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NEWS: Protests banned outside Harper’s constituency office in Calgary

The Calgary Sun reports that protests at the Glenmore Landing strip mall – home to Stephen Harper’s constituency office on its second floor – have been banned.

The newspaper says, “Attached to a wooden pole at the south entrance of the centre, the sign reads that the parking lot is ‘for use of customers while shopping in Glenmore Landing only’ and that access ‘is limited to customers or those doing business with or visiting tenants’. …Citing municipal bylaw 41M2002 — actually a bylaw governing parking — the sign also says ‘political or public protesting or demonstrating, soliciting, use of loud speakers or other similar devices, pamphleteering, loitering, skateboarding is strictly prohibited’.”

But Calgary Alderman Brian Pincott says that the parking bylaw makes no mention of political protests. He adds, “Protest, in my mind, is one of our rights in our country and it’s something that all of us, in one way or another I would suspect, have either supported or participated in.”

The National Post reports, “There are conflicting reports as to when the warning went up; the regional president of the Union of Canadian Correctional Officers told the Calgary Herald it was assembled the day before his group was set last fall to protest working conditions in federal prisons.”

And now, “Donald Smith, a 33-year-old dishwasher spent two hours in front of the sign, protesting for his right to protest. ‘I’m not having a corporate company telling me I can’t have rights to free speech,’ he said. …Laws against trespassing on private property were, he said, overridden by article 18 of the UN’s declaration of human rights.” Article 18 states “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion … either alone or in community with others and in public or private…”, while Article 19 notes, “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”

The mall is owned by Toronto-based RioCan Management Inc.