Palin visit draws few protestors
by Kylie Robertson
Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin spoke on March 6 in Calgary – her first Canadian appearance since she resigned office in 2009. Former U.S. president George W. Bush was in Calgary almost exactly a year prior, on
March 17, 2009 and received a rather different reception than Palin.
When Bush spoke in Calgary there was a crowd of hundreds waiting outside of the Telus Convention Centre in -7 C weather to express their distaste for the former president.
“I think Bush is coming to Calgary because he thinks it’s a safe place,” said Collette Lemieux, co-chair of the Canadian Peace Alliance, as reported in The Reflector last year. “It has the largest population of ex-patriot Americans in the world; we’re a fairly conservative city; and some people call us ‘little Texas.’ And I think he thinks he’s coming to a safe place where he’s going to be welcomed. I think that’s why it’s so important that we give him the welcome he deserves.”
For Palin, there was no 300-person mob waiting to spit insults in her face. Rather, there was a welcome-wagon of three protesters, offering up documentaries and displaying their dislike of Palin with signs and quotes from past speeches.
Graeme Esau, one of the three protesters, said: “I’m trying to let people know that they can get more substance out of a kindergarten play. I don’t see why Canadians should be supportive of a pro-war, pro-gun looney toon like Sarah Palin.”
Bernice Perozni was one person in the audience of the 1,200 who showed up to hear Palin speak, and she was there to show her support.
“I think she’s a very articulate woman,” Perozni said. “She’s very genuine, very down-to-earth and I think she’d make a very good president of the United States. I hope she (runs), but if she doesn’t, I hope she might be vice president. I think we need people that serve people’s needs.”
Inside the sold-out Palomino Room, Palin had to break frequently for applause. She paused for applause after her speech, and for a standing ovation at the end of the question period led by Canadian Senator Pamela Wallin. Sen. Wallin did not open the floor to questions from the audience; instead, she asked Palin questions that were prepared ahead of time.