Occupy NL protests Bill 29

Colin MacLean
Send to a friend

Send this article to a friend.

Protesters rally against changes to information legislation

Their camp at Harbourside Park might be gone but the folks of Occupy NL have not lost their propensity to mobilize protests on controversial issues.

The latest target of the group’s anger is Bill 29 — the controversial piece of legislation that touched off a marathon filibuster session in the House of Assembly last week.

The bill, which was finally passed in the House Friday, makes changes to Newfoundland and Labrador’s Access to Information legislation that put tighter constraints on what documents can be released to the public.

The 80 or so people waving signs and chanting slogans on the steps of Confederation Building on Saturday took issue with that idea.

Thomas Clarke has been an active participant in Occupy NL since the movement started more than a year ago.

On Saturday he carried a sign that read, “democracy is being blacked out,” with parts of the “democracy” coloured black.

Access to information requests regularly come back partially or completely redacted with black ink.

Clarke said only about 10 of the people at the protest were from Occupy, and the rest were others who are concerned about the changes to the information law. A few members of the opposition were also in attendance.

“People are realizing how important that this is. The broadening that this bill will give to cabinet is pretty crazy. As far as I can tell, the information act from before was fine. They must be afraid of something. That’s my opinion,” said Clarke.

Those comments were repeated a lot throughout the protest. The general sentiment was one of anger — and suspicion.

Joy Newhook attended because she’s worried what Bill 29 will do for future generations.

“I came out for myself, my children and hopefully for my future grandchildren,” said Newhook.

She expressed deep misgivings about any government information being hidden from public view.

“If they’re going to hide underneath secrecy, you gotta wonder, why?”

The province disagrees with all these assessments.

It has stated that the changes will make access to information request more accessible to the people who really need them and will protect people and companies interested in doing business in the province.

It has also stated that an inordinate amount of requests are already coming in, tying up resources and personnel.

Newhook doesn’t buy the province’s arguments.

Even if there are a lot of requests coming in to the government for information — there are more than likely good reasons behind them, she said.

“Behind those requests are people that are either hurting, they’re looking for something, they’re probably sick, mentally ill. They’re trying to get help with the system,” she said.

Others came because of philosophical views.  

Bob Ryan came to the protest because he believes the free flow of information is critical to a democracy, and in his view Bill 29 limits that.

“What the Tories did in the last week or so I find revolting. I think it sets us back a long ways.”

Speakers at the protest included members of the NDP caucus and representatives from Occupy NL, The Council of Canadians and others.

The opposition Liberals and NDP have vowed to continue to fight Bill 29.

cmaclean@thetelegram.com

Twitter: @TelegramMacLean

This article has been corrected

Organizations: NDP

Geographic location: Harbourside Park, Newfoundland and Labrador

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Thanks for voting!

Top of page

Comments

Comments

Recent comments

  • Tim Jamison
    June 18, 2012 - 14:37

    If you're finding life so hard, get a hair cut and a nice suit and OCCUPY A JOB INTERVIEW. Now that I know that you people are against Bill 29, I can definitely call myself one of it's proponents. Lieberals. Controlling, feminine supremacist, socialism pushing lieberals. - never on your side, never your friend; the guy that flipped you off on his way home from WORK everyday

  • NewFoundGlory
    June 18, 2012 - 14:06

    Wonder how many of these nasty comments are from the people trying to destroy our rights and freedoms here in Canada/NL. Rest assured people, the trolls are out in full force and much of the ignorant and short sighted material and opinion posted here is designed to be exactly that. On one front it distracts and divides the conversation by attacking people instead of principle, which very few of these people have in their life. B) It makes Newfoundlanders look like blithering idiots, discouraging those with a free and open mind that can see past all this BS and making them think the majority of the people are incapable of practicing and exercising rational thinking. BE AWARE, these people, the tyrants, are willing to go to any lengths to achieve their goals. This includes attacking the conversation on all fronts, Online, in person and over the air waves. Do not fall for their trap. WE ARE WINNING, ONE DAY AT A TIME. PEOPLE ARE GREATER THAN WE HAVE BEEN LED TO BELIEVE. These cowards are in for a rude awakening when the tipping point comes, they know its growing faster and faster and best believe me it is no coincidence that similar laws are being passed all over the world at the exact same time. Liberty or bust, We must protect what we cherish most, despite the heckles and cat calls and name calling by those who have no substance to their words other than that based on negativity and destructive patterns of thought.

