Brigitte DePape – Two Words – Fifteen Minutes of Fame – Hope for Canadian Democracy and Young People – Editorial by Jamie Gilcig – June 4, 2011

Cornwall ON – Brigette DePape  (Bridgette Marcelle) entered our Canadian history books by a simple act of defiance.   It was gorgeous.   A simple sign with two words on it.   She sacrificed a great job to own that moment of our shared history and gained a National and in many cases International platform to share her views.

It doesn’t really matter what her views are; whether we agree with them or not or if they are viable or not, but it gives me hope.

You see in the near three years I’ve been working this online rag I’ve become jaded by the lack of caring I see by people when it comes to politics in this country whether at the municipal, provincial, or National level.  People just don’t seem to care and the younger you slide the scale the lower the voter turnout.

It’s sad and frightening as this is our future and if we don’t participate we lose that choice to people who many times we wouldn’t agree with.    If ten percent of the those that complain about society’s ills voted more often our country would be a different place.

So today you can see Facebook filling up with Bridgette Depape pages.   This young woman changed something.   Not sure if it will mean anything in the big picture, but what a wonderfully hopeful day for our Democracy here in Canada.

Can you imagine what would happen to this young women in some countries aren’t Democratic?   Or the countries that she’d never have a chance to be a page in?


“This country needs a Canadian version of an Arab Spring,” she wrote, “a flowering of popular movements that demonstrate that real power to change things lies not with Harper but in the hands of the people, when we act together in our streets, neighbourhoods and workplaces.”

And that’s how Democracy works.  You need to make change happen.

“Would it be better if people did not protest at all?” she wrote. “What if we all stayed in our comfortable homes, transfixed to our big screen TVs, ignoring the reality around us?”

“Not only is protesting important, it is our fundamental right,”

I tell people pick an issue that’s something they are passionate about and get involved.  This is how change and the betterment of Canada can occur.  From one simple peaceful act; create discussion, and then maybe, just maybe, enough people will listen and change can happen.

Was what Brigette DePape did good for Democracy in Canada? You may make up to 2 choices.

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Winnipeg gets a NHL team and this Manitoba hit the headlines in the same week….  What’s going on in the Prairies?   This country needs more Brigitte DePape’s.

You can post your comments below.

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  1. I grew up when the thinking was get a job, do your best, and you may be there for life. That began to change in the 80’s, now if you are in a job for a 10 years you are underemployed or considered a dinosaur.
    The world has changed, but a truth should be followed, if you are unhappy at work, put up with it or move on. I am disapointed in youth who try to affect change in this way. That woman in Brantford 20 years ago who went topless helped to give women the right to be topfree like men. How did that really help society? Gave more Lawyers work!

    An unknown Justin Bieber posts a YouTube video and in record time tackles poverty in his family for a lifetime. This creates many more hopefulls without talent to try, does that help or hurt their mental health…..

    Green Peace activists scale the Parliment buildings to unfurl a banner, get on the news but change nothing. .
    An English or French only person in Canada would not have been given that Page job, and she just so easlily did a dishonest thing.

    Canada is not some far away country crying out and dying for democracy, work the system from within baby, the quick fix will not work

  2. I totally disagree with Eric but then that is nothing new. Civil disobedience is probably the only way the Con-Cons will listen to anything the general public has to say. What Brigitte Depage did is heroic. It was a non-violent expression of non-confidence in Stephen Harper. Compare that to the actions the nihilists at the G-8/G-20 summit. It would seem that the only way to get significant change in our government is through civil disobedience and our history is ripe with examples.

  3. Reg, what Brigitte Depage did is DISRESPECTFUL end of story.

  4. Author

    Now Tammy if it were Queen’s Park and she said Stop McGuinty would you feel the same way? 🙂

  5. I for one would be as equally concerned if it was any legislature with any party in power. Number 1, our elected representitives of all stripes expect and should have a certain level of security and decorum (wether they give that back or not is not at question). Number 2, Mz DePape is an an employee of the Crown and with that comes many responsibilities.

    If she were a non employee guest to the gallery, it would be a non violent expression.

  6. I thought it was disrespectful for the Con-Cons to lie to parliament and be held in contempt of parliament. I do believe Ms Lepage’s stunt was minor in compared to that. She put her job on the line for her protest and she was rightly fired. If it even slightly galvanizes Canadian youth to become engaged in politics it is well worth her effort.

