Protest: A group of Shuswap residents gather at Salmon Arm’s Ross Street Plaza on Thursday

Singing for change

Harperman: YouTube song critical of Prime Minister makes debut in town.

“Who controls our Parliament? Harperman, Harperman.

Who squashes all dissent?

Harperman, Harperman”

About 50 people, including the nine on stage, gathered to sing the Harperman protest song at the Ross Street Plaza on Thursday, July 17. They were part of a cross-Canada singalong set for a month before the federal election on Oct. 19. Several were dressed in NDP orange.

The gathering was somewhat reminiscent of a ’60s protest, with the crowd warming up their vocals to the sound of Where Have All the Flowers Gone?, a folk song written by Pete Seeger in 1955 and later performed by such groups as Peter, Paul and Mary.

Warren Bell introduced Harperman, stating the song written by Environment Canada scientist Tony Turner had received 651,000 hits on Youtube. He said Turner was given a leave of absence when his song became public “because he stepped out of line.”

Blu Hopkins was also on stage.

“I couldn’t miss this, are you kidding?” he told the Observer, saying it brings back memories of the political protests of the ’70s.

Diane Hould said she was present because of concerns about the environment.

“We need our lakes, rivers and habitats protected.”

Bell said he was part of the protest “because it seemed like a cheerful way to express an opinion that many people share – it’s time for a change in our political landscape. And singing is a wonderful way.”

Janet Bates from the North Shuswap said music, to her, is political.

“It’s called stealth activism – playing good music with a message.”

Eighty-five-year-old Wally Churchill from Chase played the guitar onstage.

“It’s time we got rid of that person – I don’t like to use his name,” he told the Observer.


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