A small but dedicated group of demonstrators took a nationally organized day of action to another level Wednesday night.
In solidarity with the politicians spending the night in the House of Commons, nine people spent the night on the street outside Cariboo-Prince George MP Dick Harris' office to protest the omnibus budget bill C-38.
What began as part of the event organized by advocacy group Leadnow.ca spontaneously turned into an overnight sit-in.
"We made the decision at 7 p.m. to meet back at 9 p.m.," explained Geoff de Ruiter. "The idea was to have some sort of chance or hope to make a statement that we do support what's going on in Parliament."
Across the country in Ottawa, the calendar didn't roll over from June 13 until late Thursday night after members of Parliament made their way through 159 votes on 871 opposition-proposed amendments, going more than 40 hours in the House of Commons. All of the amendments were defeated by the Tory majority.
The Prince George event was the only one to go that extra step, according to Leadnow.ca executive director Jamie Biggar.
"It caused a huge stir online," Biggar said.
The information and de Ruiter's phone number were posted on Leadnow.ca's Facebook page, leading the University of Northern B.C. student to receive messages from supporters across the country.
"It's a good feeling to know people are there for you," de Ruiter said.
Creating an atmosphere where those who are dismayed by the federal budget process feel like a part of something is part of the success of the two organized rallies, according to Biggar.
"It's really important for rallying Canadians who felt despondent over the direction the country's being taken," he said.
About 90 people attended the early evening rallies in front of the constituency offices of Harris and Prince George-Peace River MP Bob Zimmer, with about nine people staying overnight.
The group occupied themselves with board games and going across to the Days Inn to watch the House of Commons vote on CPAC, said de Ruiter. They wrapped up their stay at 7:30 Thursday morning.
"We wanted to show solidarity. Our MPs are there and we want to be there with them," he said, though acknowledged it doesn't seem as though their efforts to find 13 Conservative MPs to stand against the budget has worked.
Biggar said his organization is in the process of deciding whether or not they will organize another day of action, with a vote to pass the budget likely to occur early next week.
Regardless, the protests were effective he said.
"They really put the government on notice that Canadians across the country are not only deeply upset, but also beginning to organize in their own ridings," said Biggar.
Looking towards the future is the intent behind a gathering tonight at Artspace, above Books and Co. At 7 p.m., the Citizens' Environmental Agency Group is hosting a meeting to provide information and networking opportunities for people interested in further action once the budget has passed.