Hundreds gather on Parliament Hill for 'Harperman' sing-along
The Ottawa event was one of dozens of protests across the country on Thursday
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It’s usually a quiet place during an election campaign, but Parliament Hill turned into a raucous music venue Thursday afternoon when the “Harperman” protest song rang out across the lawn—twice.
Several hundred people turned up for the Ottawa sing-along, one of dozens across the country.
The catchy political protest song rose to prominence when its writer, federal government scientist and Ottawa folk singer Tony Turner, was put on leave for his involvement.
Turner was notably absent on Thursday because a seven-week investigation at Environment Canada is ongoing, his wife Sharon Reeves said.
“He would have loved to have been here, and to have seen all the support from the people and to hear the singing and participate, but he’s just not at liberty to do that,” said Reeves, a retired public servant.
Protesters toted signs ranging from “Save Canada Post” to “Vote Strategically To Defeat Harper.”
Lyrics to the nine-verse protest song were distributed. Some donned Harperman t-shirts, others had Harperman signs.
About a dozen people led the sing-along, with others sitting on the stairs and hundreds more standing on the lawn, facing the performers.
“I think it’s the happy, hopeful vibe of the song that people are responding to,” said Chris White, the folk singer who led the sing-along and organized the event.
The rally was as much in support of Turner as it was to protest the Harper government. His supporters said it’s a violation of freedom of speech that Turner can’t sing his own song in public.
Reeves said the turnout was “heartwarming” and said she thinks her husband has done Canada a service by penning the tune.
But said she doesn’t see him going back to work before retirement.
“He only has 18 more days left, and I don’t think it’s going to be resolved before that,” she said.
The afternoon opened with renditions of O Canada in English and French, some speeches and then a Harperman sing-along. After others spoke in Turner’s support, the crowd sang another song he wrote called The Circle of Song.
Then, it was one last Harperman rendition to close out the day.