Canada’s Justice Minister Rob Nicholson says he hopes the beefed-up security presence following him lately is a “short-term” measure, but the Niagara Falls MP wouldn’t say much else about why he has a police escort tailing him.
“We’re always concerned about issues of security,” Nicholson said Monday, when asked about what appeared to be a plainclothes police officer travelling with him to a funding announcement in Niagara Falls.
A woman in a black suit and wearing dark sunglasses was with Nicholson when he arrived at the Bridge St. train station Monday to announce Ottawa will contribute $700,000 toward upgraded GO Train platforms.
The woman did not appear to be part of the minister’s office staff. She didn’t interact with others at the event and she stayed close to the Conservative cabinet minister.
Last week, a man also wearing a dark suit and wearing sunglasses accompanied Nicholson to Fort Erie for the re-enactment of a 19th-century military battle.
“When all this is over, I’ll talk to you more about it,” Nicholson said, though he wouldn’t expand on what he meant by “all this.”
He wouldn’t say if the security was added as part of the lead-up to the G8 and G20 summits in Huntsville and Toronto later this week or due to some other issue.
In June, Nicholson’s St. Paul Ave. office was targeted for protests by marijuana activists angry over the federal government’s extradition of Vancouver activist Marc Emery to face drug charges in the United States, where he is accused of selling marijuana seeds to Americans over the Internet.
As justice minister, Nicholson’s signature is required on any Canadian extradition order.
Two men were charged at a June 10 protest — one with assault against a police officer and the other with obstruction of justice — following a confrontation with Niagara Regional Police officers outside Nicholson’s office. Those charges have not yet been dealt with in court.
A June 17 article on Cannabis Culture’s website said Mounties visited a 22-year-old Stoney Creek man earlier this month after a call was made to Nicholson’s home from the man’s home.
“They told me that the minister’s house has been receiving hundreds if not thousands of calls, from Vancouver to Halifax and everywhere in between, and apparently some of them were threatening,” Steve Shakeshaft of Stoney Creek was quoted as saying by the magazine.
Tight security around some Conservative cabinet ministers is normal, but it’s out of character for Nicholson.
When Prime Minister Stephen Harper was in Niagara Falls in May to break ground on the expansion of a local museum, security was noticeably tight, even for a visit by the prime minister.
After Harper and Nicholson spoke at a formal announcement at a Fallsview Blvd. hotel, there were marijuana activists protesting on the street.
“We will not be ignored,” they shouted from the sidewalk.
– Article from The Tribune.