Halloween spirits to visit McRae, Duncan

A procession of Halloween spirits will deliver community messages to MP John Duncan and MLA Don McRae on Monday.

A GROUP OF about 150 people plastered Post-It notes of protest recently on windows at the Courtenay offices of MLA Don McRae and MP John Duncan.

A procession of Halloween spirits will deliver community messages to MP John Duncan and MLA Don McRae on Monday.

The messages had been posted on the legislators’ offices in a peaceful direct action at the end of last month when 150 polite but determined people marched up one side of Fifth Street and down the other.

Their grievances were many and varied, ranging from concern over the proposed Raven coal mine, to inaction on homelessness to protection of clean water, but they had come together to take all these issues directly to their political representatives.

By posting a series of complaints, requests and suggestions for change on the office windows of Duncan and McRae, the marchers expressed their frustration at governments’ lack of responsiveness to citizens’ concerns.

The 167 Post-it notes addressed to John Duncan included 71 against the coal mine, 23 about democracy, 12 about environmental issues, nine about clean water,  seven about the proposed Gateway oil pipeline, and seven calling for peace.

At Don McRae’s office, the windows were rapidly covered in 178 multi-colored notes. These included 73 against the coal mine, 31 about democracy, 20 about the environmental issues, eight about the need for parks and eight about rights to clean water.

A number of messages at both offices expressed concerns about protection of wild salmon, preservation of parks, free trade, food security, affordable housing and the gas station being built on Dyke Road.

The organizers of the march were the newly formed Comox Valley Peaceful Direct Action Coalition comprised of a variety of local organizations including churches, environmental groups and social justice organizations; united in their frustration with the lack of accountability by all levels of governments to the citizens they serve.

The coalition’s main purpose is to educate the Comox Valley public on its rights and responsibilities in relation to peaceful protest and peaceful direct action. Their stated goal is to mobilize hundreds of Comox Valley citizens to relearn that peaceful direct action is a fundamental democratic right.

On the Friday night preceding “Post-it Parade” the coalition hosted a town hall meeting with 450 people who gathered to listen to Maude Barlow, president of the Council of Canadians, Leo McGrady, a civil right lawyers who wrote the first Protester’s Guide to Civil Disobedience in B.C., and Tarah Millen, a Comox Valley activist who works with Sea Shepherd Society internationally to protect marine wildlife.

The message of the upcoming Halloween action is “Honour the spirits of the community, or it may come back to haunt you.” The symbolic delivery of the Post-it notes will be followed by face-to-face meetings with Duncan and McRae to review the concerns that have been expressed by the citizens.

Any citizen wishing to help deliver the messages is invited to join the group at 3 p.m. on Halloween Monday at the lawn in front of the Courtenay courthouse.

For more information, contact Kel Kelly at 250-337-8348 or kelkelly55@yahoo.ca.

— Comox Valley Peaceful Direct Action Coalition

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