#58 Brigitte DePape stands up to power

The young page who stood up in the Canadian Senate quietly holding a “STOP Harper” sign has become an instant icon of resistance.

Good for Brigitte DePape! Quietly playing the respectfully subservient servant of political appointees is, of course, the more acceptable role. She was hired to be a go-fer, to pass messages, make copies, fetch documents, bring water, and whatever else the Senators might want.

She behaved appropriately until a couple weeks remained of her stint as a page. Then she pulled out her octagonal red sign and held out her real sentiments for the world to see.

Media picked up on it immediately. So did politicians. Even the more progressive types, like Elizabeth May (Green Party) and Justin Trudeau (Liberal) blasted her for her stunt.

I understand that. After all, this was the throne speech. It’s supposed to be a dignified event. But hold on here. This is the same government that declared itself the “New Government of Canada” and the “Harper Government”. Not their right to do that. This is OUR government. Harper’s an elected representative of all of us, not the emperor.

I won’t list reasons this young woman may have decided Harper has to be stopped. Others have done that, as a quick Google of “Stephen Harper corruption” reveals. I’m just interested in one young woman’s decision to jump on a creative opportunity. She knew media cameras would be pointed her way. She pulled out her sign and became an instant celebrity with her quiet gesture of defiance.

Peaceful civil disobedience is a long tradition. No one is hurt. Nothing is damaged. The point is made.

Yes, she was disrespectful to the Senate and to the office of Prime Minister and even to the supporters watching on television. But, as she says, “Harper is disrespectful of the Canadian people”.

In this case it’s paying off handsomely for Brigitte DePape. She lost the last couple weeks of her Senate job, but prominent documentary maker Michael Moore offered her another one.

In response to reporters’ questions about his decision to hire her, Moore said, “I think that Canada and Canadians probably need to put aside the full respect thing and bring out their inner hockey stick and get to work on preventing their government from turning into a version of ours.”

Brigitte DePape, you give a lot of people hope.

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