The Weather Makers, Producers and Sellers Alliance of The Park (WMPSAP) and the Society of Concerned Park Cultivators, Planters, Growers, and Farmers (SCPCPGF) are crying foul this morning, after the announcement that their plans to host information booths at Sunday’s annual Harvest Festival have been nixed by the Department of Holidays, Festivals, and Celebrations.[pullquote]How can we say that we have freedom of expression in The Park when we have been told to keep quiet?—Kalliope Sun Bear, President, Weather Makers, Producers and Sellers Alliance of The Park (WMPSAP)[/pullquote]
In a terse communiqué dated yesterday, the Department reiterated its longstanding rule against promotion or lobbying of any sort at the festival. This year, however, a paragraph explicitly forbidding the dissemination of any kind of information was added to the communiqué and that is what has enraged the two groups.
“We’re not playing politics here,” said SCPCPGF president A.P. Civet in a TMD Radio interview this morning. “We are trying to inform all Animals about their food and their food growers. This is information about our very survival…information we all need to have,” he said.
In a press release issued this morning, the Weather Makers were more forceful in their opposition to the ban:
“We are used to being shut out. We’ve been shut out of every sort of meeting or activity when we believed we had something of value to bring to the table. But this is something else. We are being shut out of a public event and a public place. How can we say that we have freedom of expression in The Park when we have been told to keep quiet?”
WMPSAP president Kalliope Sun Bear confirmed later via email that she has scheduled a meeting with the group’s legal representatives to discuss launching a formal challenge to the new rule.
“This is outrageous behaviour on the part of the department. And it’s a slippery slope. We need to stop it right here before more of our rights are taken away,” she said.