Saturday, January 23, 2010

Vancouver Protest; Thousands of Needles Lost in a Haystack

With the superlative hyping of these mass protests across Canada, I decided that I would visit the Vancouver chapter of Canadians Against Prorogation, excited to see some of the left coast's loonie fringe at their finest. I grabbed my camera, jumped in my car, and took off for downtown. I was listening to the radio en route where they said "we are receiving reports that thousands of people are protesting up Hornby street." But sadly there was a serious accident in the Stanley Park causeway and the Lion's Gate Bridge was shut down to vehicle traffic, so I had to "park'n walk". Thus I arrived at the Art Gallery just under an hour late. I still figured these thousands of people would be easy to find.

As you can see, I was greeted at the meeting place by a massive crowd in a groundswell of public anger (not simply a scattering of tourists taking their picture with the Olympic Clock).  There was nobody holding signs, no musical acts doing live shows, no spontaneous chanting, nothing.  So I figured that these many thousands of people had set off on foot from their initial meeting place.  Surely these thousands of people marching in harmony through the busy downtown core should be easy to find.

I walked up Georgia to GM Place, I walked up and down both Granville and Hornby to Pender the whole while gazing up and down the streets, and there were no protestors.  Finally I did happen to find a gathering of about 30-50 people protesting outside the courthouse a block from where the Prorogation Protest was set to meet.  As it turns out CAP double booked Hornby with Egyptian Christians Against Detention.

On my way home I decided to stop by Stanley Park, near the giant Olympic rings at Cole Harbour.  If there was a great place for these thousands of angry Canadians to congregate at the end of their long march, this must be the place.

Unfortunately there were no protestors at the end of that rainbow. I was very disappointed. I was hoping to see real live protestors frolicking about in their natural environment, but alas all I found were empty streets. As I made my way back across the Lion's Gate on foot, there was a feeling of sadness that I was not able to observe the clowns in action, but also a sense of amusement that I walked up and down the streets of downtown and other than some Canuck fans getting ready for the game, there was no significant gathering of people in sight. I did get a good laugh when I came home and checked The Province newspaper for a report. This is what they had to say about today.

In Vancouver, several thousand protesters urged Harper to get the government back to work.

A large throng marched in Vancouver’s Victory Square with critics saying the Conservatives’ move was anti-democratic and calculated to avoid heated questions during the 2010 Olympics.

One of the Vancouver march organizers, Trevor Fenton, said the move shows Canada is in a “full-blown constitutional crisis.”


  1. I actually took about 30 pictures, and some would have been fantastic had the lighting and focus been better. There were lots of empty streets. And the best part is that twice I was just a few short blocks from where the "many thousands of protestors" finally ended up, and saw no trace of them. My camera was the cheapest on the shelf at Sears 8 years ago, and a number of my pictures of Hornby street were a smidge too dark or blurred.

  2. Full-blown constipational crisis is more like it.
    That's a result of being so full of.....

  3. Tsk... I posted a comment and went away without typing the word verification.

    I am laughing away. This is too funny. So your newspaper report says: "several thousand protestors" eh?!
    When will these nitwits learn to stop telling such HUGE blatant lies. A few dozen show up and even if they want to massage the figures a bit, how about saying a couple of "hundred" but NO, not enough, never enough for the left.

  4. Media driven anti-Harper events.

  5. People, insult slinging will not get your comment posted.

  6. Fact, AM 730 was reporting "several thousands of people protesting on Hornsby". Fact, that quote at the bottom was copied and pasted directly from the Province website. Fact, those pictures were taken by me today as I circled a ten block radius in the downtown core looking for any sign of many thousands of people.

  7. Here we go; if you are looking to promote your left wing site, do it elsewhere. I am not going to be a vehicle for link dumping.

  8. Hahahaha!!!! Fantastic research! Hilarious! Usually there are more relaxed pot-smokers resting on the Library steps on any given Saturday than this. It was way to nice a day for anyone in Vancouver to waste time protesting.

    The local newspaper just copied the articles from Eastern Canada. They did not even show up, I guess!

    As for myself, I was running around buying bathroom tiles before the reno tax credit expires and stocking up on food and wine for the massive city shut-down. It took me 30 minutes to get home vs. 10 with the closed streets and little traffic.

  9. Yes, I arrived at the art gallery late because there was a serious car accident in Stanley Park that shut down the Lion's Gate Bridge. That's why I combed through the empty streets to find where the protest landed. Even though I was delayed by a serious car accident, I still assumed that it would be easy to find the several thousand people reported by AM 730 to be protesting on Hornsby.

  10. Likewise, the Ottawa rally was very skinny for the first hour and the "thousands" arriving just in time for Iggy, Layton and the TV cameras were all but gone by 3:07 despite it being advertised to go until 4.

    Yep, sounds pretty "grassroots" to me.

  11. I wonder if people in Iran were holding candlelight vigils for the suffering souls in Canada...

  12. That picture was NOT taken at the exact moment when I arrived at the Art Gallery. Next time you want to call in anonymous tips to the radio station with exagerated figures about your protest, tell them where you are going, not where you have been.

  13. For the record, I do not have a Facebook page and did not receive one of your formal invitations. I only made the decision to attend at the last minute and on my way out the door did a quick Google search to see where everyone was meeting. En route I listened to the traffic station that said thousands of people were marching on Hornby. But the Lion's Gate was shut down due to an accident so I was delayed. I admittedly arrived late to the meeting place, then combed the empty streets looking for a protest.

    Link dumping is not going to get your comment published.

  14. I found this blog through a google blogsearch of "Vancouver Protest," expecting to find some pictures of the rally. It was really well-publicized that the rally would be a march beginning at the Art Gallery and ending at Victory Square on Pender. I marched with over a thousand patriotic folks, and we stopped traffic en route to a two hour series of speeches and chants.

    Check your facts before suggesting nobody showed up -- it's not our fault you were late and ill-informed.

  15. Yes, Anonymous comments are more likely to be rejected, and a lot of it I have been doing in a deliberate attempt to piss you off.

    And you stopped traffic? Funny that there were no traffic jams anywhere downtown when I arrived on the scene. Even if you did stop traffic, do you really think that all those idling cars pumping destructive greenhouse gases into the atmosphere makes the world a better place?

  16. Interesting banter. I was at the Art Gallery. We left there shortly after 1 pm and there were definitely more than a thousand in the walk to Victory Square. I have seen lots of photos and it was here not copied from some other location. I'm in them. It was well attended and organized.
    Excellent in fact!

  17. You missed the action - first at the Art Gallery, then as a couple thousand people walked north, then east along Hastings, then on Pender, to rally in Victory Square. I was a block away, saw it and joined in. I'm glad you had a good experience walking the streets, we do have a beautiful city:)

  18. Anonymous, do you have any proof, ie: photographs, that there was an actual protest? SO far I have seen no proof. Other people I have asked in Vancouver saw nothing as well.

  19. I am so happy that you enjoyed yourself. I am sorry that I was delayed by a deadly car accident. I really did try hard to find you guys because I really wanted to take some pictures of the extremists among you.

  20. To be fair Langmann, I have deleted over a dozen "link dumps" with the lefties trying to draw traffic to their supporting sites. The other dozen I have rejected were childish insults, but given the age range of the Facebook Anti-Prorogation demographic, childish behavior is what I would expect.

    I feel honoured to have drawn the ire of such a distinguished group. Getting paid for page impressions is also a nice...

  21. "One of the Vancouver march organizers, Trevor Fenton, said the move shows Canada is in a 'full-blown constitutional crisis.'"

    This individual is clearly mistaken.

    Does he not understand that Proroguement is entirely Constitutional?

    Beyond that, you can't telepathically control the traffic, Iceman? Say it ain't so.

  22. Patrick, I really thought that I had that kind of power over time and space, but evidently I do not. Maybe God didn't want me to arrive on time, maybe he wanted me to arrive late and walk up and down the streets of downtown taking pictures of emptiness?

    But hey, I'm an agnostic Protestant who grew up attending the same brand of church (Trinity United) as President Obama. Surely I serve no useful to our mighty Lord. I always say "I don't believe in God, but I'm afraid of him."

    Perhaps when I was delayed by a fiery car accident, I should have given up and gone home? I figured that several thousands of people would still be there in the hour and thirty minutes it took me to get down Taylor Way, park, and walk 6 kilometers. I was wrong.

  23. I thought Conservatives defended freedom speech you censoring dick!!

  24. I guess the anti-prorogue protesters just don't have the stamina that we anti-coalition protesters had. We were there for a solid two hours or so.

    Kids these days. They never had to walk uphill both ways to school!

  25. So let me get this straight, you organized a rally that the Georgia Straight said began at 1pm at the Art Gallery, and you began marching minutes after the clock stuck one? And several thousand protestors marched several blocks and arrived there lickity split?

    From a protest tactics point of view, the moving protest is not the optimal way to accumulate the greatest number of people at a given location at a given time. The kid who planned this had a flawed strategy.

  26. I'm sorry Cody, but the constitution does not guarantee freedom of speech in my comment section, even if that makes me a "censoring dick".

    I have had dozens, nay hundreds of my own comments censored from Liberal blogs. I hardly expect the left to be pius about freedom to insult on websites.

  27. Besides, I thought you guys had the internet market monopolized? Surely you don't need the traffic that badly that you need to link dump on my site?

  28. "I'm just a regular Joe with a regular job. I'm your average white suburbanite slob. I like football and porno and books about war"

    As prophet Leary once said, "I'm an asshole."

  29. Loved the article in today's Ottawa Sun re protest on the Hill.
    Reporter says about 3500 showed up, but with people coming and going all the time, that raised the number to about 5000.

  30. So let me get this straight..."thousands" of people marched ...and yet those same "thousands" were no where to be seen an hour later...puleeze.. in a city the size of Vancouver, if they really "stopped" traffic, there would be some evidence of a rally or a march an hour later.

  31. I wish the media would do their job and ask Jack and Iggy, how many townhall meetings with their own constituents that they have held since the beginning of December. What about the other Liberal or NDP MPs? How many townhalls?

    This is a manufacture phoney outrage that does not do our democracy (and the main stream media) any good - as many many people see this as a phone political stunt!!!

  32. "I thought Conservatives defended freedom speech you censoring dick!!"

    I guess that "freedom of speech" Cody so vehemently demands doesn't run both ways as I was banned from the FB group for expressing my "freedom of speech".

    It is becoming blatantly obvious that freedom of speech in a socialists mind demands that that speech be ONLY what they think.

  33. Reall impressed with the MSM interviews with yesterdays organizers, they sound like 14 year old boys in a locker room!
    "Mine is bigger than yours is, na na na na na!"

  34. Iceman - I saw some pics of the Vancouver rally at the hard-left blogs. At the very most, and I am pretty generous in the mornings, it looks like about 300 - 400 strong.
    Vancouver is a city of tourists and when I visited your beautiful city a few years ago, walking down the streets it was easy to collide with an American tourist than an actual resident.
    A rally with the nuts screaming like banshees and having all sort of banners flowing and waving around is sure to get the tourists hanging around to look at the spectacle these silly lefties are displaying to everyone who will take notice. The people on the fringes of the photographs all seem to be amusedly looking at the banshees, that's what tourists do, they look.
    So, in conclusion... the rally in Vancouver has been contaminated with non-Canadian onlookers. The numbers put out by your news agencies are false.

  35. Brian Harding, OttawaJanuary 24, 2010 at 10:04 AM

    The claim that these protests were organized by parties is ludcrious.

    In Ottawa yesterday we had at least 3500 out even by the lowest accounts. When I spoke privately with the police on site, their average estimate was 5-7000.

    We did this with a budget of less than 3000 bucks that we raised through soliciting private donations. The two main organizers actually read Layton and Ignatieff the riot act before they spoke to ensure they stayed on point and didn't divert into typical party politics- as a conservative voter myself I was exceptionally pleased to see that. I spent much of the protest moving through the crowd and soliciting feedback, and the politics came a distant second to disgust with the prorogue and the lack of accountability and transparency it demosntrated.

    By shortly after 1:00 we had filled the concrete at Parliament and had overflowed onto the grass. There are plenty of photos available that show the scope of what we were able to bring out on a cold day in January. Frankly I was quietly skeptical going into it (and participating anyway based on principle), and I was very pleased to see our own expectations greatly exceeded. We had published in media releases an expectation of 1000-1500, and even by lowest estimates we more than doubled that. The nationwide count appears to have come out conservatively at around 25,000.

    Oppositioon pundits are attempting to compare our attendance with the total numbers on Facebook as opposed to what our own published expectations were for attendance.

    True success will be difficult to gauge; we can only assume we were successful when, years from now, the convention of prorogue has not been abused in a like manner. I suspect there was enough noise made that any future prime minister will think twice about pulling this kind of stunt to dodge Parliament. I'm content with that.

  36. I suppose it shows that the rallies weren't very well organized where they didn't have political or union backing at least. That being said, the low numbers as compared to other rallies are telling in and of themselves. This was a media driven event (though the Liberal partisans may deny it) that failed to get as many protestors as many other movements across Canada which did not have widespread media support.

    The basic fact of the matter is that prorogation is not a big deal. I do not think that Harper should have prorogued, but I'm not upset that he did it - simply because it really isn't a big deal.

  37. Yes Alberta Girl, I do find it ironic that people who censor themselves become that outraged when you reject their comments.

  38. Brian Harding of Ottawa - are you really a Conservative voter???

    Iceman, beware of such commentors. It is a well known fact that a lefty will pretend to be one of us by making remarks like this guy has done "as a conservative voter myself I was exceptionally pleased to see that." so he says.

