Aug 15

July 3, 2013 – Week #29

Tamara with warships bad for oceans

At the start of my protest, a shipyard employee came to the crosswalk and said to me, “I agree with your signs.”

“Thanks,” I replied and told him a little about my protest.

Then he said, “I’m not responsible for the federal government wanting to build warships. I just work here.”

I told him that I thought that we are all responsible in some way, “Canadians voted for the Harper government. The shipyard union didn’t object to the warship contract and didn’t put pressure on the government to build something else. There aren’t enough citizens standing up to oppose this,” I said.

Then two more shipyard workers came up to me and also said that they agreed with my signs. I asked them how they were doing.

One of the workers said that he wasn’t going to be working at the Irving Shipyard for much longer. There is not very much work right now and more layoffs are expected he explained.

“What is going on in there,” he said pointing to the shipyard, “is not what is portrayed in the media.”

The light changed and they crossed the street.

A few minutes later, a naval engineer in his late 50s walked by and said, “I agree with you.”

“Really,” I exclaimed, “Wow! I didn”t expect that. Why?”

“Because combat is a small part of what the navy does. What the navy needs are new joint supply ships to deliver humanitarian aid. That’s what the need is now and is going to be in the future,” he explained.

The runner ran by and waved. After many months of protesting, the runner has finally warmed up to me a bit. I had told him that I ran the Bluenose Marathon in my protest shirt and I think he respects my feat and now acknowledges me when I protest.

Toward the end of my protest, a young shipyard worker drove into the gate, pulled over and started to talk to me from his car. I walked over and he said to me through his window, “What you need to be worried about are volcanoes not climate change. It’s a hoax. You should watch the documentaries on Youtube.”

I said to him that it in the opinion of thousands of scientist worldwide that it was undeniable that we are facing severe environmental degradation and global warming and that it is one of our greatest human security challenges along with poverty. Warships will not help with climate change and they certainly won’t help with exploding volcanoes.

A couple more shipyard workers drove by and yelled at me to get a job.

A Metro newspaper van and a CTV news SUV drove by – neither media outlet has covered my protest.

At 1:00 p.m., two female Irving employees walked by. They always exude an “uncomfortable” vibe toward me and I always say to them “Happy Wednesdays against Warships.”

14 honks and waves of support and 5 thumbs down, head shakes and swears.

Dedication – To the truth tellers: Horace Campbell and Clare Daly. Horace Campbell is a Professor of African American studies and political science at Syracuse University. He gave this incredible interview on Democracy Now! about President Obama’s visit to South Africa. Listen to it here: “Obama Takes “Imperial Tour” of Africa as World Honors Ailing Mandela”.

Clare Daly is an elected member of the Irish Parliament. She gave this 5-minute riveting speech condemning President Obama during his visit to Ireland. She called Obama “a war criminal and the hypocrite of the century” Watch it here.

Mar 05

February 27, 2013 – Week #12

Kelly and Healther

A beautiful sunny day! Today is the 3-month mark of my weekly protest against the warships.

A young military guy drove by in his car, slowed down and said out his window, “You weren’t here last week”.

“Yes, I was,” I replied, “Please read my blog.” I found it interesting that some people are now expecting me to be here at noon every Wednesday.

A CBC news truck and then the CTV news truck drove by but didn’t stop – neither media outlet has covered my protest nor has raised any opposition in their coverage of the (war)shipbuilding contract. Not once since our Bush protest in 2004 has the CBC covered any peace story that I have sent them. Too often, the local CBC has been an uncritical echo chamber for the federal government instead of a public broadcaster.

A few minutes later, Kelly and Heather showed up to stand for peace with me. They were so positive and energetic and would wave at cars and trucks going by while holding up signs. Kelly is an environmental consultant with water expertise. She is looking for a full-time green job that puts her knowledge and skills to use for local communities and the protection of the natural environment. Heather is a strong feminist grandmother who is passionate about federal investment in renewable energy, mental health and poverty reduction. We agreed that the federal government should be investing in those things and not warships.

At 1:00 p.m., I said “OK, protest is over, let’s head over to Julien’s Café now.”

“No,” Kelly replied, “Let’s wait a couple more minutes. I see more trucks coming. Let’s get them to honk so they can hear it in the shipyard!” Sure enough she got the trucks to honk loudly!

We got 23 honks and 17 waves – a record of support! Only 1 finger and 3 angry looks.