Saturday, May 16, 2015

Impressions of the March for Life.

This post is a bit late because the day after the March for Life, I left for a short vacation and I didn't have regular access to a computer.

I was very satisfied for the March for Life. 25 000 people showed up, equaling our record.

I know the RCMP said 8-10 000 people. I trust Jim Hughes' count.

Even if it were "only" 10 000, that would still be impressive.

The line-up of politicians was somewhat larger than usual, though many couldn't stay due to House duties. Even Christian Heritage Party Leader Rod Taylor was given the mic. I was very surprised at that.

During Stephen Woodworth's speech, the Femen created their disturbance. Woodworth kept talking. That was exactly the right response, even though everyone in the front was busy paying attention to the Femen. You have to understand that with a crowd of 25 000 people, the people at the back don't know what's going on. They only hear the speeches, they don't see anything. He didn't give Femen the satisfaction of genuinely stopping the rally.

The disturbance by Femen didn't last more than two minutes. There were two "attacks" if you will, one from the right and one from the left. None of the women managed to reach the podium, which is why none of this was really a top news story. They were both caught before they had chance to make it up the steps of the Hill.

They were taken down and life went on. It was a big fail.

Next year, I recommend that the organizers put a number of staff-- big burly men-- around the perimeter of the steps. The Femen attacked when they saw a huge gap between the podium and the barriers. The photographers or reporters were elsewhere. There should be no gap anywhere on the main "stage" and they must be made to understand that they will not succeed in their attempts to hijack the protest.

And I know we go on about it, but it was really over fast, and it hardly put a dent in the protest.

The March itself was rather quiet. The line of protesters is so long that the experience can vary largely among protesters. I was in a quiet group of people. The Eastern rite Christians started singing a beautiful tune in a foreign language, in harmony. We passed the first counter-demo on Elgin Street. They were the best-behaved counter-demo I'd ever seen. They held up their signs and said nothing and we passed by and said nothing.

Then it was quiet for some time. And we passed the next counter-demo on Metcalfe.  Police erected a huge barrier of barricades, motorcycles and policemen themselves. So we barely noticed them. They were screaming "shame! shame!" We're like "Yeah, whatever."

Then we got to Parliament Hill and it was mostly over. I know the March doesn't sound like much, but it takes a lot of energy to stand in the hot sun and listen to speeches, and I had to leave and get a bite to eat. Plus the bathrooms on Parliament Hill were unavailable due to construction, and the line-up at 90 Wellington Street was insane. Personally, I think it was a fire hazard to have people line up on the stairs. I had to catch a bit at the World Trade Plaza, so I didn't get a chance to listen to the Silent No More witnesses.

All in all I would say it was a satisfying March for Life. I'd like to get back to you on some other thoughts when I am back accessing my regular computer.