WAGOBAGITIK (Truro, Nova Scotia)
A Truro family has been left outraged in the aftermath of an aggressive campaign rally for the National Citizens Alliance (NCA)—a registered political party promoting immigration bans and cuts to abortion funding.
The rally was met with substantial protest from the people of Truro. During the protest, an 18-year-old girl made an attempt to grab the megaphone of the NCA party leader, Stephen Garvey, after his supporters allegedly taunted her and called her names. She successfully grabbed the megaphone’s strap, but she was immediately shoved backward by a nearby NCA supporter. The same NCA supporter then grabbed her by the neck and collarbone and threw her into the crowd.
The girl’s 17-year-old brother lunged forward in defense, but he was immediately detained by multiple police officers. He was kept in custody until later that evening, when the NCA departed. No charges were filed. The NCA supporter at fault received no penalties.
Following the incident, a different NCA supporter attempted to justify his colleague’s actions by fabricating the girl’s behavior. “Somebody grabbed him by the throat,” he said after a protester accused the group of excessive violence. “He was defending himself. He pushed her off, to get her off. She grabbed him by the throat.”
Footage of the incident, captured by Jen Radcliffe, shows that the girl did not grab him by the throat.
The NCA previously applied for a license to hold their final Nova Scotia rally at Truro’s Civic Square. When they arrived at the location yesterday evening—after they had admittedly not yet received a booking confirmation—they were met with crowds of Truro citizens who had other plans for the venue. Civic Square was instead rife with performers, kiosks, banners, and artwork.
This event, officially titled The Inclusion Fair, was organized as a way to combat the NCA’s presence in Truro. The intent behind the fair was to spread love and embrace diversity in order to counter the “hate-speech” of party leader Garvey.
After regrouping next to a statue at the edge of Civic Square, the NCA made attempts to push forward with the original venue—but many fair-goers took notice and began surrounding them. Succumbing to the pressure, the party took their rally to the sidewalk. Various police officers followed.
The crowd was persistent, reforming around Garvey as he changed locations. Very few of the people present were self-proclaimed NCA supporters. When Garvey spoke through his megaphone he was met with boos, chants, and obscenities. He pressed on despite the evident hostility, and often had to speak over members of the crowd to do so, including an elderly man of color. It was this behavior that motivated the girl to take action.
“I was tired of NCA use of a megaphone to over talk an elderly man’s right to be heard,” the girl said in an official statement. “The megaphone was in his face and though I grabbed at [Garvey's] strap I did not inflict any body contact with these men. I was pushed and grabbed at and thrown back by force for standing up for someone’s right to be heard—who I later heard was former town counselor Raymond Tynes, who I felt was being bullied by the use of a megaphone.”
Raymond Tynes was town counselor of Truro for 12 years, and he is now one of the 11 members of the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission.
The girl's brother said that while he regrets his actions now, at the time he felt he had no choice but to confront the grown men involved in “manhandling” his sister. He was motivated to take action when the police officers did nothing. He said he believes that “three men versus one female” is not fairly balanced, and he was raised to defend his family and women whenever necessary.
The rally and protest wrapped up shortly after the incident. Many protesters expressed concern about the girl’s lack of support from onlooking police officers. According to the mother, officers claimed they did not interfere with the incident because “so much equipment gets stolen”—a shocking preference for material goods over the safety of a minor.
Despite being chased out of Truro—their last Nova Scotia stop—the NCA are continuing beyond the province to hold rallies in New Brunswick.