British Columbia

Anti-Trump demonstrators in Vancouver urge Americans to vote against Trump

About 20 demonstrators waving anti-Trump signs rallied in front of Trump Tower in downtown Vancouver on Wednesday. The activists were trying to reach Americans living in Vancouver and encourage them to vote.

Demonstration held to reach U.S. voters living abroad

A demonstrator with a papier mâché Donald Trump head gestures in front of the Trump Tower in Vancouver on Wednesday. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

About 20 demonstrators waving anti-Trump signs gathered outside the Trump Tower in downtown Vancouver on Wednesday. They were organized by the group Avaaz in an effort to encourage Americans living abroad to vote in the upcoming U.S. election.

"We think that a candidate like Donald Trump is quite dangerous. We think it would be a terrible choice for the U.S., but [also] for Canada and the World," said Avaaz organizer Joseph Huff-Hannon, who lives in Washington, D.C.

"We think that most Americans in Canada, if they vote, are probably not going to vote for Donald Trump," he said.

The activists who showed up appeared to be mostly Canadian, and it's unclear how many Americans in the neighbourhood were motivated to register at the group's faux voter booth where an iPad was set up to help them sign up.

The Trump figure dances on a flatbed truck next to a faux voters booth. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

"I feel more concerned about this than any election in the U.S. before," said Heather Hay, an activist holding an Avaaz sign and wearing her bicycle helmet. "Every time you speak up, it makes a difference."

"I think that his racist policies and stance are extremely dangerous in the world," she said. "Those things are heavily contributing to war, to xenophobia and his lack of understanding about how important thinking about climate change is, because that's a major threat to the world no matter where you live."

Activist Heather Hay holds an anti-Trump sign on Georgia Street in Vancouver. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

Another Canadian, Hardy Scott, held a sign reading "Canada & U.S., United to Stop Trump."

"What may be more disturbing than Trump is that near 50 per cent of the U.S. voters think that he's hot shit," he said, adding that he's highly critical of U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump's business management history.

A face painter decorates a Canadian's face in front of the Trump Tower. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

Huff-Hannon estimates that there are as many as a million Americans living in Canada.

"They're all eligible to vote. We want to make sure they do vote in this election. In elections past they haven't," he said. 

"It will just take a few minutes of your time. Let's make sure that Donald Trump sticks to the hotel business and never makes it to the White House."

Meanwhile, behind Huff-Hannon and the demonstrators, workers carried on with construction of the Trump Hotel. The huge chrome Trump sign was covered in a blue shroud to protect it from granite and marble dust.

Avaaz organizer Joseph Huff-Hannon addresses media outside the Trump Tower. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

The hotel's general manager Philipp Posch carried on with his work inside to get the place open for business. The enterprise, which is actually owned by the Holborn Group, and only has a branding deal with Trump's business, was expected to open in September, but that has been delayed until the new year.

Posch says the timing has nothing to do with the U.S. election, and he tried to steer clear of the politics going on outside on the sidewalk.

Demonstrators wave signs at a motorists in Vancouver. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

"I mean, going through a hotel opening, there's so much to do that we just keep our heads down and we focus on the task at hand, which is on-boarding the employees, getting everybody up to speed, getting them up to speed with the Trump standard and the Trump culture," he said.

"Sure we're aware of what's going on with the campaign, absolutely, but we just really don't get involved. It's in a different country, obviously it has to do with Mr. Trump, which is the name that's on the building but we can't — it's not our job to steer people's opinions one way or the other."

The huge Trump name on the front of the tower is shrouded while construction continues. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

Posch said the banquet hall is now open and held its first wedding late last month.

Outside, Huff-Hannon drew honks from motorists passing by on Georgia Street.

"It's Trump Tower, I'm sure it's a beautiful hotel, but Trump is running to run the most powerful government in the world," he said.

"He's good at branding of hotels, that does not make him a good world leader."

Huff-Hannon estimates that there could be as many as a million Americans living in Canada who are eligible to vote in the U.S. presidential election. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

Follow Rafferty Baker on Twitter: @raffertybaker