Harperman a hit on the Hill
People gather on Parliament Hill for a sing along of the anti-Conservative folk song, Harperman. Sep. 17, 2015
Published Thursday, September 17, 2015 6:15PM EDT
An estimated 1,000 people gathered on Parliament Hill today to sing Harperman.
The anti-Stephen Harper anthem has gone viral since it was first recorded by Ottawa’s Tony Turner and uploaded to YouTube over a month ago.
The sing along on the Hill was one of over 40 Harperman sing alongs organized across Canada.
Many people in attendance identify with the song’s litany of criticisms of Stephen Harper’s record as Prime Minister.
But the song has also taken on a new meaning. Turner is both a long-time singer/songwriter in Ottawa and a scientist with Environment Canada. When Harperman came to light he was suspended from his job and is being investigated for a breach of ethics. He was not able to attend the sing along of his own song. Sharon Reeves, his wife and a former government worker, thanked the crowd on Turner’s behalf.
Many people at the sing along, including current and former public servants, now see Harperman as a symbol of freedom of speech. Turner’s union maintains he did nothing wrong because he was not representing Environment Canada in the song. “He was just a citizen doing that song,” says Stephane Aubry with the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada.
Chris White, who organized and performed the sing along in Turner’s absence, puts it this way. “They say, well, if I wrote a song critical of my boss I’d get fired too. OK. Stephen Harper is not Tony Turner’s boss. That’s the thing, right? We are. We the public.”
At the time of this writing, Harperman had over 617,000 views.