a couple of hours after you told the media that the police were on our side, they began tear-gassing and pepper spraying us. And then they were caught on "your line" wearing masks and carrying rocks, looking a lot like provocateurs. It's hard to remember to collect your props when you're surrounded by so much potentially violent chaos – even if it's on your side. (Which is why you left the police with the names, signatures, and addresses of 10,000 of your supporters, right – because they're on your side…?)

I must admit that I've found it a little bit strange that I haven't seen any messages on anti-SPP email lists indicating that you're looking for the petitions. And no one has been in touch with me directly. But then, who would have thought some anarchist from the People's Global Action Bloc would bother to pick up three crates of petitions calling on the government to defend Canadian sovereignty and resources by putting the SPP to debate in parliament?

Fair enough. I probably wouldn't organize a campaign around a petition –- especially not a petition about the SPP that contains no reference to migration justice, indigenous sovereignty struggles, or the fact that the precious energy and environmental resources that the SPP throws into jeopardy might not be 'ours' or 'our parliament's' to debate.

But I do respect the utility of a diversity of protest tactics. And I trust that you at least respect your own tactics -- enough to believe that each of the petitions 10,000 people cared enough to sign should be delivered to Stephen Harper.

Which is why, as the riot cops advanced, and no one from the Council seemed to be gathering up the petitions, I asked some friends to help me lift them into my van and drove them home after the demo. They're currently sitting in my living room. If you email me a FedEx account number, I'd be happy to ship them to the PMO's office for you.

Sincerely,
andrea


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