Observers agreed it was an unprecedented moment in Canadian Parliamentary History.
During the Speech from the Drone, at the opening of Canada’s Parliament, in June, 2011, 21 year old Senate page Brigette DePape, produced a “Stop Harper” sign from her skirt and stood in silent protest in the middle of the House of Commons, till she was removed by security, and then fired from her job.
It was a jaw-dropping moment for all Canadians…
A stand-out, landmark event, in the history of Canadian Democracy.
And the most courageous thing any Canadian – elected or unelected – has ever done, on Parliament Hill since 1867.
A clearly outraged CBC’s Evan Solomon carried the flag for Right-wing media pundit anger as he, later, hectored DePape mercilessly in an interview, glowering at her like a brow-beating grandfather trying to straighten out an errant child, instead of trying to question a stunningly original figure in the news – hey, c’mon, isn’t that supposed to be his job, or…?
Instead – glowering and leaning aggressively forward – he used up precious interview time by trying, over and over, to get her to admit what she had done was wrong…
Though very visibly rattled himself, he failed to discomfit the Great Canadian Democrat in front of him, who kept remarkably cool and polite in spite of the attack she was subjected to on national television.
And by the Public Broadcaster, no less…
Solomon was very determined not to give her a chance to get out HER message on HIS show, but use her precious on air time to straighten her out with a stern corrective lecture.
CBC viewers can be forgiven for snapping, “Why invite her if he’s not interested in hearing her, instead of trying to brow-beat her, into his Right way of thinking?”
In fact Solomon’s behaviour evoked a chilling flashback to another eerily similar event in history… (see below)
It was a stunning example – for those who still needed one – of how “CBC balance” had veered sharply Right, to keep in step with Prime Minster Harper’s newly reconstituted “majority,” and how its on-air commentators and journalists (Solomon, Murphy, Cherry, Stewart) were enforcers of the “proper attitude,” routinely used to “straighten out” dissenting liberal miscreants.
With Harper announcing further CBC cuts of 5% or more, CBC management is clearly in a panic, and pulling out all stops to appear on side with a Right-wing regime to try to contain the damage to salaries, pensions, and expense accounts of their top people.
Clearly Solomon was personally outraged, and had major issues with Brigette’s action, and the CBC didn’t mind in the least letting him show it before a huge national audience.
DePape’s message was simple, to the point, and accurate beyond reproof.
Harper was only elected by 24% (twenty-four) of the voters in Canada. For all his bluster about winning a majority, and about Canadians becoming more conservative, etc., he’s living in a dream world, that doesn’t exist, on the ground, among the 23,971,740 eligible Canadian voters.
He only got 5,832,401 of their votes – that’s 24.3 %.
No ifs, ands, or buts. It’s a statistical fact. The ultimate electoral truth in a Democracy: did the people vote for you, or didn’t they?
Do they want you, or reject you? The facts are loud, clear, and stunning, in the number of votes 24.3% Harper collected. More so in the votes he didn’t get…
A full 75.7% of the voters of Canada had not voted for Harper in the May 2011 election.
A full 75.7% of the voters of Canada had outright rejected Harper and his team. It does not matter WHY they did not vote for Harper; the only fact that matters is that he did not get their votes.
The vast majority of Canadians – in this so-called Democracy – were saddled with a Prime Minister they did not want, and had not voted for, in a system which was rigged by special interests to let the minority rule, and get its hands on all that money the average Canadian sends in taxes every year to Ottawa.
And then, to add insult to injury, demand that the majority like it and approve the election, the results, and a 24.3% Prime Minister.
Not so fast.
The overwhelming majority of Canadians don’t like it. Not one bit. But they put up with it, out of necessity.Like the smell from the farm outhouse…
Brigette said “No more… Canadians are better than that; you must be better than that.”
She said, Canada, like other countries, where privileged minorities rule over dispossessed majorities – like Libya, Egypt, Syria, Yemen – needs an “Arab Spring,” and Canadians need to demonstrate their protest about the state of Canadian Democracy by engaging in Gandhian and US Civil Rights civil disobedience.
Since the Houses of Parliament had been hi-jacked from the People – the media for years has complained about the creeps, bagmen, and corporate toadies whom Harper put in the Senate – and since neither the Senate or the House represents, at all, the democratic power of the people or the wishes of the overwhelming majority of Canadians, DePape says, the citizens should become activists and retake possession of their democratic institutions.
So that the Senate and the House truly represents the voters of Canada, not the pigs at the trough, or the winners of a rigged lottery.
