Prime Minister Stephen Harper hides from public; RCMP bar peaceful demonstrators from entering Delta Bessborough Hotel in Saskatoon
For the second time in ten days members of the Saskatoon Chapter of Canadians Against Proroguing Parliament braved cold temperatures to greet a federal Conservative politician, only to be snubbed.
More than 70 people gathered outside the Delta Bessborough Hotel over the lunch hour on February 5, 2010, to meet the person responsible for proroguing Parliament on December 30, 2009, to thwart an investigation by a House of Commons committee of the Afghan detainee affair: Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
Harper was in
At 2:45 p.m. the prime minister was to attend a business roundtable meeting accompanied by Lynne Yelich, Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification. The names of the other meeting participants were not disclosed.
The media notice issued by the Prime Minister’s Office said Harper’s visit was a “public” event but unless you were a guest at the hotel or had business being there you weren’t allowed near the place.
Plainclothes RCMP guarding the main doors ordered demonstrators to assemble on the sidewalk across the street.
At least one demonstrator taking pictures was asked by the RCMP for their full name, whether they lived in
Harper and his entourage arrived from the south under police escort in a convoy of dark blue sedans that parked at the rear of the building. A city police cruiser and an unmarked car blocked the north entrance, presumably to keep traffic away.
At 1:30 p.m. about 40 protestors walked across the street and made a peaceful attempt to enter the hotel but were barred from doing so by the RCMP. Rally organizer Peter Garden asked to speak with the prime minister but his request was ignored. A
In the evening, Harper – trying to frame himself as just a regular hockey guy – attended a charity event, the $300 per plate Kinsmen Annual Celebrity Sports Dinner held in the safe confines of TCU Place, where he participated in a publicity stunt portraying an interviewer quizzing NHL greats Wayne Gretzky and Gordie Howe, both of whom live in the United States. [Harper hosts a hockey hotstove in Saskatoon (CBC News, February 6, 2010)]
Little time was wasted capitalizing on the event. Photos of Harper with Howe and Gretzky are already on the prime minister’s website.
On January 27, 2010, Industry Minister Tony Clement was in
Harper and his ministers seem to have lots of free time to fly around the country attending cheap photo-ops and hobnobbing with the business elite at taxpayers’ expense, yet when ordinary Canadians ask for a few minutes of their time to answer some tough questions they hide like cowards.