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Paul Martin is bringing Canadians together Print E-mail
Written by Link Byfield   
Monday, 18 April 2005

I happened to be in Ottawa on business two weeks ago, and stayed over to observe the big April 9 "March for Marriage" on Parliament Hill.

I'm glad I did. What an extraordinary event.

The demonstration started at the Supreme Court building, and marched a block east along Wellington, to flood onto the flat wide lawn in front of Parliament's Peace Tower.

First, solemnly beating a drum, came a big honor guard of the Knights of Columbus with hats, swords and flags.

Behind them came a column of marchers with huge banners and thousands of placards, a mass of humanity twenty across and long, long, long. For what seemed like ages they just kept coming.

They were whites, blacks, browns and yellows. They were Catholics, Protestants, Orthodox, Mormons, Jews, Hindus, Sikhs, Muslims and Falun Gong, French and English. They wore turbans and headscarves and baseball caps.

Every race, creed and culture on earth seemed to be represented--and every core constituency of the eroding Liberal political coalition.

I met a friend with B'nai Brith who laughed and said it took Paul Martin to bring Canadian Jews and Muslims together for the first time.

For three hours they stood under a bright sun in little knots and clusters of ethnic and religious identity, all mixed up together, smiling, singing and cheering while one speaker after another hammered away that "marriage is a Canadian value."

Everywhere there were signs about God and marriage and the Bible and children.

A young boy kept circulating, provoking laughter and applause with a sign reading, "Paul Martin: Catholic by name -- Hypocrite by choice."

There was a tiny contingent of gay counter-protesters too, with signs saying things like "God loves gays." No argument about that. They might as well have brought posters of the Pope for all the difference they made.

By far the loudest cheer was not against Paul Martin, or gays, or Liberals. It was against the media.

In perhaps the most fiery speech of the day, Presbyterian Pastor Tristan Emmanuel challenged the media to give proper coverage to the rally. The crowd went absolutely nuts.

If conservatives detest the media, it's hard to blame them.

Although this rally drew a bigger turnout than any Parliament Hill political event in recent history, the Globe and Mail didn't report on it, and the National Post mentioned in only one toss-off sentence in a Canwest newspaper report about Steve Harper. And in that one sentence, the reporter put the attendance at "about 4,000." According to the RCMP (I checked) it was 15,000.

In fact it was the biggest political rally (this excludes Canada Day festivities) the Hill has seen in years.

That's why conservatives hate the media.

Instead of covering the Parliament Hill mega-march, "Canada's National Newspaper" ran a story about pro-gay marriage rallies last weekend that attracted "more than 200" in Vancouver and "almost 60" in Calgary.

Which makes you wonder, is the Globe in the news business or in politics? Do its socially liberal editors think that if they don't report an event, it didn't happen?

If so, they had better be careful. People who spend too long with their head in the sand eventually get kicked.

- Link Byfield

Link Byfield is chairman of the Edmonton-based Citizens Centre for Freedom and Democracy, and an Alberta senator-elect.
"Just Between Us" is a feature service of the Citizens Centre for Freedom and Democracy. The purpose of the Citizens Centre is to enhance freedom and democracy by enabling ordinary citizens to become active and effective on important issues outside the normal processes of party politics.

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