Massive protest coming to Canada

Occupy Wall Street started in New York City on September 17 with an encampment in the city’s financial district. It was, according to the movement’s website, inspired by the Egyptian Tahir Square uprising, and their purpose was to “end the moneyed corruption of our democracy”.

Similar to the Tea Party protesters, Occupy Wall Street was fueled by a growing outrage over the belief that the people and financial institutions responsible for creating the Great Recession were spared by the hundreds of billions of dollars in government assistance and bail-outs — while ordinary citizens suffered the brunt of the financial pain.

And now the protest is set to go global with sit-ins planned for cities in more than 70 countries — including Montreal, Toronto, Calgary, Halifax and Vancouver, according to Bloomberg Businessweek. Other events are planned in cities including London, Madrid and Milan.

In Toronto, protesters are planning to set up camp at 10 a.m. on Saturday in the financial district near a Bank of Canada office, according to the OccupyToronto site. Similar demonstrations are planned near financial and government buildings in Montreal, Ottawa, Calgary, Vancouver and Halifax throughout the weekend. CBC has an interactive map to track the Canadian protests here.

What the movement means in Canada, however, is uncertain. Financial institutions aren’t sure what to expect from the demonstrators — or what, if any demands they will make.

“It’s hard to figure out what’s going to happen — but we’ll be monitoring things over the weekend,” Canadian Bankers Association spokesperson Maura Drew-Lytle told

The goal of the protest is “to seek and work towards drastic changes to economic systems that are destroying our economy, social fiber, and environment,” according to the OccupyToronto website.

“We are, through entirely non-violent means, sending a message to the financial sector worldwide that banks exist to serve us, not the other way around, that the practices of speculation and fractional reserve lending have created a massive inequality and are no longer valid systems.”

Additional sources: The Globe and Mail,

Photo © Stephan Levesque