Dr. Dawg

The Contempt Party of Canada: Harper's rallies [updated]

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Harper gesture up.jpg

By now we all know the story of Awish Aslam and a friend, turfed from a Harper rally in London because they’d had a picture taken with Michael Ignatieff. And we’ve heard about Ali Aref Hamadi, booted from the same gathering for having an NDP bumper sticker on his vehicle.

But, despite crocodile tears from Con mouthpiece Dimitri Soudas, there seems to be a pattern emerging.

The next day, the goons were at it again in Guelph, turning away two young women who had gathered earlier to deliver a non-partisan message upon Harper’s arrival: “”Surprise! Youth are voting.”

Cara Dawson and Izzy Hirji were among those asked to leave the venue.

A Conservative Party of Canada official approached them and indicated they were not welcome because of their involvement in an action that was perceived as a protest by party insiders. Dawson and Hirji tried to explain that it was not a protest and that they had registered to attend the campaign event, but the official could not be persuaded.

RCMP Cpl. Tony Fowler of the “O” Division/VIP Security Section told the students the event was by invitation only and they would have to leave. Outside the venue, Hirji said because he and Dawson had exercised their democratic right to express themselves in a peaceful fashion, they were barred from entry. That was unfair and disheartening, they said.

Way to lose the youth vote, Mr. Prime Minister.

Less publicized was the barring last week of Jim Lowther, a veteran’s advocate, from yet another Harper rally in Halifax.

Take note of the apparent involvement of the Harper RCMP™ in all this. Kady O’Malley is trying to track that one down as I write. Stay tuned.

Back in 1963, I attended a Liberal rally in Montreal, as a budding peacenik opposed to nuclear weapons on Canadian soil, which the Libs were supporting and later installed. Our tiny group was vastly outnumbered, of course, by cheering Liberal partisans.

One of our number was the legendary Stan Gray, who shouted “Yankee go home!” at someone on-stage: it might have been Lester Pearson, actually. He was immediately assaulted by someone of apparent Eastern European origin—who was quickly pulled away by a Liberal organizer: “They have a right to heckle! This isn’t Russia!”

But merely being present at Conservative rallies without being foamingly partisan seems too much for the Cons to bear these days. Is this Canada?

[Kudos to David Akin and Matt Gurney!]

UPDATE: OK, this is really beginning to creep me out, and I hope I’m not alone. Another young woman was turned away from the Guelph rally as well:

“I was just really curious about what Stephen Harper has to say,” said [Joanna] MacDonald. “He’s the prime minister of Canada, so I’d like to ask questions.”

MacDonald was told the RCMP was doing the screening for the Conservative party event and since she has no criminal record — nor any political party affiliation for that matter — she demanded to know why she was being flagged.

An unidentified official eventually told her it was likely because she had participated with the Sierra youth coalition on climate change at the Cancun conference last December.

“He said that’s probably why. He wasn’t very helpful.”

MacDonald says she has never been involved in party politics.

Good God. Background checks on ordinary citizens wanting to attend Harper rah-rah events? And the head of the Harper RCMP™, William “Bubbles” Elliot, cleared Bruce Carson!

UPPERDATE: (April 8) It seems that Elliott may be in the clear on this one: the top-level clearance was apparently the work of a “low-level bureaucrat.” Given the ultra-sensitive documents available to Carson—he personally handled the Afghanistan file—I’m not sure this improves the Conservatives’ position!


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This page contains a single entry by Dr. Dawg published on April 5, 2011 10:14 PM.

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