Occupy Nova Scotia has a situation. The main issue now facing the occupiers is the fact that Grand Parade Square, where there are currently about 50 tents set up, is the site of the annual Remembrance Day ceremony. The ceremony, which takes place on November 11th, often sees Grand Parade Square packed to capacity with veterans and participants. It may prove difficult for the occupation, which currently only has its tents pitched on the grassy extremities of the Square, to share the area with the influx of people on November 11th.
To that effect, Mayor Peter Kelly and the HRM handed out a Notice of Relocation yesterday evening. The wording of the Notice, particularly the phrase: "...It is now time to return the Grand Parade to the public at large for its use in the many activities of its citizens.", suggests an attempt by the Mayor to separate the so-called "public at large" from the occupiers.
Here Kelly has sadly erred. If the sheer numbers of permanent occupiers at Parade Square imply that the movement is some kind of non-representative, fringe, group, the Mayor should be aware that they are merely the visible tip of a significantly larger iceberg.
Yesterday, four members of Occupy NS were given a series of standing ovations as they addressed the Nova Scotia Federation of Labour's meeting. At the meeting were representatives of over 78,000 workers in the province. Elected Labour leadership within the province stands in solidarity with Occupy NS. $5,000, as well as significant non-financial contributions, were raised to benefit the movement.
It would appear that the path towards sharing Parade Square, especially for a significant event such as Remembrance Day, lies in negotiation, and not in heavy-handed, top-down, Notices of Relocation.
Please enjoy the audio of a conversation with Tony Tracy, Regional Representative of the Canadian Labour Congress.
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