Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 6/4/2011 (3143 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
OTTAWA — The RCMP are pointedly reminding their police officers they have a duty to protect the safety of Prime Minister Stephen Harper — not the Conservative Party of Canada.
The police force issued a statement Wednesday weighing into a controversy over the Conservative campaign's efforts to eject certain people from its political rallies.
The Mounties — acutely aware, based on past experience, of the game-changing impact their words can have on an election campaign — ensured their statement was tersely phrased.
And while it did not mention the Conservatives by name, it came in response to questions about whether the party was using police officers to eject people from their events.
"RCMP members assigned to the security details for party leaders have been reminded of their responsibilities," said the note from spokesman Sgt. Greg Cox. The RCMP's mandate does not include managing public access to private events, Cox noted.
Earlier Wednesday, in a statement issued to some media outlets, Cox went further, confirming the RCMP had assisted party organizers in restricting access to an event.
It's not the first time the Harper Tories have used police to keep journalists, photographers and some members of the general public at bay during an election campaign.
In 2008, a Harper aide ordered the Mounties to move reporters away when they tried asking him questions at a vineyard photo op.
— The Canadian Press