August 5, 2009

Surrey tells Harper to get lost

Groups protest Harper appearance in Surrey

A number of groups came together Tuesday to pull off a noisy and boisterous protest of an appearance by Prime Minister Stephen Harper in Surrey. About 50 people chanted and made noise to protest various aspects of the PM's policies outside a Conservative Party fundraiser taking place at the ranch of Senator Gerry Saint Germain in South Surrey. The "Harper Welcoming Committee" included the Fraser Valley Peace Council,, No One Is Illegal and the Olympics Resistance Network.

"Harper and his Conservative supporters heard loud and clear tonight about a number of issues where this government is out of line with the wishes of a majority of people in Canada," explained protest co-organizer Marla Renn, co-chair of the Coalition. "From the war in Afghanistan, to the urgent need for social housing and the fight for war resisters to be allowed to stay in Canada, we got our message across."

Protesters continued chanting -- "Homes not bombs," "Canada out of Afghanistan now," "Let the war resisters stay" -- throughout the Conservative event, including during the PM's speech. At one point police officers threatened to issue a byline infraction fine for the use of a megaphone.

"We will not be silent and we will continue to hold Harper to account for his aggressive foreign policy and his regressive domestic policies," Renn added.

One policy that protesters raised was the continued deportation of Iraq war resisters seeking refuge in Canada from the United States. Rodney Watson, a resister living in Vancouver, is the latest to face removal, despite the fact that a motion was passed in Parliament in June 2008 calling for war resisters to be granted sanctuary in Canada. A protest is planned for this Thursday, August 6, 9a.m. at the office of Richmond Conservative MP Alice Wong to support Watson's right to stay.

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