Friday, October 18, 2013

She Refuses To Be Quiet

Brigette DePape -- who held up that Stop Harper sign during the last throne speech -- has greeted this week's throne speech with the scorn it deserves:

Prime Minister Stephen Harper is spending over a billion dollars on a Spy Castle made of shiny glass windows, the most expensive Canadian government building ever constructed. Meanwhile, he continues to cut services that the middle class values. Simply look at federal health cuts, which will total $36 billion over a decade. 

She understands what is behind Harper's attempt to rebrand himself as Captain Consumer:

The government boasts of its consumer-first agenda, hoping to appeal to everyday folks. The effort to re-brand the public as consumers fits well with the neoliberal agenda Harper is aggressively pursuing. As my friend TJ Dawe pointed out, we are increasingly consumers when our social services are cut, because we have to buy them ourselves. It's convenient for the Harper agenda if we are just consumers -- if what we care about is how we spend the money in our own purse, not how the government spends our money. 

But DePape is not merely grinding an axe. Where some might see gloom and despair, she sees healthy rebellion:

What I found most inspiring since Harper's last throne speech are people stepping into their power as not just consumers, but active decision-makers and influencers on the issues that matter most: young doctors standing up to Minister Joe Oliver after he tried to cut funding to refugee health care; families rising up with the Occupy movement, drawing attention to much-needed system change; and residents demanding a National Housing Strategy to end homelessness, Canada being one of the few countries without one.

I have to admit that there are times that I have despaired over public acceptance of the Harper agenda. But, if Depape is right -- and Frank Graves' latest poll seems to indicate that she's on to something -- then there may, indeed, be hope that the ancien regime is on its last legs.


Lorne said...

I am always immensely heartened when young people put forth the time, energy, passion and commitment to speak out against the abuses of our current regime, Owen. let's hope DePape's spirit proves infectious!

Owen Gray said...

DePape is a light to her generation, Lorne.

Let's hope they heed her message.

Anonymous said...

Ms. DePape is one of my heroes. Her image with the 'Stop Harper' sign has been the desktop image on all of my computers since the throne speech of 2011.

Let it shine, Brigette, let it shine....

Owen Gray said...

Absolutely, Anon. Absolutely.

the salamander said...

.. its going to take hundreds - thousands - like her -and they need to mobilize now, across the land, connect & recognize each other.

The rest of us in Canada, in particular the 'boom generation' need to empower her generation.. NOW .. as well as ensuring that our elected representatives & their appointed leader remain solely & openly responsive to us.. the citizens and voters of Canada.

Its become very clear that Canada cannot afford another runaway majority government. That fact may be Stephen Harper's only legacy aside from shattered environments, destructive legislation, toxic politics and democracy under attack by unelected PMO stooges.

Owen Gray said...

Depape's generation has been abandoned by the Harperites, salamander.

She knows it. If we've been paying attention, we boomers should know it, too. But too many of us have bought the notion that all the matters is now.

Our children are here to remind us that the future is more important than the present.