Hundreds of Winnipeggers rally for unity against fear
Ben Miljure, CTV Winnipeg
Published Saturday, October 17, 2015 5:04PM CST
Last Updated Saturday, October 17, 2015 5:29PM CST
With the longest election in modern Canadian history winding to a close, several hundred people in Winnipeg gathered at the Manitoba Legislative Building on Saturday hoping to highlight inclusiveness and unity in the face of what they call a particularly divisive campaign.
“This is not Canada. It’s not supposed to be like this. Canada is a land of peace, a land of harmony,” said Abdo El Tassi, a Muslim who immigrated to this country and went on to receive the Order of Canada for his charitable work and contributions.
Many in attendance thought a lot of issues raised in the campaign, particularly those involving the Muslim community, were intended to incite fear and division.
“This is our Canada and we are one Canada. Diverse. Multicultural. Multi-ethnic. Multi-religious,” said Krishna Lalbiharie from the podium as the crowd cheered in approval.
It was exactly that sense of inclusiveness that inspired Fadi Enabb to bring his daughter to the rally.
“I came here with my daughter to show her an example of an event where Indigenous groups, Muslim groups, immigrant and refugee groups stand together against discrimination,” he said.
The event also highlighted issues of discrimination and marginalization experienced by Canada’s indigenous population.
“When I go to gatherings like this and I see a wide, diverse crowd, it does give me hope,” said Joanne Soldier. “Because it just shows people are becoming more aware of First Nations issues and Muslim issues and all the different diverse groups.”
Organizers of the rally had one final message for people, urging them to become active participants in the country’s democracy.
"Just go to the poll station and vote. And do whatever your mind tells you in there,” said El Tassi. “We're not telling you who to vote for but go and vote. That's what I want everybody to do."