An order in Council, designed to frustrate the efforts of picketers on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, was quietly resurrected using the Gulf War and President Bush’s visit.
The original Order in Council was strongly objected to by senators and MPs and who forced the Tories to back down.
Trying again
The Tories are trying again.
What is at stake is the right of any Canadian citizen to ‘corral’ his MP or Senator as he enters the House of Commons or Senate and voice his particular concerns.
What the Tories have done is to deny close proximity to the three principal entrances to the House of Commons in Ottawa for picketers.  For example, one is now forced to stay two roadways, a sidewalk and a steep hill away – a distance of some 80 feet from the Senate.
The left door as you face the Parliament building is for MPs, the centre door for the public and state occasions, and the right doors is for senators to enter.
What the Tories have done is try to rid themselves of two ‘irritants’.  One is pro-life priest, Rev. Tony Van Hee, who has prayed, fasted and carried pro-life signs since 1989.
The other is Glen Kealy, a businessman who claims he was forced into bankruptcy because he would not pay a political bribe to a Tory bagman.  Kealy assails the ears of Brian Mulroney and other Tories as they enter the House, crying out vainly for justice – and this over a period of years.
Both Father Van Hee and Glen Kealy were arrested, along with pro-life demonstrator Richard Hudon, and jailed overnight on March 7.  They would not move from their primary locations to the boondocks where it might have been more effective to use semaphore.  The RCMP claimed that they did not have a permit.  Kealy claimed to have one; it was his Canadian citizenship.  It could not be shown to those arrested that they were violating any law.
One person demonstrating does not require a crowd permit, Rev. Van Hee said.
Father Van Hee’s court case has been adjourned to April.  Four MPs  from all three parties have come forward and volunteered to testify on his behalf.  They are Don Boudria, Pat Nowlan, Phil Edmonston and Ralph Ferguson.
On March 12, 18 other prolifers, including three juveniles, who had come to express solidarity were arrested for the same offence.  Well-treated by police, the group was charged, then released.
Trial date is to be set on March 26.
Father Tony Van Hee and Mr. Glen Kealy spoke to those arrested after they had been released from the police station and thanked them for their concern for their right to free speech and lawful assembly.
They have a saying: when the Tories can’t solve a problem – they plug their ears.