I've been working on this post over Christmas, but it didn't seem a very Christmasy thing to publish then. But then, as it turned out, neither was proroguing Parliament. I commented tongue in cheek last year when this happened, as The Pierogi Parliament. I never suspecting then it would become what Harper calls a "routine constitutional matter" that will allow the government to "recalibrate" its agenda and provide an opportunity for opposition parties to "advance their own ideas." Nothing to see here folks, move along, go about your normal business.
And now the issue has attracted 60,000 members (as of this morning) to a Facebook Group - Canadians Against Proroguing Parliament (Edit- Jan 17-204,000). Great to see all the hype and interest, but many are asking - so what? What's next? What does joining an online group or signing a petition prove, and what are the next steps for social activism on an issue? How to you leverage the enthusiasm? How does one encourage more people to become an agent of change, rather than an observer, or complainer?
Ian Capstick, from MediaStyle, has done a great job collecting what's been said on this, and making some suggestions, so I thought I'd better finish up here and publish my two cents.
I wrote in here last August some of my ideas on ways to effect change in local politics, this of course applies also to national and global issues, using similar principles and strategies. I was involved in yet another local campaign last fall so thought I'd expand more on my ideas. The goal of that recent campaign was to promote in Toronto the introduction of a billboard tax, with most of the new revenue targeted to public art. In spite of considerable lobbying by "the suits", and many attempted motions to gut the new bylaw, it passed 25-16, mostly intact. Thanks in no small part to some vigorous and well aimed work by some local activists.
I'll repeat some of my previous suggestions on how to make change happen, and add more examples and details. Most of this is for local politics, but can also apply to other levels of government, as well as the corporate battlefield.