To the members of CAPP,
This Saturday, January 23, thousands of Canadians will attend anti-prorogation rallies organized by the Canadians Against Proroguing Parliament (CAPP) Facebook group. They won’t be going as Liberals or New Democrats, as Bloc Québécois, Conservatives or Greens. They’ll be going as Canadian citizens, united in their opposition to Stephen Harper’s shut down of Parliament. That will happen because one of you had the courage to stand up in protest – and then another, and another, and another.
I want [you] to know how heartened I am by the mere existence of this group – the largest spontaneous online political movement we’ve seen yet in this new digital age of politics in Canada. I am heartened because the vitality of our democracy depends on the participation of its citizens, regardless of their political stripes. And your efforts and your numbers – over 200,000 of you so far – proves that Canadians truly are standing guard over our democratic traditions and institutions.
Some dismiss your efforts as nothing more than a click of a button. They are wrong. I know that your organizers have been volunteering their own time for several weeks to prepare Saturday’s rallies. And I know that thousands of you will be taking time off school and work, or away from your families to attend them. Anyone who pretends that those sacrifices don’t count is highly mistaken.
When this group first formed, your rallying cry was “Get back to work.” Well, on January 25, the day Parliament was set to resume, my entire caucus will be back on Parliament Hill for several weeks of roundtables and working sessions on job creation, veterans affairs, the environment, health – issues you care about. Issues that can’t wait.
And this Thursday, January 21, from 3 - 4pm EST, I will be holding an online town hall on my Facebook page. It’s part of a national conversation about this country’s future that includes all Canadians and recognizes the importance of open and honest debate. I encourage all members of CAPP to join us on http://www.facebook.com/michaelignatieff. I will be happy to answer any questions you might have.
When Stephen Harper shut down Parliament on December 30, he was counting on Canadians’ reacting with cynicism and indifference. You showed him that’s not who we are. You showed him that Canadians believe in their institutions and have clear, common sense expectations of their politicians: Get to work, work together and get the job done. It’s what’s expected of every Canadian all day long, and politicians should not live by a different set of rules.
I hope your important work these past few weeks means Stephen Harper gets that message loud and clear this Saturday.
Be there or be square. (All this talk of protest has knocked my slang back about 40 years.)
My question: Will you work towards a coalition?
My real question: Do you think you can grow a pair before Parliament comes back to work?
Canadians Against Proroguing Parliament membership now over 206,500.