Protesters leave message at Province House

Mitch MacDonald
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Local artist Suzanne O'Callaghan writes a message on a pillar of Province House during a protest Monday afternoon. The protest saw more than 200 Islanders voice a number of concerns. Guardian photo by Brian McInnis

Island MLAs may have some extra reading to do when walking into legislature today.

A mass of protesters rallied Monday at Province House to blast the Liberal government over a plethora of issues. The record-setting warm November day saw more than 200 Islanders show up for the protest.

With the rally occurring a day before the speech from the throne, protesters used the opportunity to scribble their concerns on the street and walkway in front of legislature.

One protester, local artist Suzanne O’Callaghan took to the pillar of Province House to write her message.

“Cutting funding to art, culture, education is a road to nowhere!!!,” wrote O’Callaghan in all capital letters. “Give us back arts funding and the dollars you are wasting destroying our environment and compromising our children’s future!!!”

The one-size-fits-all protest focused on no key issue, as each of the more than a dozen speakers covered a different topic. These included, among others; Plan B, HST, dialysis services and other health issues, reproductive rights, electoral reform, land use, proportional representation, eradicating poverty, switching to more sustainable energy use, the provincial nominee program, as well as voter apathy.

“(The government should) take into consideration all the factors that go into creating personal and community well being,” said emcee Roy Johnston, who also “fiddled for freedom,” at the rally.

“Did we see that in Plan B?” asked Johnston, who received a large no from the crowd. “Responsible also means being responsive to Islanders. Listening and seriously considering what we are saying and acting on our concerns.”

While the protest covered a range of concerns, Chris Ortenburger of the P.E.I. Citizen’s Alliance said the Plan B highway realignment has been considered “the poster child of what is wrong with the current government.”

“It's the heart of undemocracy,” said Ortenburger. “It’s been pushed by government whose misled us and that’s probably because they know the weaknesses of their position, not ours.”

The alliance had set up a booth at the protest selling cards, anti-Plan B license plates and t-shirts.

While much of the protest consisted of speakers reiterating what they have already said during previous rallies, one fresh voice was teenager Liese Ortenburger, who offered a look to the future in regards to the current level of voter apathy.

Liese said little will change unless others her age become more active in politics.

“If they expect corruption and arrogance in huge majority governments, that what’s we're going to get,” she said.

Liese added that voter apathy is frustrating for all involved.

“It is frustrating for the people who don’t care, listening to their more passionate friends like myself, constantly railing about the government. However, I don’t have much sympathy for them,” she said to much applause.

The rally ended with protesters locking arms and chanting for the government to address their concerns “for the love of P.E.I.”

 

Organizations: Province House, Islanders

Geographic location: P.E.I. Citizen

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Recent comments

  • John Getson
    November 14, 2012 - 15:22

    If inflation and taxation continues to soar, Islanders are going to have to work like a dog just to live like one.

    • Silenced
      November 15, 2012 - 07:53

      Our government does not give a pigs pootoot what we the people think, want, or need, they live in there own little bubble dictating to us what we need, they have blinders on, and ear plugs. It's too bad politicians didn't live in the real world.

  • Rex
    November 13, 2012 - 21:09

    Plan B had to be done. The Federal government is paying fir half the project, that is $10 million. The work had to be done to the Trans Canafa in order to recieve the Federal money.. Name another spot on the TCH where $20 mill could have been spent. PNP was great. Everybody won, nobody lost, end of story. Sure the Liberals 'pushed' through a bunch of files in the last couple weeks, but they will answer for that in the next election. HST, big deal. Ill pay it, no other choice. Dialysis, let the medical professionals and politicians work that out, its what theyre paid to do. Lady with Chaulk: Join a political party and realky make a difference.

  • JUSTA?
    November 13, 2012 - 18:54

    I'm wondering why so many people are supporting an artist for defacing a National Historical Site? I think she should be punished for her actions. Be it chalk, paint (or even blood as someone suggested), it is wrong and I believe it is also wrong to publish the photo. I have no problem with a protest (even if we are not completely clear what all they were protesting) but in order to be taken seriously, you must be a law-abiding citizen. Unfortunately this is not the case in this instance. If this were a teen, they would be charged. Shame, Shame.

    • justa nostrich
      November 13, 2012 - 21:02

      So you don't know what we were protesting? Can't you see what's going on here?? We've tried every legal avenue to be heard but we're being ignored. Get out of your cozy little comfort zone and see the Big Picture!!!! BTW, the terrible injurious desecratory chalk is all gone now, so you can stop fretting about it, there, there.

