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St. John’s chapter protests Harper visit to Newfoundland & Labrador today

NL vs Harper

The Council of Canadians St. John’s chapter protested Conservative leader Stephen Harper’s visit to Newfoundland and Labrador today.

CBC reports, “Conservative Leader Stephen Harper ventured into a lion’s den that is perhaps the least fertile electoral ground for him in Canada on Saturday. The Tory leader attended a rally in the riding of Avalon in Newfoundland and Labrador. …By mid-afternoon Harper supporters and protesters had gathered at the site of his rally at Harbour International in Bay Roberts, N.L., some waving placards and chanting slogans. …The event in Bay Roberts is Harper’s first foray into the province this election campaign. Newfoundlanders have shown little electoral warmth toward Harper. In the 2011 federal election they elected only one Conservative MP.”

VOCM adds, “About 50 protesters [were there] chanting ‘Heave Steve’ and ‘Harper has to go’. …Ken Kavanagh of the Council of Canadians doesn’t think the Conservatives have a chance of even a single seat in the province. He says the only reason Harper is here is because the other two leaders were in NL last weekend.”

On that last point, The Telegram highlights, “Overall, the difference in tone was stark between the Harper event in the riding of Avalon, and the campaign rallies last month by New Democratic Leader Tom Mulcair and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau in the capital city region. Both the Mulcair and Trudeau events were open to anybody, and featured hundreds of supporters, whereas security was heavy at the Harper event, and a generous estimate of the crowd would be maybe 100 people. The Harper event was by invitation only, and an RCMP officer physically grabbed the Telegram reporter when he tried to enter the event, demanding to see identification. …Harper’s event was also the only one of the three that featured protestors outside, with a couple dozen people holding signs and chanting anti-Conservative slogans on the road outside the MoorFrost building.”

The CBC report also notes, “The provincial Progressive Conservative government has been at times openly hostile toward Harper… [Former premier Danny Williams] had accused Harper of breaking a promise to protect offshore oil earnings from federal equalization funding clawbacks. Harper was also heavily criticized for what many fishers in Newfoundland and Labrador saw as a betrayal of a promise he made during negotiations for the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement [CETA] with the European Union. According to Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Paul Davis, Harper’s government [has reneged on its promise of a] $400 million fisheries fund to compensate fishers for losses as a result of the trade deal.”

To read The Telegram’s critique of Harper’s comments today about CETA and minimum processing requirements, please click here.

A CBC video of today’s protest can be seen here.

Photos: The St. John’s chapter and allies protesting Stephen Harper today. Photos by Erika Steeves.