Today I had the privilege to attend a public gathering promoting the construction of an LRT in Waterloo Region. This was held in Waterloo’s Town Square, right where they held the Anti-Prorogation Rally eleven months ago. This event was as grassroots as you can get. A bunch of guys meeting on an online forum, frustrated at all the bad press the proposed Waterloo Regional LRT was receiving during the election campaign, basically said to each other, “hey, why don’t we have a rally?” followed by, “sure! how does Sunday, December 5 sound?”
One month later, over 200 people showed up in Uptown Waterloo to defend something that supposedly had no friends.
Of course, I took the kids out to the event. As with the anti-prorogation rally, I thought it was important to show Vivian and Nora what the democratic process looks like. And I have to say that it feels good, especially speaking out in favour of a positive initiative (the LRT, in case anybody is unclear), instead of speaking out against a government mistake (prorogation). The kids were excited that they might be getting something for their efforts down the line.
It was also encouraging to see a number of politicians at this event (they were nowhere to be seen at the anti prorogation rally. I saw Kitchener mayor Carl Zehr, the MPP for Kitchener Centre John Milloy, Regional Chairman Ken Seiling and Regional Councillor Jean Haalboom, plus more. Their presence certainly spoke well of the organizers’ abilities to bring attention to the rally, and I think it gave the rally a greater sense of urgency. These politicians had come here to see for themselves the breadth and depth of support LRT actually had. And I think we delivered.
Vivian, Nora and I had to leave a bit early (an hour long demonstration in the cold is a little hard for a five-year-old and a two-year-old to take, though they remained in good spirits), but I feel good that I’ve shown them the positive that people gathered together in one place can do.