  • LESLEY
    November 13, 2012 - 18:18

    I didn't know when I grew up that the very chalk I used at school would become such a topic of stupidity.....What is wrong with everyone. Can't you see what is going on the real problem that needs to be dealt with and addressed. You would rather talk about chalk O.M.G.

  • Silenced
    November 13, 2012 - 12:47

    This government doesn't listen to anyone, unless you are praising them.....

  • george
    November 13, 2012 - 11:54

    I assume that all those people that are calling the protesters down for what ever reason are waiting with glee for the HST so they can enjoy paying for all the frivolities Ghiz has engaged in. Must be people a 'layer' above the rest of us, who expect to find life a lot harder once Ghiz begin stealing from us at every turn and transaction. By all means enjoy , - I dare say you love Ghiz more than he loves you------ don't you know you are just a measn toi the end (sorry if you don't get it)

  • Should have used spray paint
    November 13, 2012 - 11:25

    This government doesn't listen to anyone. After voting Liberal for the past 36 years, I won't be this time.

  • Bernadette Mulligan
    November 13, 2012 - 09:30

    Our Demoracy ? on this Island is the "BIG PICTURE QUESTION" about Poverty ? Plan B ? PNP ? HST? , and on & on & on !!! Bernadette Mulligan , Kinkora , PE

  • Bob Macdonald
    November 13, 2012 - 09:12

    As an artist shouldn't she know better than to deface a national heritage site! I hope she gets charged for this. http://www.pc.gc.ca/lhn-nhs/pe/provincehouse/index.aspx

    • Jill
      November 13, 2012 - 10:46

      Really? That's what you got from this story? .........

    • dan
      November 13, 2012 - 12:41

      she broke the law at the encouragement of olive crane and the PC party she deserves to go to jail, some people like me see that building as point of pride

    • intobed
      November 13, 2012 - 14:40

      The building is nice Dan, but I am ashamed of the politicians who work in it. You should be too. People are trying to find ways to get this message across to Islanders, telling them to wake up to corruption and patronage. I salute these protestors, and hope they use every non violent means possible to get their message across.

    • Harland McTavish
      November 13, 2012 - 20:02

      Defacing? It's chalk Bob, not graffiti. It will wash off with little to no effort.

  • Our System is Working Fine, leave it alone.
    November 13, 2012 - 08:58

    For the sake of democracy, anyone who has different points of view and does not have at least $2000 in their checking account should be banned from protesting. All protesters should also have to be pre-screened to make sure they understand and agree with the status quo. Also, all protesters should be required to wear approved garments similar to that worn by our business people and politicians. All speeches should be agreeable to the interests of commerce and local authorities. And, no protester should be able to carry or use chalk or any other device that may send the wrong message to our youth. After all, our system is working fine, why challenge it?

    • Janet Gaudet
      November 13, 2012 - 09:38

      "Our system is working fine, leave it alone". What planet are you living on? You can't be living in P.E.I. The only people this system is working fine for are the government M.L.A.s and people who are profitting from government patronage. This system is not working at all for the rest of us.

    • candrayo
      November 13, 2012 - 12:26

      sounded like sarcasm to me....duh...I hope....

  • Nora Brown
    November 13, 2012 - 08:03

    she should be fined for writting on the wall.

    • melanie
      November 13, 2012 - 09:42

      Maybe you should move to China where they haul folks in for writing on the wall and make them serve hard time. You do not belong on this Island.

  • Janet Gaudet
    November 13, 2012 - 07:56

    Thank you to everyone who went to that protest. Ghiz wants to have a balanced budget by 2015. In item in CBC website he is quoted "this is a time of getting our finances in order, the reduction in our capital spending". Translated this means that he's going to squeeze every dollar he can out of islanders to make up for all the money this incompetent government has wasted. More people will be going to food bank, eating at upper room soup kitchen, and having to choose between groceries or rent or heat or medications. Don't criticize anyone for using chalk. It will wash off. I think we've got more critical issues to deal with. I doubt if Ghiz will be going hungry or cold. Neither will the Islanders who benefit quite well from the patronage practiced by this government.

  • candrayo
    November 13, 2012 - 07:32

    People it was Chalk.....geesh...Pesticides do not even get this much reaction on the Island!

  • Get A Grip
    November 13, 2012 - 07:02

    When people get so frustrated that they feel they need to do such things, it's time to maybe sit up and listen. How far do you want it go? Maybe YOU should show up at one of these protests and actually listen. It's so easy to just sit back and judge.

  • The wheel came off 'er
    November 13, 2012 - 07:00

    This has to be the worse 'stunt' ever for a group this size demonstrating at the Legislative Assembly. Obviously nobody thought this one through and it has become the issue. While the issues being talked about disappeared into the background. I support many, but not all, these issues being protested, but defacing the Legislative Assembly just doesn't get my support. It was simply ill advised and very, very STUPID. The woman in the picture should be charged with defacing public property. Chaulk or no chaulk this just not wash.