  • NewFoundGlory
    June 18, 2012 - 14:02

    Wonder how many of these nasty comments are from the people trying to destroy our rights and freedoms here in Canada/NL. Rest assured people, the trolls are out in full force and much of the ignorant and short sighted material and opinion posted here is designed to be exactly that. On one front it distracts and divides the conversation by attacking people instead of principle, which very few of these people have in their life. B) It makes Newfoundlanders look like blithering idiots, discouraging those with a free and open mind that can see past all this BS and making them think the majority of the people are incapable of practicing and exercising rational thinking. BE AWARE, these people, the tyrants, are willing to go to any lengths to achieve their goals. This includes attacking the conversation on all fronts, Online, in person and over the air waves. Do not fall for their trap. WE ARE WINNING, ONE DAY AT A TIME. PEOPLE ARE GREATER THAN WE HAVE BEEN LED TO BELIEVE. These cowards are in for a rude awakening when the tipping point comes, they know its growing faster and faster and best believe me it is no coincidence that similar laws are being passed all over the world at the exact same time. Liberty or bust, We must protect what we cherish most, despite the heckles and cat calls and name calling by those who have no substance to their words other than that based on negativity and destructive patterns of thought.

  • ?
    June 18, 2012 - 13:54

    Why does the dude in the background in the blue jacket have a purple hand? Was it that cold there? That is what I call hard core dedication and a typical NL June. Bill 29 is disgusting, So is the behavior of many of the Politicians. Secrecy is repugnant and historically frowned upon in a free society.

  • Ben
    June 18, 2012 - 10:56

    Great NDP photo op. Thats what its all about! Right? We should really all know what we are talking about before we go condemning people. A whopping 70 people from all over the province attended this NDP 'protest'...oh yeah we are all worried abt this! Again most of this is fear mongering by the opposition, and the media, on twitter and other media sites. OMG it will be drastic if David Cochrane is not the first to break a story or Russell Wangersky can't continue with his negative rants. Get real...

    • Bernard
      June 18, 2012 - 18:34

      "Ben", do you work on the 8th floor, or for Danny Williams?

  • Chantal
    June 18, 2012 - 10:00

    I believe you meant that question for the federal Conservative public safety minister,Vic Towes. To which he would answer that you are on the side of the child pornographers for asking that question. You degenerate.

  • JAW
    June 18, 2012 - 09:38

    What about the RIGHT TO HAVE YOUR PRIVACY PROTECTED??

    • W McLean
      June 18, 2012 - 11:25

      It already is protected, except when the government chooses to breach it.

  • David
    June 18, 2012 - 09:24

    My lord...the Occupy virus has actually latched onto a host! They've finally picked an actual 'thing' to protest, complete with a target and demands! A bit of a surprise....going from anti-business to anti-government at the drop of a hat. A pre-arranged, professional mob of malcontents, waiting for the word to go protest any issue-du-jour.....sounds like responding to the needs / demands of the marketplace --- or 'protest capitalism' --- to me.

  • Bernard
    June 18, 2012 - 08:16

    "We Have the Right to Know": Don't be so stund. Danny put all this in motion. Kathy is just carrying it out and taking the fall.

    • Christopher Chafe
      June 18, 2012 - 09:34

      Actually Wells/Grimes/Tobin all had this in place already. Dunderdale is just going back to the days of the Liberal rule.

    • Bernard
      June 18, 2012 - 18:32

      Actually, she is doing what Danny wants her to do. She is his handpicked puppet.

    • William Daniels
      June 18, 2012 - 21:08

      Chris, just so you know, the tories have been in for a decade or so now. If what you say is the case then they should have fixed it by now don't you think? Pretty weak post.

  • Murray
    June 18, 2012 - 08:05

    Well done Occupy. Those tiny minds hoped that you would become irrelevant must be seething. While governments at both levels continue to sideline the oppositions, it is vital that citizens can organise themselves, otherwise the oligarchs can continue to walk over us. Occupy Newfoundland is in a unique position to help organize those of us who regard democracy as more than a stroll to the polls every few years.

  • Liz
    June 18, 2012 - 08:04

    I voted and supported Kathy Dunderdale up to now. However, I cannot support a government who worked around the clock to introduce a bill that would block access of information to the public. Sorry Kathy won't be voting for you next time.

  • Bernard
    June 18, 2012 - 07:42

    MLA?

  • We have the right to know
    June 18, 2012 - 07:23

    WE HAVE THE RIGHT TO KNOW! Ever since Kathy Dunderdale has taken over Danny the governement has been going down hill and it's all because of her!