A United Progressive Movement Can Stop Harper

April 13, 2012, 5:19 PM EST

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In a special presentation to CAW Council, Brigette DePape, the 22-year old woman best known as Canada's "rogue page" told delegates that the path to stopping a Stephen Harper government can be found if progressive groups break down silos and work more closely together.

DePape is known as the rogue page for staging a protest using a 'Stop Harper' sign during the 2011 federal Throne Speech

"This is such a critical time right now in Canada with the Harper government attacking everything we value," DePape said. "We have to recognize the power we have if we are going to reclaim our vision for the future."

DePape spoke about her upbringing in Winnipeg and how she perceived a "palatial" House of Commons and the federal government as a means to make a difference.

"I thought I'd maybe become a politician one day, starting as a page and working my way through the bureaucracy, until I saw what the federal government actually did," DePape said.

"I saw how the Harper government is disrespecting workers, disrespecting the environment, disrespecting Indigenous people, and I felt compelled to act."

DePape acknowledged the work of the CAW in leading the fight for workplace justice as well as for climate justice in Canada. DePape is an active volunteer for the Canadian Youth Climate Coalition, a youth-lead environmental organization that the CAW co-founded in 2006, and is helping to organize Power Shift 2012, alongside young CAW members across Canada.

DePape lead delegates in rousing chants of "Stop Harper," and expressed her enthusiasm for the CAW/CEP New Union Project as a means to better engage non-union workers and young people in the broader progressive movement.

"I don't believe in government to change things; I don't believe that the capitalist system will change things; I don't believe in corporations to change things. But I do believe in the power of you and me to change things," DePape said.

CAW Council President Tim Carrie named DePape an honourary CAW member.

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