  • Shocked
    November 13, 2012 - 06:51

    Writing in Chalk,really! That's all some morons get out of this. No wonder the Gov does what they want. These comments are from Voters? Unreal. Maybe they should write it in Blood!

  • What's what?
    November 13, 2012 - 06:04

    Why is it that those who condemn writing with chalk on our Province House are so silent about our MLA's not responding to legitimate questions inside the Legislature?

  • Bonshaw Resident
    November 13, 2012 - 05:05

    If this group wants respect they have to learn to give it. I've seen videos where they abused security staff and other workers at the Plan B site, they booed Bush Dunville, called our Premier a dictator and wrote on our Legislature. Why would they expect to have a respectful discussion with government?

    • we've been trying
      November 13, 2012 - 13:08

      We've been trying to have respectful discussions with the gov't. Take your head out of the sand and see what's really going on.

    • you're not a bonshaw resident
      November 13, 2012 - 14:28

      We've given respect to the gov'y for long enough -polite attitudes have got us nowhere. And gat your facts right - no-one has abused the security staff and it was a tree harvester operator who threatened the protesters with his machine. There is also a video where the security guard is screaming at a harvester operator to turn off his machine but he continues towards them. Bush Dumville received an apology (though he doidn;t really deserve one). Do you think Robert Ghiz is not heading towards despotism??? I hope you never have a major issue that needs to be resolved through consultationn with the present incumbents.

  • Beendair Donedat
    November 13, 2012 - 04:26

    Sacred Fires and Chalk Drawings. PEI is more like a Disney Movie everytime I check the news from away. Where's Dr Herb walking the ledges of Province House when you need him?

  • common sence
    November 13, 2012 - 02:31

    will this protester be charged with defacing property that is what she is doing isn's it, weather it's chalk or paint it's still defacing property and the law said you can't do that.

  • ARTSY FARTSY
    November 12, 2012 - 23:57

    who actually likes art though, really? big deal, good play by the libs

  • Will Brown from Maine
    November 12, 2012 - 23:49

    Good for Liese - because she is exactly right about her generation being the next in line who can start affecting change TODAY... and good for all of you there today. A great approach to getting the govt's. ear; unfortunately, some don't realize the chalk will run off the wall and not hurt a thing, unlike the red silt that somehow seems to be considered "friendly fire" in the construction process. Keep up the momentum folks; it'll pay off in the end.

  • Ridiculous
    November 12, 2012 - 23:47

    Its ridiculous to me to hear people condemning chalk writing. After more than 200 people take time out their busy lives to show up and pressure the government to improve our democracy... all you can do is complain about chalk? So weird... The RCMP apologize for messing with a sacred fire, and the comments are "WELL THAT'S MAKING A MOUNTAIN OUT A OF MOLEHILL." Then someone writes a message with chalk, and people are up in arms. Ridiculous. Lastly, we actually do have a mountain to deal with here. The contempt that the government shows Islanders is terrible. We vote every 4 years, and deal with dictatorship in between. It's a serious problem. THANK YOU to all the people who went to the rally today.

    • Marc Chagal
      November 13, 2012 - 07:20

      What kind of artist is O'Callahan when she goes around defacing buildings? A graffiti artist is what she is. She wants govt. to fund "artists" and the arts, what she is really saying is give me some money so I can stay at home all day and work on my graffiti.

  • Concerned Islander
    November 12, 2012 - 23:46

    Not much of a crowd for such a fine day. Surely they can't seriously think that defacing Province House is really going to help them win any support with Islanders? They should have arrested some of them.

  • Mell
    November 12, 2012 - 23:27

    Is this not the same as graffiti; therefore, is it not a crime, and this person, and others should be made to pay for the removal of such writings and the building restored to its original condition? What right do they have to do this- none! Let it be put in writing and addressed thru the proper channels via post or email or twitter or whatever technology these people use, but not graffiti. She is not above the law here!

    • errr excuse me
      November 13, 2012 - 13:04

      It took a couple of minutes for the concierge to remove it with a pail of water. We have been putting our grievances to our MLAs (snail mail, email, phone calls, meetings) for over a year now and have been studiously ignored by our elected Liberal "representatives". Just maybe she was frustrated with being stonewalled all the time. So get down off your high horse. What she did wasn't right, but sometimes desperate people do desperate things.

