There’s a very disturbing news article in yesterday’s Ottawa Citizen:
Police have derailed plans for a public forum on the Security and Prosperity Partnership that was to take place six kilometres from where the leaders of Canada, Mexico and the U.S. will gather next month for a summit.
Several weeks ago, the Council of Canadians put down a $100 deposit to rent the community centre in Papineauville, not far from the summit site in Montebello, for the public forum.
The forum was scheduled for Aug. 19, the day before Prime Minister Stephen Harper, U.S. President George W. Bush and Mexican President Felipe Calderon are due to start two days of meetings on the security partnership, a controversial initiative aimed at more closely aligning the three countries in a variety of areas.
But Brent Patterson, the council’s director of organizing, said a Papineauville official called late Tuesday to say the RCMP, the Surete du Quebec and the U.S. army would not allow the municipality to rent the facility to the council for the planned forum.
A citizens group isn’t allowed to meet a day before the conference in a community centre six kilometres away. For security reasons. *cough*
Would a pro-SPP group have also been denied the space? Not likely. Guy Cote of the Quebec police force in Montreal reportedly explained the move by saying the Council of Canadians “is an activist organization opposed to the summit and that it would not be wise to have [them] set up in the community centre.”
What kind of security-hating radicals were planning on attending this public forum? Writers, academics, parliamentarians. You know, your usual group of hoodlums.
In other words, the U.S. Army is now
giving orders to working with the RCMP to frustrate freedom of speech in Canada, by Canadians. Hopefully the Council of Canadians will be able to find another venue, though how far away they have to go before the U.S. Army will let them meet (10km? 20km? 100km?) is unclear.