Students protest Liberal rally at WLU

On Saturday afternoon outside of Wilf’s pub, which was packed with supporters for the Liberal leader of Canada, approximately 15 Waterloo students showed up to protest Michael Ignatieff and his visit to Laurier.

Hovering outside the front doors of Wilf’s and trickling into the Hall of Fame, students from the Laurier Campus Conservatives, as well as their affiliate parties at the University of Waterloo and Conestoga College, stood strong amidst a sea of red signs that championed slogans such as “Count Iggy Love Torture” and “In It For Himself”.

“We came out here today to protest against Ignatieff’s unwanted election,” said president of Laurier Campus Conservatives Chloe Arbutina.

“Right now, given the circumstances and the recession, all we want is for our government to work and we think that [Ignatieff] should be doing that instead of playing political games,” she said.

The protesters were quick to highlight Ignatieff’s flaws, including his lack of policy, inconsistency in what he stands for (using his flip-flopping support for the Canadian coalition government and the Iraq war as examples) and their relief that the previous days confidence vote in the House of Commons passed with support from the New Democratic Party (NDP) and the Bloc Quebecois, which avoided an election for the time being.

“We’re glad we made it through that one vote,” said Eric Merkley, president of the Ontario Provincial Campus Conservative Association (OPCCA) and former president of the Laurier Campus Conservatives.

“A lot of Canadians and students are concerned about Parliament currently, they don’t want an election,” said Merkley.

“We’re in the midst of a fragile recovery, but a recovery nonetheless. And an election is the last thing we need at this point in time…. We need Parliament to work towards fixing the economy; a fourth election in the past five years is not what we need.”

Though the group of protestors was quite small, they were passionate and vocal; as president of the University of Waterloo’s Campus Conservatives Eugene Paspernak noted, the central goal of the day was to address Ignatieff and inform him of the desires of Canadians.

“We just want to show Michael Ignatieff that Canadians really don’t want an election because it will disrupt the recovery and the stimulus package that [prime minister Stephen] Harper put in and Ignatieff voted for,” said Paspernak.

Unfortunately for the protestors, Ignatieff used Wilf’s back door to both enter and exit the pub, thus avoiding the students who showed up to “send him a message.”

The protestors did however form a chain outside of Wilf’s so that as students and community members exited the youth rally they had to walk by the Conservatives displaying their posters of protest.

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