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My call: the anti-prorogue rallies are a success..

..from an attendance standpoint, if that’s your litmus test (and as I said last blogpost, it isn’t necessarily for me and others) and the total numbers from every protest centre haven’t trickled in yet.

However, from what we’ve seen from some reporter and organizer accounts on Twitter and Facebook, we’re getting reports/estimates from between 7000 – 15 000 at Toronto’s rally, an estimate by the RCMP of 3500 at Parliament Hill, 1000 or so in Montreal, and several hundred to 1000 elsewhere from Waterloo, London, Guelph, Kitchener, etc. The best report I’ve seen so far; Simcoe County’s Conservative MP reportedly predicted they’d only get 10 CAPP protesters at Orillia, and yet 300 showed up. I haven’t found that quote yet from Bruce Stanton, but if that was the case, way to show him Orillia!

To repeat a comment I made on a Conservative troll’s thread over at the CAPP Facebook group (and I must say, they are out in force today), the anti-coalition group last year had 127 000 Facebook members, managed around 10 000 supporters at their rallies (according to unscientific estimates), and yet that was declared a gesture of anti-coalition uprising (and I will say the polls confirmed that, with opposition party’s support dropping and Conservative polling soaring to the mid-40’s).

I will assert if CAPP got 7000 – 15000 in Toronto, 3500 in Ottawa, 1000 in Montreal, several hundred to 1000 elsewhere, that will match or top the ratio of protesters to FaceBook supporters on here to that anti-coalition group, or even better. Combine that with the Conservatives dropping like flies in opinion polls (15 points lost in 15 days as Rick Mercer said on his Mercer report rant this week) and I’d say this more then shows and represents Canadians expressing their outrage at this prorogue action.

We’ll get a total estimate I’m sure of where we stood of numbers once the last West Coast rally is done, but I think this has shown that Canadians do care about this issue, and will come out in January to protest something they feel was not necessary and was certainly not accountable to the Parliament or the electorate. Stephen Harper has been put on notice, if he hasn’t been put on notice before (and I found him totally shameless today at his press conference in trying to claim the government was “occupied” with other affairs today when asked about the CAPP protests). I also say the opposition parties have been put on notice; if you want CAPP’s support, and the Canadians who oppose Harper’s misuse of prorogation, you’d better deliver democratic electoral reforms as well.

UPDATE @ 4:45 pm: I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention this followup Facebook group that wants to decide where CAPP goes from here to follow on the momentum from today’s rallies.

UPDATE 2 @ 6:40 pm: Ian Capstick with an early list of estimated crowd attendance at various CAPP rallies (right now he’s estimating about 25 000 across Canada) plus some good video of the rally in Ottawa and a chat with Kady O’Malley.

UPDATE 3 @ 6:52 pm: David Akin believes CAPP has passed the test of bringing out protestors from the FB pages:

Based on initial reports, some from independent sources, some from partisan sources, it would be difficult to call this day of rallies a failed test. In fact, thousands at events across the country have shown up.

UPDATE 4 @ 9: 09 pm: Craig Oliver of CTV calls the amount of people who came out to protest prorogation “extraordinary”, and indicates to him that a grass-roots movement is likely under way.


44 comments to My call: the anti-prorogue rallies are a success..

  • Fred from BC

    Jon Pertwee Reply:
    January 25th, 2010 at 8:57 am

    @Scott Tribe, To hear Fred from BC accuse someone else of a lie is remarkably hypocritical but not surprising. Seems like he’s worried.


    Yeah, I’m worried all right.

    Worried that no one else here has noticed that NO NAMES have been put to either the anonymous complainant or the so-called ‘campus conservative’ he claims to have seen orchestrating this affair.

    So…how about it? Why all the secrecy? Is this just another Liberal attempt to demonize Conservatives? Did this really happen, or not?

    • Jon Pertwee

      @Fred from BC, worried and delusional. Thanks for proving my point Fred. You can now go back to drinkin’ and trollin’

      • kmartin

        @Jon Pertwee, Fred..did you notice John deflected the issue you brought up? thats what he does..deflect then a personal attack..glad he is a lib and not on the good side!!

        • Fred from BC


          Oh, I definitely noticed. Glad I’m not the only one who has come to expect such tactics from the Liberals.

          So…I’m guessing that another request for some actual names will be met with more silence, right? Never mind then… 😉

  • Erik

    I attended in Ottawa, all I can say it was amasing, the numbers, the diversity of backgrounds and ages, the common thread of standing up to our parties and demanding democracy to break out in parliament. Most folks I talked to didn’t really like any of our current parties or leaders, and I agree with that sentiment. I was also hugely disappointed that the opposition parties shenaggled a piggy back at the end of this non-partisan rally, I would have been so much more impressed with them if they had simply been in the crowd.

  • rural

    About 300 in Owen Sound, some pics here

    Democracy requires dialog, please join us at

  • Fred from BC

    we have rather solid evidence it was Young Conservatives doing that Heather – agent provocateurs if you will.

    Umm…no. You have ZERO evidence of that.

