CBC reports that Conservatives threw two university students out of a Conservative rally in London, Ont. on the weekend. Awish Aslam, a second-year political science student at the University of Western Ontario, told CBC News she and a friend were trying to attend a Sunday rally with Harper when they were asked to leave by a RCMP officer. Aslam said they were led to the lobby where the officer told them they were no longer welcome because they had ties to the Liberal party. Aslam said her only connection to the Liberals was her Facebook profile photo showing her and Ignatieff together at a recent Liberal rally in London. Aslam said she wanted to hear directly from all the main party leaders and had also attended a rally with NDP Leader Jack Layton. She said she had to pre-register for the Conservative event Sunday, which is how the party had her name.
Harper tried to brush off the criticisms . The Globe and Mail reports:
“(Harper) begged off explaining the incidents, saying he leaves the operations of rallies and events to Conservative Party workers. ‘The staff runs our campaigns and I can’t comment on individual matters like that,’ he said. The Conservative Party is tightly controlling access to Mr. Harper during the campaign. Those attending his rallies must pre-register and then produce identification at the door. He is not doing any door knocking or main-streeting where he might meet voters who don’t support him.”
Ignatieff’s and Layton’s responses pointed out the contradictions in the topsy-turvy world of the Harper Conservatives, where average Canadians are screened out via social media before they can attend a campaign rally, yet a convicted felon was allowed into Harper’s inner circle and had top security clearance!
The Conservatives also barred fourth-year University of Guelph student Joanna Macdonald from attending a Harper rally after she preregistered. CTV reports that MacDonald came to the event but after arriving she was told she was flagged and had to leave:
“It was very bizarre to be on the flagged list but have no one there to tell you why you were on the list,” MacDonald, 21, told The Canadian Press.
She said she was told the RCMP did the screening for the event, and wondered why she was flagged if she had no record.
MacDonald said she was told it was likely because she participated in the Sierra youth coalition on climate change at the Cancun conference last December.
“I was really shocked and kind of horrified that I was screened,” she said.
She said she has no party affiliation and has not been involved in politics.
“I was just really curious about what Stephen Harper has to say,” MacDonald said. “He’s the prime minister of Canada, so I’d like to ask questions.”
Here’s one response to these shenanigans: