After 85 days on a hunger strike against Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s new “Safe Streets and Communities Act” (crime Bill C10), it’s with great pleasure, gratitude and emotion that I announce the end of the protest. I’ll end the protest at 11.59pm today. I made the decision to end the peaceful protest after my final push for a response from Harper in the last two weeks, and my meeting with NDP MP and justice critic, Francoise Boivin (with me in the pic), on Parliament Hill this afternoon.
I just got back from the doctor’s office and was told that I’ll be back on my feet within two weeks. My health is my immediate priority. I’ll focus on recovering the 34kg (74.8lbs) I lost during the protest, and on bumping up my Vitamin D levels from the current critical-low of 20 to the normal of 76+.
The hunger protest was one hell of a life-changing journey through the soul of my beloved adopted country! There are no words to express how grateful I’m for your support, solidarity, advice and criticism. I couldn’t have done it without you.
I chose to put my life on the line in the hope of re-introducing the conversation our politics ruthlessly excluded during the debates and hearings on Bill C-10. I was inspired by the fact that the pillars of our democracy, among them, the Charter, were erected through democratic conversation.
I’m especially humbled by the fact that, together, we continued the democratic conversation on Bill C-10 long after the politicians we elected to fight for us in Parliament had given up after the bill became law on March 13. And, we chose as our method of conversation a hunger strike, a peaceful method of protest still misunderstood and feared in Canada. We insisted that the true activist should continuously search for, and experiment with, new ways of democratic engagement.
Our conversation was both an expression of democratic outrage against Bill C-10 and a journey of hope. In Canada, our collective spirit of hope is enshrined in the values etched in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It’s in these values, and not in Harper’s backward-looking and New Jim Crow legislation such as the Safe Streets and Communities Act, where our collective security lies.
We’ve work to do. Harper’s Orwellian assault on our democratic institutions, parliamentary process and legitimate dissent is only beginning. Since assuming power in 2006, he has turned Canada into a “suicidal state” relentlessly sniping at its own democratic institutions. For example, he prorogued parliament twice, in 2008 and 2009.
Now Harper and the Conservatives are unashamedly dismantling the progressive state Canadians built since World War II, mostly through Liberal Party leadership, and the contributions of individual Canadian leaders such as Tommy Douglas, Jack Layton and John Diefenbaker. Case in point: the recently introduced budget Bill C-38, a sweeping omnibus legislation that seeks to amend or eliminate over 70 existing federal statutes, most of which are progressive.
I’ll will continue my blogging and activism around my Bill C-10 demands and the other issues I care about, including: growing economic inequalities, housing, the environment, social justice, justice, diversity, war on drugs, homelessness, criminal justice system, public policy and Canadian foreign policy.