#ConAir: RCMP Grounds Plane Critical of Harper

WARNING: Strong language and feelings ahead. Canadian democracy is at risk, so you’re damned right I’m worked up:
Stephen Harper Hates Me

Okay, our country has taken a new turn for the worse this morning, after our national police force has apparently violated our constitution to ground a banner-carrying plane circling Ottawa, only 1.5 hours into their planned 3 hour flight.

Now there are Conservatives online saying that the plane could have plausibly been part of a terror plot, provoking the RCMP response to call the airport, to contact the plane, to ask it to return so the pilot could be questioned. Does that seem like logical thinking, or justifying gross abuse of police power for a political purpose?

Something is seriously wrong in our country’s democracy when anti-democratic thought prevails among Conservatives willing to subjugate free speech and good sense to their party leader’s feelings and pride. Using 9/11 as an excuse to suppress our Charter rights? Despicable. If that wasn’t the intention, some serious contemplation of priorities is in order.
Hmm, not off to a good start, maybe you need more time:

What’s ridiculous is that thought pattern has become mainstream since 9/11/01, when it’s completely anti-democratic and illogical too. It’s totally implausible that a banner-carrying plane would be part of a stealth 1.5 hour long terror attack. If “anti-terror boxes” are ticked by banner carrying plane, your checklist maker is shit.

The banner said “Stephen Harper Hates Us” in French. Who is us? Maybe it meant the people who put the plane in the air?

A public service group’s plane chartered to fly an anti-Stephen Harper message around Gatineau was ordered to land by the RCMP on Saturday.

Larry Rousseau of the Public Service Alliance of Canada said the plane towing the message “Stephen Harper Nous Deteste” (Steven Harper Hates Us) was flying in the Ottawa area when RCMP contacted the pilot and told them to land.

Rousseau said the pilot was then “interrogated” once he was on the ground.

The RCMP said they told the plane to land as part of their mandate to protect the prime minister, as it could have posed a security risk.

The banner is part of a Quebec-wide campaign by PSAC to protest federal public service cuts. It had flown without incident in other cities [link added] and has moved on from the capital region.

With a report from CTV Ottawa’s Ellen Mauro

#DenounceHarper has been taken to the next level by StephenHarperNousDéteste.ca and PSAC.

ADDED: April 6, 2011
“Not our job to restrict rally access: RCMP
Force reminds officers that only responsibility is to protect leaders”

I think the clarification to “protect leaders” needs further clarification! Protecting Harper from unpleasant messages in the sky about his opinion of unions, is not an RCMP duty! It’s actually the opposite of the duty of a police force in a free country. The RCMP is supposed to protect us from unjust political force.

10 responses to “#ConAir: RCMP Grounds Plane Critical of Harper

  1. If something like this freaks Dear Leader, the next election is going to be…. interesting.

    Of course, right now it looks as if his grand strategy is to piss off Quebec so much that it leaves Canada, probably followed by the Maritimes, Ontario, and BC, so that he can be the President of Oilberta and accelerate climate change to his heart’s content.

    • It will be very interesting to see how deeply the professional media sinks their teeth into this scandal. I’m eager to learn which RCMP officer made the call, or was told by which politician to do it. Was it Harper directly, or was it simply ‘understood’ due to PMO culture, that it would not be tolerated to let the incident pass?

  2. as a Canadian citizen I’m speechless
    which is good
    because everything i might say would be anti-Harper
    and subject to be scrutinized as being a terrorist
    on a lighter note
    i can hardly wait to see the banners photo shopped onto to planes
    glorifying our exalted homeland protector and leader
    like a modified airbus A310 dragging a “caution: may contain nuts”
    and editorial cartoons …the sky is the limit

    • Indeed, while it’s a PR disaster for the RCMP and Conservative Prime Minister, it’s equally a disaster for our country because it undermines even the notion that we’re a free country.

      We have to put our foot down on this, because we won’t get our free speech back when it is gone, not without bloodshed.

      • true saskboy
        but i live here………….in a town of 3500

        2011 federal riding results.
        conservative…. 40,008 votes, 77.5 per cent
        NDP …………….5,334 votes,
        Green Party….. 2,394 votes,
        Liberal ………….1,898 votes.
        it also has the distinction of the estimated second largest concentration of unregistered guns in north america (come whatever revolution)

        i grew my hair long in the sixties, wrote my letters ,spoke my mind and took my beatings (with blood) and generally found out how vehement crossing fundamentalists and political ultra-rights can be and how long their memory stays. I have been shot at. My hair is still long., the local RCMP still hassle the “non-conservatives” and in “mixed” company you had better say it with a laugh or be ready for a sucker punch.
        free speech has been within tight boundaries around here for a very long time and this grounding won’t get more than a smirk and a head shake let alone shame the RCMP or the harper

        post script
        the political buzz is to defeat harper
        swapping votes between the lib and ndp camps just won’t do it
        either they unite (which appears to be wishful thinking)
        or YOU HAVE TO TRY AND CONVERT CONSERVATIVES
        in 40 years of trying, humor is the only means i have found to even brooch that concept and even it is totally ineffective

  3. Hi John,

    I agree with you, that if the plane was grounded for its political commentary that is unacceptable and must be answered for, by whoever is responsible.

