Facebook group now has more than 200,000 members and protests are being planned in cities across Canada. Updated
Ottawa (21 Jan. 2010) - The grassroots backlash against Stephen Harper's decision to shut down Parliament will be on national display this Saturday when citizens take to the streets to protest in more than 40 communities across the country.
Citizens everywhere are protesting the decision by Harper - for the second year in a row - to shut down Parliament for partisan Conservative Party purposes and bring the entire public business of the country to a halt.
By doing so, Harper has avoided key parliamentary activities such as the Afghanistan inquiry into the torture of prisoners and he has also wiped all legislation off the order paper. MPs were originally scheduled to resume work on Jan. 25.
To date more than 200,000 Canadians have joined a Facebook group opposing the prime minister's suspension of Parliament – a number that is growing with each passing day. Grassroots demonstrations are also being organized in a number of cities across the country.
These are the communities where demonstrations are being planned so far: Antigonish, Barrie, Belleville, Bolton, Calgary, Charlottetown, Edmonton, Fredericton, Guelph, Halifax, Hamilton, Huntsville, Inverness, Kelowna, Kingston, London, Mississauga, Moncton, Montreal, Newmarket, North Bay, Oakville, Orangeville, Oshawa-Whitby, Ottawa, Owen Sound, Penticton, Peterborough, Prince Rupert, Quebec City, Quinte, Regina, Saint John, Saskatoon, Sault Ste. Marie, St. John’s, Stratford, Sudbury, Sydney, Thunder Bay, Toronto, Vancouver, Vernon, Victoria, Waterloo, Whitehorse, Windsor, Winnipeg and Yellowknife.
Meanwhile, rallies are also planned in several centres outside Canada, including Dallas, Texas, London, England and New York City.
The federal political parties are also making their voices heard on the issue.
The Liberal Party has been running radio and print ads saying Harper's tactics show that he has "something to hide" and that he is presenting a "holiday gift to himself" by closing Parliament's doors.
The federal NDP has also expressed outrage. Party House Leader Libby Davies says the ongoing recession in Canada is the most obvious reason why MPs should be on the job and not at home in their ridings 'thinking' about it as Harper has suggested as one of his main reasons for proroguing.
Both the Liberals and the New Democrats say they will keep working as best they can during the recess despite the absence of Harper and his Conservative caucus members.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE
• No Prorogue - MPs back to work on Jan. 25
• Canadians Against Proroguing Parliament-Rally for the Cause!
• Extensive list of Facebook links for rallies across Canada
• How Harper is circumventing democracy in Canada