Senate page Brigette DePape protests against Prime Minister Stephen Harper during Friday's speech from the throne.
Brigette DePape deserves a lot of support for a remarkably brave and dignified action. And I'm very disappointed (again) with the NDP for not standing up for her.
Democratic politics as practised is about representation. Who is she representing? What is her mandate? Her request to “Stop Harper” is undemocratic given that he has just been democratically elected.
Futile protests like this will achieve nothing. Based on the UK experience, the way to stop Harper is by hammering on each issue, and by looking for those moments when Harper government ministers are guilty of not practising themselves what they preach for the people. Those moments will come, and bit by bit the unity and support of the government can be eroded. But these attacks have to come from issues where individuals are victims of policy, or policies can be shown to be partisan in their application, not from students disppointed that life hasn’t turned out quite as they’d like.
Democratic politics doesn’t mean “no one speaks except representatives”. I don’t think anyone’s arguing that the government hasn’t been democratically elected (although 3 in 4 voters didn’t vote for them, as is usual), but protests against democratically elected governments are commonplace, and rightly so. Surely you don’t disagree with that? This one just happened to be in parliament.
From what I’ve seen she doesn’t claim to represent anyone, and I’m sure she went into knowing that she was likely to lose her job (which she did). The protest was calm, dignified, and courageous. There’s no way I’d have had the guts to do that at age 21 (or 51 come to that). And while she lost her job, the government itself got found guilty of contempt of parliament (link) with no consequences.
It may be futile, but protest is often theatre, and pragmatic-protests-only doesn’t inspire, which is part of the goal.
Brave is just another word for nothing left to lose. I may be mixing hippie metaphors 🙂
I’m not so sure about brave but it certainly was creative. This interview made me giggle endlessly:
She certainly stays on message.
She’s nothing if not idealistic, sure, but there’s nothing wrong with that.
When we share views with someone they are idealists but if we disagree with them they are ideologues. There is nothing wrong with idealism as long as it allows for alternative viewpoints.
Just count yourself lucky I don’t censor your comments, RAD.
Censored in the comments would be humiliating but nothing compared to the loss of face resulting from being found guilty of contempt. Contempt of Commentary 🙂