RCMP VIP Security inflates Harper protest numbers; details of incident outside Bessborough Hotel wildly exaggerated
At the public portion of its March 18, 2010, meeting, the Saskatoon Board of Police Commissioners received a report by Chief Clive Weighill containing several letters of appreciation and recognition to the Saskatoon Police Service.
One of the letters, dated February 16, was from RCMP VIP Security in
The letter from Sgt. Robert Pilon and Supt. Jim Templeton starts off well but quickly goes off the rails when it becomes apparent that the main reason for
The officers make matters worse when they inflate the number of protesters that attended the event and wildly exaggerate the details of an incident that occurred outside a downtown hotel.
“The Patrol Officers for this visit were Cst. Casselman, Cst. Buchholz, Cst. Shirran and Cst. MacKenzie. When the 100 protesters rushed the front doors of the Bessborough Hotel, the Patrol Officers responded quickly and ensured the protesters did not gain access,” Pilon and Templeton said in their two-page letter.
“This was a visit where the Prime Minister could have been embarrassed or even harmed due to the actions by the protesters.”
According to the StarPhoenix, approximately 75 people attended the noon hour protest, mostly members of the
At 1:30 p.m. about 30 to 40 of the demonstrators walked across the street and attempted to enter the hotel peacefully. Nobody “rushed the front doors.”
Hotel staff and RCMP stopped the group from entering. One of the protesters asked to speak with the prime minister. The request was ignored.
Four patrol officers soon arrived and asked the crowd to disperse because they were blocking the doors. The protesters complied. There was no violence, threats or yelling.
Harper was in town to meet with Premier Brad Wall and to attend regional caucus and business roundtable meetings at the Bessborough Hotel. In the evening he was joined by Wayne Gretzky for the Kinsmen Annual Sports Celebrity Dinner at
The Prime Minister’s Office said Harper’s visit was a public event, but the public wasn’t permitted near him. Security personnel were stationed at every hotel entrance.
Harper arrived under police escort in a convoy of dark blue sedans that parked behind the hotel. The protesters did not get to speak with Harper.
CBC News interviewed Chief Weighill on March 18, 2010, after the police service was criticized for trying to protect the prime minister from potential embarrassment during the protest. Some questioned whether that’s the job of the police.
“Our job is to prevent anybody who wants to exercise their freedom of speech not to get too close to a VIP,” he said. “That’s all our job is.”
When asked how close was too close, Weighill responded, “Within arm’s-reach or possible harm’s reach.” [
No one had to worry about that on February 5 because law enforcement made sure that protesters couldn’t see Harper let alone be at arm’s length from him.
Local police and RCMP may have spared the prime minister some grief. However, the mere the fact that dozens of people cared enough to protest while Harper hid out in a hotel refusing to meet with them guaranteed embarrassment nonetheless.
Because of the RCMP letter the StarPhoenix revealed for the first time that when Harper, a notorious control freak, met at the hotel with Premier Brad Wall during his stop in
Now, how pathetic is that?