|Brigette DePape is escorted from Senate Photo by Chris Wattie/ Reuters|
Brigette DePape, 21, walked into the Senate chamber wearing the black bow tie and white gloves that were part of her page uniform with a handmade protest sign — a red stop sign emblazoned with the message “Stop Harper” and a cartoonish exclamation mark — tucked into her skirt.
“I was kind of nervous as I was walking down that I would trip or something like that, but everything went smoothly,” DePape told the Star in an interview on Friday.
This was no after-hours prank or photo shoot.
This was as Governor General David Johnston was delivering the Speech from the Throne.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper looked on as DePape stood silently with her sign, long brown braid thrown over her shoulder, for a few seconds before the sergeant-at-arms escorted her out of the room
She was fired from her job around the same time she issued an emailed news release explaining her act of civil disobedience and her name — and “Stop Harper” message — became a trending topic on the social media site Twitter.
“Harper's agenda is disastrous for this country and for my generation,” DePape wrote in the professional-looking press release emailed to media while she was still being detained by parliamentary security.
“This country needs a Canadian version of an Arab spring, a flowering of popular movements that demonstrate that real power to change things lies not with Harper but in the hands of the people, when we act together in our streets, neighbourhoods and workplaces,” DePape said in the release....
The recent graduate from the University of Ottawa, where she studied international development and globalization, was clearly ready for her time in the spotlight....
Her former boss at the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives said DePape was opinionated but easy to work with.
“She's just very passionate about the issues that are important to her and we certainly saw that in her last summer, so I guess it doesn't entirely surprise me,” said Shauna MacKinnon, executive director at the Manitoba office.
“She's just very gutsy and very passionate and has a very different vision than the Stephen Harper vision and also someone who's probably disillusioned by the political process and so I guess she felt that this was something she needed to do.”