A few Right-wing media calumnists and commentators, while strongly against what Brigette had done, allowed – as did the CBC online – that only “some” agreed with DePape.
Balderdash, all around…
Millions of Canadians have been saying exactly the same thing for decades, about their political system, and the men – forget the women – who run it to suit themselves and their cronies. (They only bring in women – like Brian Mulroney, in desperation, brought in Kim Campbell – when the ship has all but sunk.)
Some of the very calumnists who denounced DePape had been writing countless articles over the last few years, denouncing the growing list of anti-democratic acts committed by Harper. The longest, and the worst list of abuse, in Canadian History.
In fact the Harper’s regime was the first in Canadian history to be found in contempt of Parliament for its unprecedented attacks on Canadian democratic institutions, procedures, and individuals.
Harper was historically censored, as a despot, by the very people – the real majority; the 75.6% – elected by the people of Canada, who sat in the House of Commons and united, in desperation, to combat the common foe of their democratic institutions.
Now that is a democratic statistic, not the “election” of a 24.3% Prime Minister.
It was their way of pulling a DePape – showing civil disobedience – the only way an MP in a straight jacket can.
To further underline the point, during the election in May 2011, Canadian voters, in historic numbers, shunned the entire squalid political process. Both Harper elections of 2008 and 2011, registered the lowest voter turnout in Canadian history at 58.8 and 61.4%.
There is nothing, if not a stunning message there.
At a time when Canada has the smartest, most educated, and most informed electorate in history, fully forty percent of Canadian voters refused to take part in the travesty that passes for Canadian Democracy in the 21st century.
And it is overwhelmingly, the educated, the highly schooled, who shun the process the most, those that can see through the shabbiness of the political process all promoted by the fawning acolytes of the power mongers in the toadying media.
Toronto Star Right-wing punditiot Martin Regg Cohn excoriated Canadians who didn’t vote within a system that is bankrupt politically, by raising the specter of punishing or fining those who refuse to go to the polls.
But Canadians in huge numbers, just refuse to rubber stamp a discredited system for which Cohn is only one chief promoter. (Typically, like his fellow elite calumnists, his propaganda work gets him a huge salary, expense account, and pension, that adds up to millions in income that ordinary Canadians can only dream about.)
From the stunning heights of a voter turnout of over 79% in 1958-63 – the highest in Canadian history – voter participation has fallen steadily and precipitously as Canadians have seen the political process reduced to becoming the tool of the rich and the super-rich, their corporate cronies, and their slavering media calumnists.
The lowest voter turnout in Canadian history was reached – predictably, no surprise here – under Harper in 2008, at 58.8%.
In a democracy a NO vote – whether at the ballot box, or with the feet, is immaterial – is the strongest vote of all.
When a guy still gets elected with probably the most NO votes in Canadian history – by far – you have a bankrupt political system. Well, at least, one that claims to be a democracy.
It was what DePape was talking about.
So not “some,” as the toadying media calumnists would have you believe, agree with DePape, but there are actually millions – many millions – of Canadians who do.
It is hardly news that the overwhelming majority of Canadians – in every part of Canada you want to go to talk up the locals – express the common belief, without the slightest reserve, that Ottawa politicians are crooks.
And that the mainstream media calumnists are in bed with the rich and the super-rich, who pay them to advance their Right-wing corporate agendas.
Astonishingly, in fact, it is the only political opinion which is held with equal passion by Canadians of the Left, of the Centre, and of the Right. And of Anglo, French, Multi-cultural, and Aboriginal Canadians, of all colours, creeds, and sexual persuasions.
Everywhere you go in Canada, the topic of crooked politicians is the ice-breaker in conversations between complete strangers that breaks down all social barriers as victims of political calumny discover each other and make common cause.
All are united Canadians on this point.
So DePape is hardly an original here.
Millions were there before her. And the numbers of believers continue to grow as voter participation continues in a free fall.
Allan Gregg – hardly alone here – finally caught up to Brigette, and citing polling results he processed in June 2011, gave dire warnings about how Canadian Democracy was increasingly dangerously undermined by Canadians across the country shunning the process and being cynical about their politicians.
But DePape is original in one dramatic way.
She demands that Canadians should get over their well-founded cynicism about Canadian Democracy and Canadian Parliamentary institutions being subverted by 24.3% Harper and the rich and super-rich, and their media cronies, and not give up.
She’s just about one of the only people remaining in Canada – among conservatives and liberals alike – who doesn’t believe that Parliament Hill is fatally flawed, and Ottawa hopelessly corrupt, and hopelessly unsalvageable.
