By Mario Ernesto Carranza
Sept. 10, 2015
Islander Eliza MacLauchlan was one of a small group of protesters at the airport on Sept. hoping to see Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
They were kept well away from the invitation only event, behind the security fence.
“It’s unfair and exclusionary. We have every right to be in there as much as a Conservative supporter. This isn’t democracy, this is a joke,” said MacLauchlan.
The group of about eight people shouted and chanted, “Repeal Bill C-51” and “Harper is a coward.”
It was nothing like the recent visit by federal leader Justin Trudeau, MacLauchlan said.
“Justin Trudeau had an open event and people could walk right up to him and talk to him.”
Harper’s stop on P.E.I. was a part of his campaign around the country, rallying Conservative support for the upcoming federal election on Oct. 19.
The largely private event required people to go through a vetting.
The small group of protesters formed behind the security fence directly across from Harper and his supporters.
But the protesters were barely heard over the loud rock and roll music blaring from the speakers set up at the event and the jet engines of the Conservative campaign plane.
Islander Amy Mae Jewel protested Harper’s presence, and said she only heard about the protest 15 minutes before arriving at the airport,
“I heard about all this from my mom. It sucks that there is so much secrecy around Conservative events like this. This is the third time I have protested something like this and the second time on the island.”
Conservative Party of Canada’s Spokesperson Kory Teneycke walked over to the protesters behind the chain-linked fence and asked to take a selfie with them, she said.
Teneycke proceeded to pose for photos.
The National Post published an article about the “selfie” pictures.
Reporters were also vetted with only media traveling with Harper and media who passed the vetting process allowed in.
After the visit, Island MP Gail Shea said Harper enjoyed his time here.
“He came out on a fishing boat with a few fishermen and myself and pulled up a lobster trap. It was a fair sized lobster.”
When asked is Harper would visit P.E.I. again, even if not reelected, Shea said, “Mr. Harper will come back for certain if he is reelected in the upcoming October election.”