  • down east
    November 12, 2012 - 23:14

    didnt that hippy/treehugger come from mt,stewart aint she defacing crown property

  • SG
    November 12, 2012 - 22:57

    1) Why protest today when the House is not sitting and Politicians were off for the Holiday? 2) If you want to protest organize the protest 3) If you want to leave a message put it on paper and inside an envelope mail it if you can't drop it off. 3) Don't write messages on Province House with Chaulk. Anyone who does that will not be given any consideration. It is bad manners, a poor way to put your message across and makes you look very unprofessional.

    • answers
      November 13, 2012 - 10:48

      1) Because many of have jobs. 2) The protest was organised - not sure what you mean about that. 3) We've already sent hundreds of letters, emails, etc, and been ignored. 4) I agree, she shouldn't have written on Province House but then again, the gov't shouldn't be treating us like this - maybe her frustration just boiled over.

  • Come on
    November 12, 2012 - 22:53

    At least this will wash away with the comming rain and snow.The debt being loaded on the backs of Islands young and old alike will be felt and seen for YEARS to come.The loss in faith of the Island government won't soon fade either.We will see come voting day won't we the Roberts!! Tic-Tic-Tic

  • For the love of PEI
    November 12, 2012 - 22:06

    Are you kidding me? Is that all you people got out of this article? Someone writing on a wall (in chalk) their concerns of what OUR government is doing...or should I say not doing! Her written words will be gone in a matter of one or two rainfalls. What the Ghiz government is doing will last us our lifetime and the lifetime of our children and grandchildren. Open your eyes and minds Islanders...please....FOR THE LOVE OF PEI!

    • Not getting it
      November 13, 2012 - 05:39

      Don't you get it?? That's the real problem with this 'artist's actions; through her selfish stunt she's usurped whatever message and goodwill the rest of the civic-minded people were trying to convey. Too often the positive message of the majority is stamped out by the insensitive actions of the few.

    • Mary A.
      November 13, 2012 - 06:35

      It's the only thing they got out of the article because they probably didn't even bother to read it. They just saw the picture and decided to complain. I seriously doubt they really care about it - it's just and excuse. It's a lot easier to complain about someone writing (in chalk) on Province House than it is to make the effort to actually go to a protest. I mean, some of them didn't even bother with proper capitalization - how can they be expected to actually read?

  • dale
    November 12, 2012 - 21:12

    Maybe she's a "graffiti artist" ; aka vandal

    • intobed
      November 12, 2012 - 22:16

      They are protesting the vandals who are looting PEI.

    • Dave
      November 15, 2012 - 18:39

      Vandals looting PEI ? Do you mean EI bums who work a few weeks a year then complain they're poor? These are the ones with an $8000 ski-doo in the front yard, smoke a pack of cigarettes per day, drinks until they blackout every weekend, 80 inch big screen TV.

  • Counter productive
    November 12, 2012 - 20:48

    Look I fully support people exercising their right to protest peacefully but where does this artist get off writing on Province House? I guess at least it was in chalk? Their message will be drowned out in the condemnation of.her actions; which is a shame for all the rest.

    • productive
      November 12, 2012 - 21:00

      Well yes, it wasn't the smartest thing to do - but maybe she was so frustrated with this intransigent, bullying, cowardly, corrupt, self serving and ignorant government that she had to get it off her chest. Writing on the wall in chalk is nothing compared to what they're doing to this Island - think about it.

  • grumpie
    November 12, 2012 - 20:46

    anyone calling them self an artist and acting like this, needs the lash.

    • intobed
      November 12, 2012 - 22:15

      It is the members of the government that need the lash, or even better - fire them!

  • intobed
    November 12, 2012 - 20:37

    Good work protestors. Our Ghiz government is an insult to Islanders. They are not going to listen to us, but we must keep trying. Keep up this important work. Even thick headed idiots will start to understand after awhile if we keep repeating the message that government is supposed to work for us, and not just loot the treasury to reward their friends.

  • Common Sense Guy
    November 12, 2012 - 19:29

    Some artist this one is. Defacing Government house. Maybe she would like people scribbling all over her residence. I doubt if she had any charges laid on her for property damage. She just cost the taxpayers more money also because a government worker is going to have to clean that crap off.

    • It's official . . Anarchy Is Here
      November 12, 2012 - 20:29

      And where oh where could we possibly find a government worker with the time to wipe off some chalk. It could create a new job posting but would probably go to an MLA friend or relative anyway.

    • where's your common sense
      November 12, 2012 - 20:46

      Get a grip - she was only using chalk - the first shower of rain tomorrow night will wash it off!!! So you would rather the incumbent government waste all our tax money on lining their own pockets, eh?? These people are standing up against the way the government is treating us while you sit at your computer nit-picking. Perhaps you'll whine and complain if and when our "elected representatives" eventuakly see the light and start representing us.......