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Chaingate: PMO office forges protest controversy

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The PMO's office was in Vancouver today to make an announcement at the Chinese Cultural Centre, and was greeted by a "Welcome Committee" formed of Insite supporters.

Yesterday the Conservative government announced that it would appeal the B.C. Supreme Court’s earlier ruling that Vancouver's Safe Injection Site -- Insite -- should remain open. The  B.C. Appeal Court upheld the lower court’s ruling and further ruled that InSite is under provincial, not federal jurisdiction.

Today the PMO got a taste of how frustrated Insite supporters are. Over a hundred supporters formed a welcome committee outside the Chinese Cultural Centre, carrying signs, changing slogans, and putting up police tape and duck tape outside some of the entrance.

Long time Insite supporter, Vancouver East MP Libby Davis tweeted that she was at the protest, and as a result, the PM's Press Secretary, Dimitri N. Soudas, sent out a flurry of hyperbolic emails, blaming MP Libby Davies for the protest, and suggesting that she was personally responsible for putting those inside the event at risk.

In an informal series of email communications sent to the Parliamentary Press Gallery, and obtained by rabble.ca, the outspoken senior Communications staff person attacks Ms. Davies (and misspells her name). The following is the text of one his emails to the national media:


From: Soudas, Dimitri
Subject: Send to gallery

- Inside the chinese cultural centre are 250 chinese canadians who have
gathered for a dress rehearsal of their chinese new year parade.
- At approx 125pm, about 200 protestors descended on the cultural centre and
swarmed the building, will bullhorns, plackards and masking tape.
- They proceeded to block access to and from the chinese cultural centre,
then began taping all the doors shut
- Another 50-75 protestors arrived and began chanting and cursing.
Protestors totalling close to 300.
- Of the 250 chinese canadians, 50 are uniformed veterans, 50 are young
children who have come to showcase their culture to the pm and media

in the horrible event of fire of emergency, all those goodwilled people
would be prevented from exit

Is libby davie proud of this?

Dimitri N. Soudas
Associate Director | Press Secretary
Directeur  associé | Attaché de presse

Prime Minister's Office
Cabinet du Premier ministre


As a result of his emails Twitter was aflutter with rumours that protestors had chained shut all of the building exits, and that Ms. Davies was responsible for it. CBC Ottawa Bureau reporter @kady asked Libby Davies to confirm whether the doors were chained. Davies wrote back: "@libbydavies: it was a peaceful protest in support of Insite (I didn't organize). Didn't see chains on doors. Police moved in and out freely @kady #fb"

It seems that some doors had police tape and chains duck taped on them, but other exits were free. There was a large police presence who, you would think, would have immediately stepped in if there had been a concern.  The organizers have confirmed that Ms. Davies was there as a supporter, not an organizer. And it seems that PMO Press Secretary should ... chill.

To learn more about Insite visit: http://www.communityinsite.ca/

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