Kamloops protest draws small numbers

MICHELE YOUNG / Kamloops Daily News
March 11, 2012 12:00 AM

A few people and a few signs - the Kamloops protest against the federal Conservatives' robocall scandal was small, but the intent was big.

Six adults and four children gathered at the corner of Tranquille and Leigh roads Sunday afternoon to hold up signs decrying the Harper government and demanding justice.

It was a much smaller version of protests being held across the country Sunday - protests objecting to the use of electronic phone calls to direct voters to the wrong locations on voting day.

The rallies called for a full independent parliamentary inquiry and criminal investigation into the election fraud, all the way up to Prime Minister Stephen Harper himself. Protesters also wanted byelections in affected ridings, if not a full national election.

Elections Canada has received complaints from more than 31,000 Canadians about robocalls made to them during the last federal election. About 42,000 people have signed an online petition for a public inquiry into the matter.

Arriving at the Kamloops rally site, Theresa Edstrom said she'd like to see the Harper get ousted from office as a consequence of the scandal.

"I think people need to re-vote," she said. "This is our future we're talking about."

Becky Plecas said the rally was a first for her.

"I've never done anything like this before," she said, keeping an eye on her four children as she spoke.

"This is my country. If I don't fight, who else is going to fight?"

Plecas said she used to vote Conservative, but has become increasingly disappointed with the party since it won a majority last year.

"It seems like it's crime after crime after crime," she said.

Local federal NDP candidate Michael Crawford turned up after hearing about the rally Sunday morning. He spoke to some of the protesters about their points and discussed the robocall incident with them.

Tara Pastro said the protest isn't about the Conservatives, it's about protecting Canadian democracy.

"Our democracy has been compromised," she said.

Elections Canada is conducting an investigation into the robocall issue, but even that has some people watching with skepticism, she said.

"I hope we can trust Elections Canada will do their job."


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