Brigette DePape staged an unprecedented protest on the floor of the Senate chamber, walking out into the red-carpeted centre aisle carrying a red “Stop Harper” sign that she’d pulled from beneath her skirt as Gov. Gen. David Johnston read the new government’s speech from the throne.
She is calling upon Canadians to act creatively in protesting Harper, like she did with civil disobedience in the Senate chamber. Although this won’t start a revolution, her invitation to join social movements will certainly raise awareness of those movements who oppose Harper’s ideas.
Very smart too, she had a press release emailed while she was still in custody.
DePape, from Manitoba, has been working in the Senate for a year. A statement issued in her name said she opposes the agenda of the Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government, which won a majority mandate on May 2.
This country needs a Canadian version of an Arab Spring she said. Things lies not with Harper but in the hands of the people, when we act together in our streets, neighborhoods and workplaces, the statement said.
She went on to give a series of media interviews. She explained she feels the Conservative government’s policies on the environment, social programs and the military are destructive, and that civil disobedience is needed to try and stop them.
DePape grew up in Winnipeg, was a member of a local baton-twirling team until she was 13 and graduated from College Jeanne Sauvé.
She volunteered at the Siloam Mission, raised more than $100,000 for a village in Senegal and was a member of the group Students Without Borders.
In 2007, she won a prestigious Loran scholarship from the Canadian Merit Scholarship Foundation. The prize includes up to $75,000 over four years and help finding summer internships in public policy.
Last summer, DePape interned at the Manitoba office of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, where she penned an essay on the G20 protests in which admitted she was crushed when her father told her protesting was unproductive and ineffective.
“Extreme circumstances call for extreme measures,” Ms. DePape said in an interview. “I think that everywhere is the right place to resist the Harper government.”
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