Tens of thousands join anti-prorogation Facebook group
More than 40,000 people have joined an anti-prorogation group on Facebook following Prime Minister Stephen Harper's decision to suspend Parliament for two months until after the Vancouver Winter Olympics.
Christopher White told CBC News that he was upset by the prime minister's decision to prorogue Parliament until March 3, and decided to create the Facebook group, Canadians Against Proroguing Parliament, urging people to contact their MPs to get back to work.
The group, which began last Wednesday, had 40,976 members as of 1 p.m. ET Tuesday.
"My first reaction was anger," said White, on learning last Wednesday morning while still in his pajamas that Harper would suspend Parliament. "And then this time I was like 'OK, I should do something about it instead of going and having cereal.'"
But Pierre Poilievre, Harper's parliamentary secretary, said a recent poll suggests Canadians are indifferent to the prime minister's decision to prorogue Parliament.
According to a Harris-Decima poll, 46 per cent of Canadians polled were indifferent, 34 per cent were unhappy with the proroguing decision and 15 per cent were happy with it.
The poll of 1,000 Canadians, which was conducted between Dec. 17 and Dec. 20, 2009, has a margin of error of 4.1 per cent, 19 times out of 20.
Several pollsters and observers say social media groups have given people the opportunity to make their views known but they downplayed the group's importance.
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"But the question is ultimately who are these people?" Bruce Anderson of National Public Relations told Power & Politics with Evan Solomon. "Are they representative of the broader community and polling can help us answer that question."
"The mass of the population has become quite disengaged from what's going on in Ottawa and we have slices of the population on either end of the spectrum that are highly engaged and highly active in using social media to make their views known. But that doesn't give us a perfectly balanced and representative view."
National Post columnist John Ivison told the show, "This is not a groundswell of public opinion."
Regardless, the Facebook group is encouraging Canadians to hold rallies in cities across the country on Jan. 23, two days before Parliament would have resumed had it not been suspended.