Goals of the C-61 rally
To share our concerns and the problems of the ill-conceived bill C-61 with the minister Jim Prentice and the public attending the breakfast. (See note 1)
A peaceful & orderly rally to make our voices & concerns heard
To better get our information across, we created a set of common slogans to be used and information sheets about C-61 to hand out. And many rally members make these slogans into signs (big and small, in colour or black & white) and even t-shirts.
We also decided that we want our rally to be orderly, polite and respectful while making our voices heard. At the end, our conscientiousness were noted and we were actually commended by the organizer of the breakfast and Prentice’s Chief of Staff for our efforts to keep our rally orderly. (More on my encounter with David and Jean-Sébastien later.) Of course, to make our concerns and points heard by the minister and the public, a orderly and respectful protest was the only way to go. If our rally had been disruptive or rude, then the purpose of our rally will be lost in the sea of negative press on our ill-manner.
The C-61 rally – from 8:30 to 11:00am
Some of the rally members (including me) had arrived by 8:30am already. As we were meeting up at the corner of Kensington Road and 10th Street NW, we were slowly taking up a good part of the sidewalk.
In order to be non-disruptive to the people attending the breakfast for the food and fun only, we decided to move across the street so we still can be seen by the public with our signs.
Also, we decided to start lining up for breakfast at 9:15 in groups of 8-10 people to avoid overwhelming the breakfast with our large group. We would rather spread ourselves out than be seen as an hostile group of protesters by the public or the host of the event. Plus spreading out also give us more chances to talk to the public. So that was good.
By the way, I estimated there were about 35 of us gathered by 9am. And for the whole C-61 rally, we had about 40-50 people attending with total breakfast guests of about 500 people (my estimate). Our group was definitely quite noticeable with our signs and t-shirts in the relatively small parking lot.
A member of the rally (thanks Jan) has taken much of his personal time and initiative to create probably 50+ copies of audio CDs explaining some copyright concerns and issues (you can listen to it online here) for distribution and Alyssa and a few others help distribute the CDs and info sheets at the entrance to the breakfast to the citizens who want these info. So all attendees of the breakfast saw us protesting peacefully there. And many talked to us and ask us questions.
Some of the rally members were carrying signs peacefully for minister Prentice, his cabinet colleagues from across the country and the public attending the breakfast to see.
Encounter with David Higginbottom and Jean-Sébastien Rioux
Even David Higginbottom (president of Calgary Centre-North riding association, organizer of the Prentice Stampede breakfast) and I may disagree in many things, I really appreciated David taking the initiative to come to talk to me and to different members of the Fair Copyright for Canada group. I respect his willingness to engage in dialogue and attempting to resolve our differences through passionate but reasoned discussions and debates. Thanks David.
My meeting and chat with minister Prentice’s chief of Staff Jean-Sébastien Rioux (some info when JS was at Laval, with cv) was much a chance encounter. He was chatting with someone close to me and I overheard that he was the chief of staff so I took the opportunity to talk to him. Even though JS mentioned the bill was far from being passed, and the government will not likely make it a confidence motion but the problem I have is that the government has still not come out and say that it will put C-61 through extensive and country wide consultations and is ready to fix all the different problems already identified.
Another faulty reason that JS tried to use was that we have been too “specific” with our examples in the failings of the bill. But we live in a world of details and concrete cases. The government may or may not have the right intentions when drafting the bill, but the problem remains when a ill-conceived bill will so many problems will lead to serious unintended consequences.
Various video clips captured at the C-61 rally
Event photos and coverage
Many thanks go to the Fair Copyright for Canada, Calgary Chapter members and Edmonton Chapter members (driving 3+ hours each way to Calgary!) and the public who came out in large numbers to support the rally.
Special thanks to Corey (for organizing the Edmonton Chapter and arranging the car pool), Theo (making the PDF signs files), Jan (the audio CDs, and extra t-shirts), Gord (the huge sign), Christopher (taking photos) and others who take pictures, wear the t-shirts, bring in some big signs, or their own special-made signs, etc.
Finally, thanks to everyone that keep the whole rally peacefully and orderly for us to be able to get our messages across.
I would like to specially thank the Calgary uniformed police officers and the RCMP plain cloth officers present at the Stampede breakfast to make sure everyone is safe. Because the rally members have been very polite and respectful, they never really had to do anything other than keeping an watchful eye. And thats the way we like our rallies to be, peacefully making our voices heard.
I would also like to acknowledge Pam, the lady in sunglass in the middle of the above picture, for putting herself in between the minister and the rally members who want to speak to Jim. (note: I assume Pam (Pam LeMouel?) is the minister Prentice’s communications person/handler.) I respect Pam in doing her job while we tried our best to talk to the minister.
Note 1: Since C-61 was tabled on June 12th, minister Prentice had only answered a few of the 100+ questions from the public once on CBC Search Engine. And the result of that radio interview was a disaster in three ways. 1) Key questions were avoided, 2) answers were mis-guided and not based on the text of C-61, and 3) for a politician, a public relations disaster. The minister actually hung up on the radio host quite rudely in the middle of a tough question. (Here is a remix of the interview.)
Here is a link to Michael Geist’s 61 reforms to C-61.
July 22nd, 2008 Update: Here is a Macleans’ report of the C-61 rally, “Jim Prentice and the Pancake Protest“.