JAMES O'CONNOR/BRANDON SUN
About 80 people protested outside Brandon-Souris Conservative MP Merv Tweed’s office on 18th Street North in Brandon Saturday at the “It’s Outta Hand in Harperland Rally.”The event was organized by Westman Citizens United.
A new political activist group called Westman Citizens United held a rally outside Conservative MP Merv Tweed’s office on Saturday afternoon.
Some people were lured in off the street by a protester with signs. (JAMES O'CONNOR/BRANDON SUN)
Approximately 80 people attended the "It’s Outta Hand in Harperland Rally" outside the Brandon-Souris MP’s closed office in a strip mall on 18th Street North.
Patrick Desjarlais, who helped organize the rally, said the traditional partisan means of trying to get alternative views at the policy tables are not successful.
"We are trying to create a voice for people who feel that the stranglehold the current regime has in our region isn’t healthy for our democracy. We need to have a plurality of voices in order to create policies that are representative of all Canadians," Desjarlais said.
Paul St. Pierre, 48, of Brandon said he came to the rally because of the complete lack of transparency in the actions the Conservative government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper has taken over the past couple of years.
"The very budgetary monitors that they’ve put in are not allowed to investigate and determine exactly how much money is about to be spent in the fighter jet purchase fiasco," St. Pierre said.
Ryan Lowe of Brandon said he came to the rally because Harper is running rampant on our democracy and paying little respect to parliament.
"Harper has, to many minds, restricting ideas that guides how he governs — like he thinks the earth is only 10,000 years old, which is somewhat unusual from a normal person’s point of view," Lowe said.
The reason Jude Proctor of Brandon went to the rally was because of the recent passing of the omnibus crime bill.
"The government is being made smaller and it is becoming less serviceable to the people. They are saying that we need to reduce programs because we can’t afford them, but we can’t afford them because of the things we are spending our money on such as the mega-prisons they are planning on building," said Proctor.
Speakers at the event included high school student Nathan Grills, BU professor Bill Paton, Brandon-Souris NDP riding association president Vanessa Hamilton and agri-activist Fred Tait. Local performer Mariah Phillips sang "O Canada."
Desjarlais said Westman Citizens United is a loose alliance of about 30 people, but they are working to become a more formal organization with membership and board structure.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition June 25, 2012