THE MOVEMENT only had two weeks notice. The Canadian government thought there wouldn’t be time for anti-war protesters to mobilise—they were wrong.
Within hours of hearing that Bush had been invited to Canada by prime minister Paul Martin, anti-war activists met in Ottawa to plan his “unwelcome”. A call went out across the country.
Travelling by plane, train and automobile, people converged on the capital in their thousands on the first day of Bush’s visit, 30 November.
Some 26 coaches came from southern Ontario, and 22 from Montreal and Quebec.
Over 15,000 people crowded the narrow streets of downtown Ottawa for the midday demo.
Deafening chants of “George Bush go home!” accompanied the toppling of a 12 foot papier mache statue of Bush. An evening candlelit vigil against the Iraq war drew an even bigger crowd.
In almost 30 cities and towns across Canada people hit the streets in solidarity with protests in Ottawa.
The following day, while Bush delivered a speech at Pier 21 in Halifax, an incredible 4,000 people demonstrated outside—the largest anti-war demonstration ever in Halifax.
Paul Martin wants to cosy up to Bush and sign up to the Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) scheme. But the scheme and the Iraq war remain very unpopular.
There is a growing movement in support of US war resisters who are seeking refuge in Canada.
As the movement chanted in the streets, “George Bush, go away—let the war resisters stay!”