Harper's self-serving 'apology' exposes the cowardly venality lurking beneath his unbutoned shirt
"... if anybody is kept out of any of our events that's there to hear our message we obviously apologize to them. Our interest is in having as many people out to hear our message as we can. We're having huge meetings, we had another huge one last night and we want people to hear our message." — Stephen Harper 'apologizes' after being asked if he would take responsibility for a teenager's eviction from a rally because her Facebook page included a photo of herself with Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff.
On April 3rd, two young women, students at the University of Western Ontario, attended a Conservative Party rally and were taught a valuable lesson about Conservative values and ethics.
About a half-hour after being admitted, both Awish Aslam and an un-named friend were hustled out of the meeting, publicly berated and had physically stripped of the stickers pinned to their shirts — all because they had both had the naive temerity to post a photo of themselves taken while meeting Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff on their Facebook profiles.
The London Free Press broke the story on April 5th.
"A week ago, Aslam, readying to vote federally for the first time, attended a Liberal rally in London where she and a friend snagged a photo with Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff. Both made it their Facebook profile pictures.
"A few days later, the pair attended Harper’s rally, for which they signed up in advance online.
"But about 30 minutes after arriving, Aslam says, they were ordered out by a man who accused them of having "ties to the Liberal party through Facebook."
"He ripped Conservative stickers off their shirts, tore them up and ordered them out, Aslam says."
Note that no one accused Aslam or her friend of being disruptive in any way. They weren't demonstrating, or passing out leaflets or even asking questions — they were just, y'know, watching.
Further note that the Conservatives consider it an efficient use of their time to stalk the Facebook pages of attendees at their rallies, that they consider public humiliation of teenagers appropriate behaviour (Ms Aslam was reduced to tears) and that, as we'll see, Stephen Harper himself sees nothing wrong with any of this.
The Globe and Mail ran the story and followed up with the Prime Minister Who Would Be President himself.
Harper ducked the issue. "The staff runs our campaigns," he said, "and I can't comment on individual matters like that," typically passing the buck of blame to those below him.
See An apology means never having to say you're sorry for more.
Edited to fix terrible typo.