    You have someone else’s anonymous word that they saw someone they identified as a Conservative waving in the general direction of people holding an offensive sign. Supposedly, this person later took the sign and walked away? You don’t suppose that he simply bought it from them or took it by force instead?

    (*if* indeed there ever was such a person, that is…)

    And how is it that the same Harper-Hitler sign showed up in Vancouver too…wielded by a guy not at all shy about having his picture taken holding it?

    No, you have nothing. To claim otherwise is clearly a lie.

    • @Fred from BC, actually, the person isn’t anonymous, Fred. I happen to know the protester who spotted those folks. That person insn’t anonymous either; he has openly identified himself at one of the CAPP chapters at Facebook, (which is where the cut and paste of that account came from) and he is more then prepared to identify the Manitoba Campus Conservative who he saw talking to the people who came out with the Harper = Hitler signs. We’ve also had some folks in that crowd who took photos of the rally and the surrounding area, and I understand those photos are being checked right now to see if they managed to get the agent provocateurs on camera so that it’s more then a “he said, she said” situation. I have no reason to disbelieve the person that there were COnservatives playing “dirty tricks” trying to discredit the crowd; this is the bunch that worships the Republicans and Karl Rove tactics.

      Can’t speak to the BC situation. If it was a regular protester doing that and not a COns agent provacateur, shame on him, but he’d be in the distinct minority of people who went over the line.

      • Jon Pertwee

        @Scott Tribe, To hear Fred from BC accuse someone else of a lie is remarkably hypocritical but not surprising. Seems like he’s worried.

  • The Globe and Mail gathered up numbers from around the country and estimated 25,000 in all.
    Great turnout — even here in Saskatoon we had 450, and we were practically in a blizzard today.

  • Clearly, the anti-prorogue rallies were every bit as successful as the anti-Coalition rallies.

    It seems regardless of who is responsible for the perceived threat to democracy, Canadians will protest it.

    This is a very good thing.

    I disagree with those who showed up to the rallies today over whether or not this is a threat to democracy. Regardless, I respect their opinion on the matter.

    • ck

      @Patrick Ross, Patrick, there you go again comparing apples & oranges. For one, I’m sure there are many who were against the coalition of last year who are against the prorogation of this year.

      Want a real comparison? Get your buddies together to organize a pro-prorogation rally(ies) across Canada. Then we’ll check those numbers.

  • Scott, I understand Himself said he was too busy with “life and death” issues to pay attention to some rally? Really? Is he personally micromanaging (wouldn’t surprise me!) the Haiti file? Nevertheless, it strikes me as using a catastrophic crisis to belittle his opponents, even when those opponents are fighting abuses of our democracy. The arrogance is so galling it sickens me. It’s not a though we are protesting a partisan issue of some sort. This transcends partisan politics, and even those of us who are card holders (LPC) or otherwise did not show up today campaigning! This was more than that. We are Canadians first on this issue, and to suggest that he had more important things to do thanks to an earthquake should convince anyone that this guy has some pathological problem and should be gone. Canada’s answer to Richard Nixon!

  • Heather

    I saw a picture of Harper being compared to Hitler at a rally today.

    You just lost my vote, liberals.

    • Big Winnie

      Heather, had you read the post above yours, you would have noticed that the CONS were behind the Harper = Hitler sign…With the exception of the Winnipeg rally and possibly another, the crowd was there to voice, in a respectful manner, their displeasure with the Conservative government for proroguing parliament.

    • @Heather, we have rather solid evidence it was Young Conservatives doing that Heather – agent provocateurs if you will. Considering that, and considering your IP shows up as being from Calgary, pardon me if I dont think we had your vote to begin with.

    • Jon Pertwee

      @Heather, if that’s what it took to lose your vote than it was never a vote for the liberals in the first place. You sound a bit like a concern troll though.

    • ck

      @Heather, Heather, where was your outrage when Obama was & is being compared to Hitler? Also, how do you know it came from a Liberal voter/supporter? There were people of all stripes out there.

  • S

    An interesting note from the Winnipeg rally facebook page:

    I was enjoying the speeches today, and I noticed someone I know to be a big Tory supporter and a member of the University of Manitoba Campus Consevatives observing the event, and taking pictures. I figured he was trying to get pictures of radical signs and what not to malign the protestors, but that didn’t bother me much. It’s his right to be there and observe.

    Anyways, I got back to watching the speeches and noticed that this Tory had climbed the fire escape of the University of Winnipeg building to get a better view, and I noticed he motioned at people beyond where I was to come forward or come into view. So I turned around and saw some people wearing masks, coming forward, and one of them was carrying a sign that said, I kid you not, in big letters, “Harper = Hitler.”

    I thought no, there’s no way, this Tory guy would go to these lengths to get these people to come to the rally to make the people there look bad, and radical. I couldn’t tell for sure that he had motioned at these specific people. So I went back to watching the speeches and what not. But as the speeches were winding down I turned around again, and what do I see? I see the Tory guy getting together with the masked people. He took the Hitler sign and walked away with the phony radicals!

