Canada

Canada Notes

Another lapse in RCMP security

August 28 2000
Canada

Canada Notes

Another lapse in RCMP security

August 28 2000

Canada Notes

Another lapse in RCMP security

Activist Evan Brown called it “a protest for students, for people on welfare, for social reform.” On the receiving end was Jean Chrétien, visiting an agricultural show on Prince Edward Island. As the Prime Minister toured the site, Brown, 23, eluded security to plant a cream pie in Chrétien's face. And while Chrétien later joked about the incident—he told Island supporters that “you have developed a funny way of serving pies these days—I’m not that hungry”— the RCMP came under fire for inadequately protecting him. “There’s been a failure, clearly,” said RCMP spokesman Staff-Sgt. André Guertin, acknowledging that police should have noticed a man walking through the crowd with a pie. “It wasn’t picked up by security, and that’s what we’re reviewing.”

It was only the latest in a string of embarrassments for the Mounties. In

1995 André Dallaire, a knife-wielding intruder with a history of mental illness, entered the grounds of 24 Sussex Drive and made it into the Prime Minister’s residence, confronting the Chrétiens at their bedroom door before the RCMP finally arrived to arrest him. A year later, at a Flag Day celebration in Fiull, social activist Bill Clennett managed to confront Chrétien face to face before the Prime Minister pushed him away and police managed to pin Clennett to the ground. At the time, the Mounties promised to improve their protection of the Prime Minister, but last week’s lapse in security brought fresh recriminations. “I’m somewhat disappointed that his security would allow someone to get that close,” said Canadian Alliance Leader Stockwell Day. “People may think it’s funny—I’m not laughing. You could have eye injuries. I don’t see the humour in that.”

Atlantic Canada is not amused

Remarks by Canadian Alliance pollster John Mykytyshyn that Maritimers are lazy and overly dependent on government handouts ricocheted through both federal and provincial politics. In their wake, a chastised Mykytyshyn resigned from the Alliance’s national council. Conservative Leader Joe

Clark—campaigning for a seat in a Nova Scotia by-election—was, for once, enjoying his opponents’ discomfort. Even Liberal Premier Brian Tobin of Newfoundland joined the fray: he lashed out at both the Alliance and Alberta Premier Ralph Klein for encouraging “a new intolerance” towards the country’s have-nots. The controversy overshadowed Alliance Leader Stockwell Day’s trumpeting of his latest crossover: former Tory leadership candidate Brian Pallister of Manitoba.

A blow for small parties

The Ontario Court of Appeal upheld a 1993 Canada Elections Act provision that parties fielding less than 50 candidates are not eligible for party registration. The Communist Party of Canada, which had fought against the restriction and won a 1999 lower court victory, promised to continue the legal battle. Unregistered parties do not appear on election ballots, and cannot take advantage of benefits such as offering tax deductions for donations.

Positive identification

Calgary police said they had identified the four-year-old boy abandoned in the bakery aisle of a local supermarket on Aug. 8 and his mother. Suzanna McCarty and her son, Avery, they said, were Washington state residents. The boy suffers from a rare genetic disorder. In a note left with the boy, his mother said she could no longer care for him. At week’s end, police were continuing their search for McCarty.

Back to school turmoil

Earl Manners, president of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation, announced that his union has received a strike mandate from all but one local (the remaining local is expected to deliver a Yes vote this week). Observers say it is all but certain that back-toschool time in the province will be marred by strikes and work-to-rule campaigns as teachers try to negotiate new collective agreements and express their anger over the government’s contentious Bill 74, which compels teachers to teach more courses.

Ottawa’s new helicopters

The federal government finally announced plans to buy 28 new shipborne helicopters to replace the military’s old Sea King aircraft. Ottawa, which expects to pay $2.9 billion for the choppers, will probably issue a call for bids within months. The government wants to sign a contract for the basic airframe next year, and finalize negotiations for the aircraft systems—radios, radar, sonar and computers—in 2002. The new helicopters should be in use by 2005, at which time the youngest Sea Kings will be more than 40 years old.