Susan Crean writes:
It was the dead of winter and cold. So, the SCAN! members who assembled at Queen’s Park Crescent and Wellesley Street the last Saturday in February were dressed for it. Parkas and scarves, thick boots and mitts. People stood around, greeting each other, stamping their feet. They came prepared, and that included several folding chairs which appeared along the edges of the shovelled central pathway to the front entrance of Ontario’s Parliament. But also signs, handmade and eloquent.
As expected, there were speeches and testimonials, preceded by a tobacco ceremony performed by Jacqueline House and Cynthia Bell of Six Nations. And then, an opening welcome to all. This was followed by the Indigenous Statement given by Jacqueline House and Jennifer Vermeer (Allies of Onkwehonwe). Accompanying the ceremony, was the Spirit Wind Women’s Hand Drumming group, again from Six Nations.
This was followed with an eloquent, collective Land Acknowledgment. And, an Indigenous Statement by House and Vermeer of the Allies of Onkwehonwe. A host of speakers followed, Cheryle Connor’s sweet, sad story of Jenni being especially memorable. The folk-duo Seasonal Birds sang. Labour representation was there from OOSTF, OFL and Steelworkers Local 1998. And the Raging Grannies.
The crowd around us, were carrying signs of all sizes and colours — reading “Taxpayers take a Bath; Doug gets a Shower”, “Dump Thug Ford” and “Healthcare for People Not Profit”. I stumbled upon two members of my own union (the Writers’ Union of Canada) — Heather Wood and Judy Rebick. The crowd remained vocal and enthusiastic. A great gathering!