  • It was the diversity that surprised me, a good cross-section of people, informed, engaged, a wide range of ages and occupation. Some local Conservative leaders watched from across the street, no one gave them a hard time. Our area rally wasn’t highly organized like many of the large urban area were but it didn’t matter, there was no lack of enthusiasm and awareness.

    We had all the media we have in this area covering this, print, radio, cable and regional CTV. Didn’t matter who they pulled from the crowd, people knew what they were doing there and what they wanted to say.

    Saw Mr. Harper’s response about an hour ago, he was rather peevish.
    Fitting response to reality.

  • Here are some photos and videos from the anti-prorogation rally in Ottawa:

  • bull caller

    Although the numbers are impressive, not only for the fact it was organized through facebook, but also that the diversity of the group was exceptional. Everyone from all walks of life, ages, and political preferences. The conservative government and the CPOC has absolutely no clue what to do with this now, as the individuals who showed up to this rally, and the 200,000 others that joined the facebook group are informed, and engaged.

    Thats a problem. Harper at his hastily arranged little press conference looked visibly angry and tired when questioned about the rallies. He hasn’t got a clue what to do next. Its time to continue to put the pressure on them before they continue to distract the media with already arranged Haitian adoptions, and aid that is already expected.

  • Ted

    Thanks for the updates Scott.The turnout has been amazing and way better than expected.

    I bumped into Steve Paiken of TVO at the Toronto rally and he estimated there was at least 10,000. He said he was blown away by the numbers and the energy.


    • @Ted, not shockingly, CTV Toronto only gave this a 30 second clip and only claimed 1000 showed up. I think they need to be taken to task for it. Anyone who saw all the people filling that square knew bloody well it was larger then 1000.

      • @Scott Tribe, I was disappointed with CFTO’s (CTV) coverage of the rally in Toronto. The first ten minutes seemed like an infomercial for the 7 p.m. CTV W5 program on Haiti.

        Scott, could you check one of my comments on moderation? Thanks.

  • Rebecca

    Going on 150 in Orangeville (Dufferin-Caledon).

  • Gayle

    Yes. In Edmonton volunteers were accepting donations for Haiti and the MC made sure to point them out to the crowd. At the end of the rally was a spontaneous singing of “Oh Canada”.

  • sassy

    p.s. forgot to mention that the Ottawa rally also included a 2 minutes of silence for Haiti (in which time you could have heard a pin drop, even in the snow)

  • sassy

    I just returned from the rally in Ottawa. While chatting with an RCMP on duty on the hill, I asked him what he estimated the crowd at – response over 5,000. (not including dogs which I estimate at about 50). On the way down from the hill, I overheard another estimate of 4,500 people in attendance.

    A very well organized event, did not notice any spelling errors, no garbage left behind, lots of good speakers, including from the Bloc, Liberals, Greens and NDP, and of course, some good music.

    Seems that the Parliamentary Cats did not prorogue, as they were out in the sunshine watching the black squirrels eat their food.

  • In Toronto, I did see TVO Agenda’s Steve Paikin and CBC At Issue’s Andrew Coyne in attendance. I don’t know if I would have described them as participants. It was nice that they observed the event.

  • I just came back from the Toronto rally. While I can’t put an estimate on the numbers, practically all of the space at Dundas Square in front of the stage to Yonge Street was filled with participants. It was a great and lively turnout! Not only that, we were across from the Eaton Centre where those who were passing by either heard a small portion of the rally or received materials from the participants. The march was also great because Torontonians got to see us voicing our opposition to Harper’s prorogation. It was a festive occasion. Young and older Canadians were present. It was a great event!

  • I would say 125 in Newmarket,,,, A town where I’ve never seen a rally of anykind before

    These people make a 2k march in the cold from the protest starting site to the MPs office. In the big scheme not a big deal, for a Blue, apathetic 905 riding,, this was pretty big.

  • ck

    Yah, CBC, Radio-CAn (French CBC) and TVA (Quebecor French language channel) were there. No CTV or Global in Montreal

  • Christina Monroe

    We had CBC North, and APTN and the local paper show up in Yellowknife! granted this is the the North not much going on a Saturday here !

  • S

    Oh yes, in Winnipeg, as far as I could see, only the CBC bothered to show up. No Global or CTV. . . .

    • @S,
      I am happy to say, as the chairperson for the Winnipeg Rally, that in fact all of the major news agencies from the city were present and accounted for. I did at least 9 interviews including Global, CTV (which gave us excellent coverage), CBC, The Free Press (who’s coverage was lacking and inaccurate), The Winnipeg Sun, APTN, as well as representatives from Red River College, U of W, and U of M’s student papers.

  • S

    Winnipeg around 4-500 I’m guessing

  • Gayle

    I just came back from the one in Edmonton. I would guess a couple hundred were there (though I am not particularly good at these estimates). It was cold today and snowing, roads were slippery etc. Still a good turnout. People were happy.

  • Christina Monroe

    We had just over 100 people at the Yellowknife Rally.

  • […] One the 4th anniversary of his ascension to power , I see there were some “successful” “I hate Stephen Harper” hatefests yesterday across the […]

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