Saturday, February 13, 2010

Press Release Re. Stanstead Border Installations

Conservatives block access to border installations

Stanstead, Feb 12, 2010. The Harper Conservatives reached a new low in their attempts to subvert democracy when the Public Safety Minister intervened to block a Member of Parliament's access to the Stanstead border installation, said William Hogg, Liberal candidate in Compton-Stanstead today.

Mr. Hogg was hosting MP Mark Holland, Liberal critic for Public Safety and National Security, and vice-chair of the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security, for a public forum on border issues, from 2pm-4pm in the Stanstead Town Hall.

Immediately prior to the forum Mr. Holland and I were to meet with the Canadian Border Service Agency for a tour and discussion about border issues in the region." said Mr. Hogg "The meeting had been set up through official channels and had been confirmed by local officials over a week ago. Yesterday, the Minister of Public Safety's office abruptly contacted Mr. Holland to tell him that our visit had been cancelled."

The Minister's office could give no good reason for the tour's cancellation nor could they explain the inconsistencies between the messages at the local and ministerial levels.

"It is clear that the Minister interfered for one of two reasons - either for pure partisan politics or to block our access to federal bureaucrats who may have helpful information, especially for me in my capacity as vice-chair of the parliamentary committee that oversees the border," said Mark Holland. "Either motive is an abuse of power and just serves to remind Canadians that the Harper government will stop at nothing to stifle criticism."

Combined with Conservative efforts to block access to information regarding Afghan detainees and the recently reported efforts on the part of Christian Paradis' staff to stop access to information requests, there seems to be a pattern of interference at the ministerial and prime-ministerial level in the management of public institutions. Stated Mr. Hogg,"the Conservatives continually push their transparency and accountability agenda in public, but behind the scenes they do everything in their power to undermine it."

Justine Villeneuve, Office of Mark Holland, MP

I'm not around much today. This may be all you see. Cheers

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