    My initial tweet was in response to several folks on Twitter seemingly unable to grasp that, possibly, some legitimate concern was raised as to public safety. I am not saying there actually was such an event; obviously, a lot of information is still unknown at this point.

    For example, while we know the flight path was approved prior to take-off (I assume it wouldn’t be able to take-off unless it was), we don’t know if it veered off or did anything contrary to this flight plan. Maybe (hypothetical) it was blown course a bit and the move concerned someone watching its path and they asked it to land; I don’t know much about aviation, perhaps this isn’t a feasible hypothesis. I know there are articles stating Nav Canada confirmed the plane remained outside restricted airspace, but none actually have Nav Canada stating such, only Rousseau of PSAC saying that Nav Canada said that.

    Maybe there was something raised as to the actual pilot or something else that happened during communications with the plane, Maybe someone interpreted something inappropriately and decided to ask the pilot to land, fearing for the worst of having something happen while they were responsible.

    Maybe the RCMP or Nav, or whoever it was issued the call to land (hopefully that will get cleared up soon) just flat-out screwed up and did so without malice or a particular agenda. As much as we all would prefer to move past fears brought about by 9/11, the fact is that event happened, and someone in an environment of monitoring aircraft, especially in political and economic centres, is going to have that in the back of their head.

    If the RCMP wanted to “quell dissent” they would have done it on the earlier flights. Why wait? Why wait until Labour Day, in Ottawa, to create a huge, obviously unpleasant and unfavourable scene? Things don’t add up on both sides of the story, yet, and I look forward to more detail being released.

    Look, I am not saying what happened was right. I never said the RCMP, or whoever it was, was right to do what they did, merely that perhaps there was more to the story than had initially been reported. I can’t say whether it was right or not, given that we don’t really know many details right now. Should it be investigated, and should the details of the investigation and the events transpiring be publicly released? Absolutely – on both counts. Should we adopt as fact the position that this was politically motivated and suggestive of a police state intent on destorying all opposing political voices? I don’t think that is a particularly logical conclusion to draw at this point, though it fits with certain political narratives currently in play.

    I think we are closer to desiring the same thing than it would appear – full disclosure of the events that transpired.

    Thanks for the opportunity to post, John – please take care and enjoy what is left of the Labour Day weekend.

    • Hi Scott,
      Thanks for commenting here; it’s always better to discuss on a blog than Twitter when there’s a disagreement, because it’s harder to get fine details across in 140 characters. That’s why I cut to the point so quickly, that it was nothing to do with terrorism and everything to do with building the police state in our free country.

      Kady and others have to be fair in their discussion of news because their job is to remain neutral as possible, but there’s nothing that says they or other citizens have to be so fair as to poo-poo the obvious. The RCMP really screwed up, and violated the constitutional right of the pilot and the rights of the people who paid for that message to be flown.

      It’s been ten years since 9/11 group-think has been used to justify every measure by growing police states in North America, and I’m sick of it. Indulging the revenge fantasies of those who still feel personally victimized by 9/11 is not healthy as of years ago, and is pathological now.

      As I predicted a decade ago, more people die each year still of drunk driving than they do from terrorism. There was no justification for the RCMP to use their power to ground that plane, and it fits a pattern of abuse that I’ve demonstrated in both this article, and in this one https://saskboy.wordpress.com/2012/05/26/rcmp-really-carefully-monitoring-people/

  4. I wasn’t surprized when I saw it on the news. this is part & parcel of the new fascist state we live in compliments of stevie slime. There are planes flying, trailing banners all over Canada at any given time. Now this particular one is a threat to the P.M. what a joke. The RCMP & P>M> are a threat to Canadian demoncracy. What next? Will he have the Premier of Quebec arrested once she starts bad mouthing him & decides they may want to leave Canada. This is going to be a goodie.

    What will stevie slime do when we vote him out of power. Have us arrested because he feels threatened.

    This is the end of demoncracy in Canada. stevie slime is doing well. he & his henchmen have decided it is o.k. to use information gained through torture, we still have a kid in Git, this man is a threat to Canadian demoncracy & has to go.

  5. Did the RCMP actually question the pilot? The pilot is probably a low paid, new commercial pilot simply trying to build up hours so they can proceed to their next level of flight training. Flying banners around is not exactly glamorous flying. I’m not sure what the RCMP would hope to learn by questioning the pilot.

    Canada has the first police state run by the Keystone Kops.

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