She, almost alone, among Canadians, says give Hope a chance.
She says do whatever you can, wherever you can, to do your bit to recapture Canadian Democracy for the 75.7% of Canadians who are presently shunted aside by a process used by a greedy minority to get at the tax money of Canadians to give to their cronies.
Popular Gandhian protests like she advocates, got India her independence, and outed minority supported despots in Egypt, and Tunisia, for a start.
She bravely thinks it could happen here…
DePape is a stunning original in another way.
What she did had never been done before.
What utter courage to do what she did.
Lay it all on the line. For now and evermore.
Hope she never wants a job in Alberta, Saskatchewan, or the rural areas across Canada where the Harper supporters notoriously clump together for French-Canadian flag stompings (Brockville, Ontario), pseudo-lynchings of Blacks (Campbellville, Ontario), cross-burnings of mixed marriage couples (Poplar Grove, Nova Scotia), etc.
Or in the corporate halls of the rich and super-rich…
It is a fact: no Canadian calumnist, no Canadian MP, has ever dared to risk their jobs to protest their employer. They are toadying lackeys of the highest order. It’s part of every MP’s well-known job description that they shut up permanently, from expressing personal views, once they arrive in Ottawa, unless they have been cleared by party bosses for saying something of moment in public.
And top caluminsts know there are only one or two employers in all of Canada, and their two choices are down to extreme Right-wing or ultra Right-wing. (Testifying for journalistic flexibility, the most strident among them – Christie Blatchford, Rosie diManno, and Margaret Wente – move easily and comfortably between the two extremes.)
So, within hours of Canadian actor William Shatner calling on Canada’s youth to “Dare to Fail,” in a commencement address, where he was crowned with a Doctor of Laws, Brigette DePape did exactly that, and stunned a Nation with her highly unusual and supremely principled and patriotic call for Canadians to recapture their democratic institutions.
To give voice to the vast majority of Canadians, the millions of dispossessed voters who had been suckered – again – by the Canadian political process.
And it raises the question:
How could an extremely bright and courageous woman like her possibly emerge from a school and university system where ultra Right-wing professors like Bercuson, Granatstein, Flanagan, etc. rule the classroom?
And pomposit constantly in the press, and in TV and radio interviews to impose their spin with their extremist regressive values they want to see entrenched in the Canadian psyche.
In fact to rebut Heather Mallick’s staunchly pro-Brigette column, the Toronto Star didn’t even have to go to Brockville, Campbellville, or Poplar Grove, but simply went to a university to locate a reactionary professor, CES Franks, a grumbling Neanderthal of Biblical proportions, from the rural Right-wing rump of Canada in Kingston, Ontario, to denounce – echoing Solomon’s CBC attack – what DePape had done.
The Halls of Academe – where once upon a time, “The Truth Shall Set You Free” – are latterly, most famous for undermining the Canadian Democracy, as the rich and the super-rich, like Peter Munk, pay for classroom access, to vanity billboard their names, on chairs, rooms, and schools, and are given free rein, by fawning university administrators, to hire tired old men with tireder old Upper Class values (Brian Stewart, General Hillier, etc.) to browbeat youthful undergraduates with their ultra Right wing values that support their ideological point of view and corporate agendas.
That DePape could survive, emerge untarnished, and blossom as a Great Canadian original, from such an increasingly degenerated university and degraded political background, and Dare Canadians to rise up to protest the growing deterioration in Canadian Democracy, is nothing if not astonishing.
But it’s been done before…
In a stunning historical parallel, Brigette reminds us of another courageous university student who did exactly the same as she, in trying to mobilize fellow citizens with civil disobedience by handing out leaflets to put pressure on another dictatorial political leader with strong anti-democratic tendencies, who had also been elected by a mere minority (33% to Harper’s 24.3%), and then ran rough-shod over the majority.
The student: Sophie Scholl.
The dictator: Adolf Hitler.
Sophie, like Brigette, was also 21, and an equally passionate university student who urged German citizens to use civil disobedience to pressure their government (the Nazi regime) to make peace when its government too, was involved in a war. In 1943 Sophie passed out leaflets in Munich that urged citizens to protest a fearful war the Germans were badly losing in Russia.
Like Brigette, Sophie was sternly grabbed by the authorities, and then vitriolically denounced by extremist Right-wing media calumnists. (Sophie vilified in Der Stürmer; Brigette scorched in the Globe and Mail and National Post.)