  7. Disrespectful, given the occasion: with Tammy on this. Otherwise, Ms DePape’s sentiment is right on.

  8. when i saw what she done my eyes filled up with tears…i don’t care what anyone says about the girl but one thing you cannot take from her and that’s her huge set of gonads that it took to do what she did!! my fiance and i were away and did not get to vote. we would not have voted for harper that is for certain…he’s a snake and it’s as obvious as the nose on your face!! it’s sad that so many canadians got suckered into re-electing. i could not believe “we” got him back in when we had the perfect chance to get rid of him once and for all!! in conclusion my hat goes of to this girl. way to go and keep up the good work. i read somewhere when harper was elected “welcome to the americanization of canada” and that is so true..but its common knowledge..everywhere in the world hate americans. why the hell would we let that snake do the same to our wonderful country?!

  9. Given the disrespect (contempt) that the Harper government has for Parliament, I’d say that Ms. Depape’s protest seems pretty minor. In any case, she was rightfully fired from her job, and will likely be offered jobs by either of the more left-leaning parties. Good for her.

  10. The people voted. Now suck it up and move on. It was VERY DISRESPECTFUL!!!

  11. Brigitte Depage, thank you for showing a great deal of disrespect. It is required. I hope your example is followed. Carry on without restraint.

  12. The Con-cons lied, cheated and bullied their way into power. They practiced personal character assassination as standard party policy against their rivals. They diverted government funds and suspended democracy for their own partisan purposes. They have kicked duly elected MPs out of their party on unsubstantiated accusations of wrongdoing and then refused to admit their error.

    What is to respect?

  13. Excellent summary of the “Con-cons”, Reg.

    To your question “What is to respect?” I would say the Senate (however imperfectly constituted), Parliament and the GG. They need our respect as institutions of our democracy. As to Harper & Co., let them go to the devil if they so choose.

  14. Reg, your statement “The Con-cons lied, cheated and bullied their way into power” is absolutely false! The Conservative Party led by Stephen Harper were duly elected to a MAJORITY GOVERNMENT by the citizens of Canada. Like Len Pidgeon says “Suck it up and move on!”

  15. Stan “The Conservative Party led by Stephen Harper were duly elected to a MAJORITY GOVERNMENT by LESS THEN 40% of citizens of Canada.”

    There, fix it for you.

  16. Michael, So what! They were declared “The Winners” by Elections Canada. What-if’s don’t count. As previously stated elsewhere in this column “suck it up and move on!”

  17. I think she’s fantastic, i wish this happened more often, she’s wonderful!

  18. There seems to be a lot of people who think that because the Reformatories have won their majority (with 40% of the vote), everybody should sit down and shut up for the next four years. That ain’t gonna happen.

  19. Agreed, if the opposition doesn’t make themselves heard, who will serve to “watch the watchmen”? Way to go, Ms. Depape, non-violent protest is the best way that average people can participate in our democracy.

  20. “Suck it up,” say the suckers for the party of bullies. Fine, but don’t expect us to roll over.

  21. There seems to be a lot of rhetoric about the Conservatives winning their majority with only 40% of the vote. It should be noted that the NDP didn’t make that amount and Liberals neither. Go back to sleep for another 4 years and we’ll see what happens then!

  22. SNC-Lavalin (TSX: SNC) has seen a slump in prison construction projects in places like Libya, but I’m sure the Reformatories will feed them lots of business over the next few years. Why invest in affordable housing when crime is spiraling out of control, and we need mega prisons to lock up all these new criminals? Apart from a desperate need for more prisons, we need to spend billions fighting wars on drugs, and terrorists….. or roll the clock back a bit and include Communists and hippies. I really hope that Harper has a sense of decency buried where we haven’t seen it yet, because he has four years to do whatever the hell he wants.

  23. Has anybody had the time to drive around the entire city at various times of the day. For some reason the city is bustling with traffic and pedestrians moving about the city.

    See how full retail outlets for what is usually the time of day people are working.

    Take a close look at how people are dressed the types of vehicles that are driven, what they purchase in stores and the amounts.

    There is rarely an old clunker or rarely are people poorly dressed and most people are not leaving stores with only essentials.

    That raises the question as to how poor are our poor people?

