Canada
Calgary alderman questions sign near Harper's office that bans protests

Credits: Darren Makowichuk/Calgary Sun/QMI Agency

DAVE DORMER | QMI AGENCY

CALGARY - Along with a few eyebrows, a sign posted at a strip mall - home to Prime Minister Stephen Harper's constituency office - is raising the ire of some social dissidents.

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."

Both Harper and Calgary-Glenmore MLA Linda Johnson have their respective constituency offices at Glenmore Landing.

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."

Representatives with Toronto-based RioCan Management Inc., which owns and operates Glenmore Landing, did not return several calls for comment.

And that surprised some, including Calgary Ald. Brian Pincott, who has long been known as a crusader of social causes and issues.

"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," he said.

Pincott also questioned the use of the bylaw, which covers parking in the city and makes no mention of political protests or assembly of citizens.

Harper's press secretary, Andrew MacDougall, said his office was unaware of the sign.

"It seems strange to me," he said. "Protests happen, they're a fact of life, and as long as people are respecting the laws, they have the right to be there."


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