Monday, August 22, 2005

Picketing Paul

First - the first manager-run CFL game and now this: Paul Martin had a fundraising bbq here today. keeps picketing interesting - let me tell you!
but not to get too far ahead: on saturday we hit the eskimos - argos game to hand out postcards people can sign and mail to pm the pm supporting cbc employees. sounds simple, but in a province where our premier has an open disdain for the cbc, and has expressed it numerous times, i knew there may be some that are less than friendly to our cause. not surprisingly i was right. it wasn't easy as it sounds getting people to sign those darn things, but we did. of course, we got the usual smattering of negativity: "get back to work" (uh - can't... we're locked out), "i don't support strikers" (uh - again... LOCKED OUT), "i don't want any" (?), and the usual people who just don't like the cbc. but on the other end of it, there was lots of support: union people, people who miss radio and tv, and people who love the cbc. that made it worthwhile. also, one of the edmonton journal columnists, scott mckeen was there to get material for today's column. (it's good by the way - i'd post a link, but you gotta pay to get it). anyhoo, other than gathering the signatures, things were pretty quiet. portia (our cnow host) , zooboy (our "do everything" guy) and i were approached by security to leave the area as we were were trying to get around the stadium. yes, we were just trying to get around. no picketing, no handing out anything... once security realized this, he was willing to let us pass, but it was a bit humbling to say the least.

that brings us to today - and the PM's BBQ.
-as an aside: we sure are getting a wide variety of picket locations in - and later this week, we're hitting edmonton's fringe festival - a typically cbc friendly crowd.

before the bbq, our two intrepid legislative reporters, kim trynacity and john archer hit up martin's press conference. kim got to ask the first question (carried live on newsnet): comments on the cbc lockout please!? according to kim, pm says he's a fan, but that he's not going to intervene in the labour dispute. great.
so at the bbq, we found ourselves sharing picket space with several other labour-challenged groups: telus workers (they say they're locked out, telus says they're on strike - we share the downtown picket corridor with them currently), federal corrections employees (still not sure if they were there in sympathy for telus or if they had their own issues), two people from the nurses union, i think i saw a postal workers sign, and two people carrying placards pushing for alberta seperation (???). it seemed like a complete gong show at times! the other groups had megaphones and whistles and by the end of it, i had a screaming headache and a burning desire to rip my own eardrums out.
by the time martin showed up, there was the usual media circus and then the crowd got a bit ugly. well, maybe not ugly, but slightly unattractive. when the gates to the parking lot closed, this wave of people pushed towards them-- most of us cbc-ers shimmied to one side and continued to chant for a while, but i think thanks to the great previous work done by kim and john, we felt heard. we also had one of martin's aids present him with two full baskets of signed postcards from the game.
the telus people were still chanting when i left. one of them was screaming "oh sure, you'll talk to cbc, but not us!!" so much for solidarity.

if there's one thing i'm learning in all this (besides that whistles are EVIL), it's that my coworkers rock. i knew this before, but it's been solidified - for the most part they are the heartiest bunch of people, making the best of this situation. makes this a whole lot easier to do.


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