New protest group mobilizes against federal government

Christine Wood/Staff Writer / Staff writer
February 1, 2013 01:00 AM

Some of the nearly 130 Coasters who came out to take part in the first Common Causes anti-government protest held in Sechelt Jan. 28. See more photos in our on-line galleries at

On Jan. 28 as Parliament resumed in Ottawa, a new anti-government group, Common Causes, held its first nation-wide protest visible in 25 communities across Canada, including Sechelt.

The Sunshine Coast saw about 130 people come out to its rally Monday afternoon at the corner of Wharf Avenue and Highway 101, organized by Jef Keighley of Sunshine Coast Senior Citizens (COSCO-BC) and the Alliance 4 Democracy Sunshine Coast.

Keighley said the two local groups have joined about 80 other organizations united under the Common Causes banner, each wanting to "take on the Harper conservative agenda" in a unified way."Basically what this is, is the beginning of a mass organization of people and organizations who basically are fed up with the Conservative government," Keighley said. "And if you actually look around, the list of those they haven't done harm to is shorter than the list that they have [done harm to]."

The Common Causes group plans to link up with Aboriginal people currently taking on the government through Idle No More and organize more protests to make their presence known.

"We intend to do a lot more," Keighley said.

The Common Causes group wants to make sure the public is aware of the Conservatives' track record before the next election takes shape, and put pressure on government to change its ways.

"There's five, in truth, broad brush policy areas where we're absolutely focused," Keighley said, noting the Conservative government has a dismal rating in each.

They are social justice, the environment, human rights, foreign policy and democracy.

Common Causes also has serious concerns about the government's omnibus bills that can make sweeping changes to those policy areas.

"Since the first dramatic omnibus budget bill last summer, people all around the country have been getting more and more aghast at the antics of this federal government, especially with the second omnibus bill, which is so voluminous that no one can actually understand it," Keighley said.

The frustration was evident in Coasters gathered to protest. Some waved signs like "We're all being thrown under the omnibus" or "United we stand and Harper falls."

"People are just plain fed up," Keighley noted.

To find out more about Common Causes go to Local Common Causes events will also be posted at as they are organized.

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