    Furtz seems to think mega prisons are a bad thing, would they not employ more people? Would construction not employ a multitude of professionals in every trade as well as general labourers?

  24. Author

    Smee anyone that think building prisons is a focus for unemployment should probably be a resident of one.

  25. Smee, I think that simply taking a glance at a commercial strip in a Canadian urban center doesn’t provide the clearest insight into the conditions of Canada’s poor. The best example that comes to mind would be Dundas Street East in downtown Toronto, Ontario. At the intersection of Dundas and Yonge Streets, you have Yonge-Dundas Square, a public square surrounded by a mecca of shopping and ritzy dining experiences such as The Eaton Centre, Nike, Adidas, Urban Outfitters, Zara, Baton Rouge, Hard Rock Cafe, Starbucks, etc.. Toronto’s wealthy consumer population can be seen in the latest H&M fashions drinking $5 coffee beverages from independent coffee retailers. If you are to drive 5 minutes east, you enter Regent Park, Canada’s most densely populated subsidized housing community, home to some of the most deplorable conditions in any urban center in Canada. This community has seen teens gunned down on their doorsteps (Homicides of Sealand White (15) and Jermaine Derby (19), October 9th, 2010, Homicide of Nicholas Yombo (18), November 29th, 2010), has a lucrative illicit drug and sex trade, and belongs in one of the busiest Police Divisions within the Toronto Police Service jurisdiction. As an volunteer outreach worker in this community, I have seen what negative impact social funding cuts can have on vulnerable communities. Harm reduction programs (needle exchange, safe sex workshops), educational programs, employment resources, recreation and fitness programs all ensure that the most at-risk members of this community have the opportunity to develop skills that can end cyclical poverty today, however cuts from members our municipal, provincial and federal levels of government have had some devastating impacts on this community. Social programs help encourage prevention and rehabilitation. Super Prisons help to encourage offenders to re-offend and offers no solution to the problems facing people living in complex socio-economic circumstances. This justification would make me stand in front of the House of Commons, pleading for someone to stop Mr. Harper before all level of governments strip these communities of what may ultimately save them: Opportunity.

  26. Anyone who whines that the CPC won with 40% of the popular vote wasn’t paying attention when the Liberals did the same thing 10 years ago.

    By the way, the last time the LPC won with 50%+ of the popular vote was 1953. By this metric, there hasn’t been a legitimate LPC government in almost 60 years. Conversely, the CPC under Mulruney had a popular mandate in 1984 (27 years ago).

  27. Not a question of whining, Don from BC. More like outrage that 40% should give power for the next four years to the CPC or Contempt Party of Canada.

  28. PJR: And this is any different from previous government how? How many people were similarily outraged with the LPC or Lying Party of Canada getting a mandate with less than 50%? Or the BQ becoming official opposition in the 90s, even though the only represented ONE province.

    That’s the way our system works. Suck it up, shirley.

  29. This is almost hilarious. Harper is going to use the $10,000/hour government jet to attend the big hockey game in Boston this evening. Thousands of jobs are about to disappear to get the deficit under control. King Stephen is really good at flipping the bird at Canadians now that he has absolute power.

  30. Don from BC: Thank you for conceding my point—outrage, not whining.

  31. As for lying, Don from BC, the CPC formed out of a broken pledge are champions.

  32. My views here are not meant to lift up the actions of Brigitte Depage to that of a demigod or a saint, but, the world has needed a voice and action similar to her’s during the 20th Century. Pick any event that led the world to catastrophic results.

    My sincere heart-felt thank you to all the Brigitte Depage’s in Canada.

  33. Brigitte is a Hero.

    Disrespectful of our democracy? What democracy?

    Wake up kids, your generation has run out of time.

    No jobs, student debt, global warming, austerity. Parliament has no respect for you why would you respect them.

    The little work that’s left is either in flipping burgers at MacDonalds or flipping junk investments on Bay St. Our mineral wealth in this country is just being stripped mined out of places like Labrador City and Fort Mac and loaded on to boats or into pipe lines leaving the country with no added value (or jobs) being sold to our repugnant totalitarian economic partners.

    What’s left of Ontario’s manufacturing base will soon be relocated to Mexico thanks to NAFTA and the likes.

    Its too late for piecemeal change the process is broken and that’s the way the 1% like it.

    So go back to watching the game and stay in the fog and wait for democracy to work things out for you.

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