    Give me a break. I was not born yesterday. This guy wants to show that although he is a conservative voter, he was one of the main organizers for a rally that spewed out hatred on our PM and on conservatives in general.
    I believe there were placards calling Harper, Hitler.
    So Brain Harding of Ottawa, you are hardly believed by me. As a conservative voter you also sound like one of the organizers,(I presume you were as you knew a lot about how much money was spent and "WE did this" and "WE did that" is coming pretty pat in your comment) and because I believe Conservative voters have more decorum and an abundance of sense, I declare you to be a lefty in the guise of a Conservative voter, because no matter what you thought of Harper, as a Conservative voter you would not be able to stomach placards showing Harper as Hitler.
    You can't fool everyone all the time.

  39. Brian,

    The lowest accounts have your Ottawa rally at 3,000 people -- the same as the lowest accounts for the anti-Coalition rally.

  40. Yes Maria, I had the same feeling as you on Mr. Harding. But he posted under a name and was at least civil. With some of the juvenile delinquincy I have been rejecting in the last 24 hours, Brian Harding was a breath of fresh air.

  41. Let's get some fact straight here.

    Olympic clock when we started marching said
    04 43 16
    since you delete links, I will not provide one.

    Yet your picture shows
    02 50 43

    From your own words, you showed up at the Vancouver Art Gallery one hour late,
    Fact: you were two hours late.

    By your own admission you did not even go to Victory Square.

    This is why I'll never support (money) any political party. You all lie or give out misinformation and when you are corrected or pointed in the right direction, you delete the links/comments that prove you wrong.

    It does not matter, which party you belong too. Whether it Cons, Libs, or NDP. You are all dishonest when it suits you.

    T. Brown
    BC, Canada

  42. T. Brown, you mistakenly assume that the picture I posted above at the Art Gallery was taken at the exact moment that I arrived. In fact I took a lot more pictures but as my camera is an aged piece of shit, several of my pictures were out of focus. I had to pick through for the clearest images.

  43. So you show up late, then take photos of where the rally WASN'T in order to prove there were not many rallying? A bit lame. I see no photos of Victory Square...I was late as well. But those of us who missed the starting point went to where the rally marched, and we found hundreds. The plan was quite clear if you were really interested in attending.

  44. I was driving towards downtown listening to AM 730 which was saying that they were recieving reports of several thousand protestors marching on Hornby. Who was calling the radio station to report several thousand when at best count there were a couple of hundred? Which by the way, is hardly an impressive number by Vancouver standards. The APC pulls at least that many if not more, likely from the same pool of people.

    When I ditched my car due to the bridge closure and set out on foot, all I had was my I-Pod which does not receive radio transmissions. At that point I was heading downtown looking for a gathering of several thousand people on Hornby. I walked up and down Hornby, then I walked up Georgia to GM Place, where I would have been a few short blocks from the protest and saw no sign of a protest. I walked down Hornby past Pender. My mistake was looking for thousands of people. Also why not stay at the Art Gallery, the site of a many a Vancouver protest? Instead you choose a location directly between the Sea bus terminal and GM Place on the day of a Canucks game.

  45. Giving away free food right in the middle of a Canuck fan migratory path on game day...

    Opportunistic if nothing else.

  46. People, as much as I love all of you pouring over this post like it is the Zapruder film, remember that I am a regular citizen with an online diary of opinion. I'm not the Globe and Mail, and I am not a registered member of any political party. I am a Libertarian who votes Conservative.

    Mr. Harding, I am not accepting your 700 word essays about how you grew into who you are today. Do that on your own site. Your right to say whatever you want on any website is not guaranteed in our constitution; but your right to have your own site to promote your opinion is.

    I don't care what people say about me, but if you want to call me a "propogandist", there is no law (moral or legal) that says I need to allow it to be posted on my own private site.

  47. "back and to the left, back and to the left, back and to the left, back and to the left"

  48. No idea about the protests, just wanted to say great pics lol. I miss Vancouver :( We took the kids for a few days in summer 2008 and hope to go back soon ;)

    Sorry for the thread- jack, resume please ;)

  49. Iceman, I watched the huge protest in the Prime Minister constituency office in Calgary on the Mother Corp What was shown was three men one with a Canadian Flag and the reporter. THe reporter had the audacity to say that maybe protesters got the time wrong and would probably show up later. CBC didn't give much coverage.

    Watched CBC broadcasting from Ottawa and all that was shown was Michael Iggnatieff giving his stump speech with his loyal minions standing behind him; never once did the camera pan through the crowd although this only got about five minutes of coverage.

    More MSM media hype.