Approximately 1,500 supporters turned out at a rally on Thursday (December 4) in support of the proposed federal Liberal-NDP coalition government. The event was held inside a conference room at the Vancouver Convention & Exhibition Centre, with those unable to find space in the main room listening and cheering outside.
On December 1, the Liberals and NDP signed an agreement to form a coalition government with a pledge from the Bloc Québécois to support the arrangement.
A number of speakers at the Vancouver rally expressed their distrust of a Conservative government led by Stephen Harper. NDP MP Peter Julian (Burnaby-New Westminster) reminded the crowd of Harper's campaign pledge to reach across the aisle.
"You remember the promise to be moderate?" Julian said. "Instead of addressing the needs of the nation...he lobbed a grenade in the middle of Parliament."
Former Liberal MP Herb Dhaliwal questioned Harper's attempts to demonize the coalition's efforts, saying "We won't let Stephen Harper divide Canadians. We don't want the politics of fear and the politics of division in this country."
On December 4, Governor General Michaelle Jean granted Harper’s request to prorogue Parliament. That prevented a Liberal-NDP coalition from defeating the Conservatives in a nonconfidence motion previsouly scheduled for Monday (December 8).
YouTube videos recorded earlier in the day by NDP leader Jack Layton and Liberal leader Stéphane Dion were shown on three projector screens. Dion questioned the wisdom of suspending Parliament for seven weeks during an economic crisis, arguing that "he [Harper] cares more about his own job than your job".
Parliament will resume on January 26 with a speech from the throne, followed by a budget on January 27.
The rally, organized by the B.C. Federation of Labour and the Canadian Labour Congress and ended with a musical performance by The Town Pants. It was one of several pro-coalition events that were staged across Canada on Thursday.