I feel as though I’ve been wrenched from the light of the world and exiled to the heart of darkness.
My friends, I just want to let you all know that we’ll not be able to stay as connected as we’ve been during the last seven weeks of my ongoing indefinite hunger strike against Harper’s cruel new crime law, the Safe Streets and Communities Act (Bill C10). I owe Ottawa Hydro and they disconnected my hydro service earlier today. (For those unfamiliar with the term “hydro”, it’s what you’d call “electricity”.)
So far, being connected and communicating with you all via Facebook, Twitter, email and my blog had been a pillar of my coping strategy. Now I’ll have no internet access. I’ll not be able to update my blog as regularly as I should. And, needless to say, my apartment will be in the dark most of the time. (Well, what are candles for, right!) I can’t say when the service will be restored. I don’t have the more than $250 I owe them.
And yet, this latest hurdle does not diminish my resolve to have the Safe Streets and Communities Act repealed. When I chose the hunger strike as my protest strategy, I knew I’d taken the road rarely traveled in Canadian activism. I understood that, though a hunger strike is by natured a call to that time-tested Canadian value of compassion, I would likely attract minimal attention from those in power.
I communicated my demands to Prime Minister Stephen Harper on March 27 and, soon after, to all MPs and senators. So far, I have received no official response. During the last seven weeks, I have send press releases and news tips to hundreds of newsrooms and journalists across Canada. The mainstream media is yet to cover my protest even as it gleefully covers hunger strikes taking place outside our borders.
My friends, this latest hurdle is meant to make me stronger in my ongoing struggle to have the draconian law repealed. My journey is one of hope. My lived experience in the last 40 years has taught me that hope is a terrible thing to lose. In Canada, our collective spirit of hope is enshrined in the values etched in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, particularly: compassion, fairness, respect for fundamental rights, inclusion, multiculturalism and diversity.
In these values lie our collective security, not in the Safe Streets and Communities Act.
It is hope that taught me that Canada becomes a better place, a more responsible member of the family of countries of the world, only when we come together and build a society that nurtures hope, instead of extinguishing it.
I hope to embolden our elected representatives to give the Safe Streets and Communities Act the real sober second thought it deserves. And, perhaps, my name is compassion and I’m begging our legislature and policymakers to restore me to my rightful place in the centre of Canadian life.
We must constantly remind ourselves that an injustice visited upon a single Canadian or community is an injustice visited upon all of us. We must insist on united and caring communities that encourage all to set aside differences and prescribed labels.