Students take to the concrete beach to rally
By Sara Marett
Student political groups on campus are preparing to meet politician Jacques Parizeau with a strong message and a proud Canadian flag when he visits Western next Wednesday.
The Young Liberal, Reformers and Progressive Conservative clubs are organizing an "I am Canadian" rally to greet the Quebec politician and express their views about a united Canada.
The political clubs have been distributing flyers on campus this week reading, "Hey Parizeau, packed your earplugs?" and advertising the rally which will take place on the University Community Centre's Concrete Beach.
David Palumbo, member of the Young Liberal club, said they decided to organize the rally to show Parizeau what it means to be Canadian. "This is someone who is using propaganda to break up our country and is selling his book in the process," he said.
Palumbo said the purpose of the rally is not to disrupt Parizeau's lecture and claims the fact the event is occurring simultaneously with Parizeau's visit is pure coincidence.
The rally is more about showing the media we care about a unified Canada than confronting Parizeau, said Ray Novak, director-at-large for the Reformers club, adding several members of the media have been invited to attend the rally.
"We don't get an opportunity to support a unified Canada everyday, so we should take advantage of this situation," he added.
Jaimie Beauregard, director of outreach for the Progressive Conservative club, said the fact the rally was organized by political groups is irrelevant and everyone at Western should participate. She added a number of PC club members will also attend Parizeau's lecture.
Bob Klanac, manager of marketing and services for the University Students' Council, said he approached the Liberal club when the flyer came to his attention and suggested they book the Concrete Beach space for the evening as assurance they would not disrupt the event in the McKellar Room in the University Community Centre.
"I find it an inappropriate response for something that is intended to provoke dialogue," Klanac said, adding Parizeau will not be promoting a book but rather discussing issues surrounding the future of Canada and Quebec.
David Dose, senior partner at Vox Management who has organized Parizeau's visit, said the Parti Quebecois member is not on a political campaign.
He said if students want to bring issues to the attention of Parizeau they would be better off attending the lecture and asking him questions personally. "I'm not saying they shouldn't have a rally, but nobody is going to learn anything by shouting."