Both highly principled young women were also harshly upbraided in public forums. (Sophie by the notorious Roland Freisler before the People’s Court; and Brigette by an aggressively hectoring Evan Solomon in front of a national audience at the Public Broadcaster.)
Sophie was found guilty of treason, and – along with her brother, and several friends and their professor – brutally executed by guillotine.
Sophie’s last words before her execution:
“How can we expect righteousness to prevail when there is hardly anyone willing to give himself up individually to a righteous cause? Such a fine, sunny day, and I have to go, but what does my death matter, if through us thousands of people are awakened and stirred to action?”
Sophie and Brigette; kindred spirits.
The same beginnings; the same passions; the same hopes; the same dedication to the Public Good.
Sadly, Sophie paid with her life for her “Stop Hitler” leaflets.
Relax. It’s not going to happen to Brigette.
Oh, the danger is real enough. Intimates of 24.3% Harper say he personally favours a return to capital punishment, and is unhappy that the last hanging was so long ago, in 1962, and that executions were finally banned altogether in Canada in 1976.
We know what would be a Capital Offense, were his 24.3% “majority” government to re-introduce executions in Canada. And holding up “Stop Harper” signs that interrupted, and stole his thunder during the installation of his government in Parliament, would be Right at the top.
But it ain’t going to happen.
The 75.7% of Canadians, who refused to vote for the 24.3% Harper, are not going to let him.
So Brigette is safe. For the moment…
She can sleep well at night, knowing that more Canadians – by far – are on her side. Not on the Prime Minister’s, weakly propped up by a mere 24.3% of the voters – the extremist Right-wing rump, only, of all Canadians.
Another national poll of German women voted Sophie “The Greatest Woman of the 20th Century” (out of all the women of the world.)
Sophie; Brigette. They are the daughters, the sisters, you wish you had…
Canadians are lucky; they still have Brigette…
In millions of homes across Canada, Brigette DePape makes Canadian hearts glow.
It is she who deserves the Order of Canada, not the rich and the super-rich – like Peter Munk – who fund the politicians, and who routinely buy it with their millions.
We’re hoping that 24.3% Harper will do what he’s passionate about, doing the Right Thing, and confer it on her. And pre-empt being embarrassed for the Ages, by Posterity, which again, like in Sophie’s case, will, down the road, certainly recognize and honour her landmark and public-spirited protest.
Her original and stunning act of conscience is the high point of what Canadian Democracy should be all about.
The main public square in front of Munich University in now named in Sophie Scholl’s honour, as are scores of schools across Germany.
The main green compound in front of the Canadian Parliament, in Ottawa, where countless thousands of Canadians have demonstrated their democratic rights for generations, is strangely unnamed.
It should be named
Place Brigette dePape in her honour, a testament to the high ideals, and her totally selfless act, for which she laid it all on the line, only steps from its green expanse.
To give a wake-up call for all Canadians, that unless they do a civil intervention, and do it soon, their democracy is all but gone forever…
Brigette gained nothing for herself.
Unlike the members of the Club des Millionaires who live on Parliament Hill and among whom she protested in the Senate and House, the members of which leave the Hill secure that each will go home with multi-millions in salaries, expense accounts, and pensions, safely in their pockets.
There has never been, nor will there ever be, a better candidate that better enshrines the democratic values held most dear in the hearts of millions of de facto disenfranchised Canadians.
24.3% Harper could do the Right Thing, and dedicate “Place Brigette DePape” in her honour.
It would forever, be a constant reminder, that Canadians need to be eternally, personally watchful over their Democracy to keep it valid, representative, and healthy.
It would be a stunning coup were he to do so.
It would be a wildly popular move in every part of Canada and among people of all ages.
If he were man enough. Statesmanlike enough…
And certainly cause the 75.7 % of Canadians who refused to vote for him, to look at him anew…
A far better move for him, instead of musing endlessly, late at night, if he should use his “majority” to bring back executions to Canada…
Just because he has a candidate in mind…
When we suggested the idea of naming the green Hill compound Place Brigette dePape to the PMO, Prime Minister Harper’s Chief of Staff, paused, pondered some time, before replying: “We only name public buildings, and places for dead people.” Then grinning wickedly, “We could of course arrange to have your candidate be in full compliance with our requirements…”
Spread the word: Place Brigette dePape.
Do it for Brigette.
Do it for Canada…
Do it for yourself…
Before Peter Munk outshuffles Hilary Weston – you know, the Cookie Monster – to have it named after himself…
How would Munkey Hill sound to you…?
Hey, we may be on to something there…