Halifax protest sparks questions about lack of security for Canada's deputy PM
HALIFAX -- A pipeline protest has sparked questions about the security of Canada's deputy prime minister.
Chrystia Freeland was confronted by demonstrators Wednesday, who briefly prevented her from entering Halifax City Hall.
Some are asking why she didn't have security, which would have come in handy when she received a chilly reception at City Hall from the demonstrators, who were supporting British Columbia's Wet'suwet'en First Nation.
Observers on social media were weighing in on both sides of the demonstration and asking a question: where was Freeland's security?
As it turns out, she's not traveling with any.
"No, I'm fine," Freeland said. "I'm pretty tough."
It was much quieter for Freeland on Thursday as she made a stop in Fredericton with no extra security in sight.
One security expert is surprised Freeland would travel without a security detail.
"I don't necessarily think she expected the response she got yesterday," said Kent MacDonald.
MacDonald says security would have come in handy.
"Once they stepped up onto the stairs and blocked the door, then definitely her security team would just be able to do a little crowd control and passively and gently kind of get her in," MacDonald said.
A spokesperson with City Hall says staff was in contact with Halifax Regional Police Wednesday to ensure security at the site. Halifax Regional Police say no charges are being laid in connection with what happened.
The city says staff followed all the proper procedures.
"However, we look at all these with that lens of learning and we'll take a look at the actions taken to be prepared for any similar situation in the future," said city spokesperson Maggie-Jane Spray.
At a Wet'suwet'en "teach-in" at a Halifax university Thursday, activists who have taken part in the series of protests this week say disruption is necessary, and they're doing what they believe is necessary.
"We must continue to disrupt 'business as usual,'" said Mi'kmaw water protector Michelle Paul. "We are gathering, we are lighting our fires, we are getting in the lodges, we are lifting the pipes, and we are ready to fight back."
With demonstrators across the country disrupting rail services and occupying offices, Wednesday's incident at City Hall appears to have been a small taste of what's been happening at various spots thoughout Canada this week.
Just before 6 p.m. Thursday, the Prime Minister's Office confirmed that Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett will be meeting with Wet'suwet'en chiefs about the actions happening across the country, but no date has been announced.
Protest organizers say they are prepared to continue their opposition of the Coastal Gaslink pipeline project, which could lead to other disruptions in the Maritimes.