Speech from Budget Bill Rally in Ottawa

Frances Deverell Rev. Frances Deverell is the president of the Canadian Unitarians for Social Justice (CUSJ).

On Saturday, June 2, she joined the Leadnow protest in Ottawa outside Conservative Minister John Baird’s office and delivered a rousing speech to a crowd of over 100.

  

 

C-38 – Anti Democracy, Anti-Environment, Anti Economic Justice

A big thank you to Lead Now for organizing this rally and to Anita Grace for stepping up to be the local contact on the ground. And thank you so much for inviting me to speak on behalf of the Canadian Unitarians For Social Justice. Thanks to all the Unitarians and all the rest of you who came here today to stand in the rain and protest this terrible budget bill. Shall we take a page out of the Occupy Movement and try the human microphone? Yes?

Frances Deverell

Rev. Frances Deverell addressing the June 2 rally in Ottawa.

Mic check. Mic check.
I didn’t want to come out here and stand in the rain for a protest!  Did you?
I came because my heart is broken. This budget bill is a terrible bill for Canada.
I came to stand on guard for Canada.
As a Unitarian minister I want to hold up 3 principles I hold sacred.

The first is democracy. I object to the process of C-38.
An omnibus bill hides the facts. An omnibus bill suppresses debate.
We pay MP’s to examine the details give close scrutiny debate and LISTEN!
Closure gives no time for this.
In a democracy government regulates industry for the benefit of the common good.
This budget fires scientists who study Canada and produce knowledge.
This budget fires librarians, archivists, and statisticians who organize and store and make meaning of knowledge, and who keep our history. It doesn’t want to make decisions or set policy based on knowledge. It doesn’t value who we are.
This budget fires inspectors in all areas. When government abrogates its responsibilitiy of oversight it leaves the fox in charge of the chicken coop. We have more Walkerton’s, Food poisoning, Enbridge leaky pipelines,  and Gulf oil spills.

The second is the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.
I believe the earth, the air, the water are sacred.
I believe all species have a right to a place to live.
Gigantic scale mining produces industrialized landscapes that wipe out all life in their path. This trend must stop. It is a false economy.
We must change our ways to live in harmony with the natural world that sustains us and gives us life.
Mr. Harper and Mr. Baird are dismantling our environmental protection, to promote fast tar sands growth. The want to ignore their obligations to consult with First Nations who live and die eating polluted wildlife.
They care nothing for the needs, and well being, of future generations.
This bill changes the face of Canada without even a debate for the sake of greed and profit. This government was elected by 39% of the vote but it wields 100% of the power and gives 61% no respect. One minister can make and change rules with no consultation. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.
Why are they afraid to talk? Why are they afraid to listen?

Third: I hold justice, equity, and compassion sacred.
Where in this budget do we care for the homeless? Where in this budget do we care for the hungry? Instead, funding for medicare and education is threatened. Our pensions are under attack.
For the first time our children will have less security and well being than we have had. The social safety net that my parent’s generation set up is being dismantled piece by piece.
I stand here today in the rain to stand on guard of Canada.
I call on this government to slow down, slow down, slow down.
Break up this bill. Give us a national debate about the kind of Canada we want.
We want democracy.
We want environmental protection.
We want government oversight of industry.
We want respect and consultation with First Nations.
We want equity and a fair chance for all people and all life.

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