Editorial — PM’s apology was necessary

It took several days, but Stephen Harper has finally done the right thing. He has apologized to people who registered to attend his rallies, and were then told to leave after being admitted.

The issue has been gaining plenty of attention over the past five days, and despite his party’s claim that few people are interested in mundane campaign details which they call “process,” it may end up having an effect on the overall election.

Harper is seen by many people as being in a bubble, allowing no access to anyone who doesn’t agree 100 per cent with his views. He takes few questions from reporters who travel with his campaign (maximum five a day), has not taken part in any events involving representatives of other parties, and his rallies are run with military precision.

People who wish to attend must pre-register. They must then show identification to enter. After they are given name tags and show ID, presumably organizers then surf Facebook and check the parking lot, as those bounced include a political science student who posted a photo of herself with Michael Ignatieff on Facebook. Another one who was bounced had an NDP bumper sticker on his car.

The RCMP, who provide a security detail for Harper and other leaders, have been enforcing the orders to kick these people out of the rallies — something the force now acknowledges it should not be doing.

What happened to candidates being unafraid to discuss issues with voters who don’t agree with them on everything? Has free speech, which is a cornerstone of democracy, been sacrificed so that the Conservatives can cruise to a majority?

Some years ago, when Harper appeared in Langley as the new leader of the Canadian Alliance, he made a good speech at Newlands, but made almost no personal contact with the audience. He is not a people person — and that’s fine. Not everyone is.

However, if he wishes voters to elect his party’s candidates and give him a majority government, his campaign has to be a lot more open than it has been thus far. An election is a contest of ideas — not a tightly-scripted infomercial.

Just Posted

DW Poppy Sr. boys basketball defeats ACSS Totems rivals

DW Poppy’s Sr. boys RedHawks defeated ACSS Totems this Friday in a high-stakes basketball match.

VIDEO: All ages participate in Langley Hospice Historic Half marathon

Turnout was down, slightly, this year but donations are up

VIDEO: Vancouver Giants blank Rockets

Langley-based G-men take over top spot in the west

Langley Township goes high tech to spotlight local history

To mark the start of History Week, the Township has put out a new app all about the community.

Kodiaks begin best-of-seven series strong

The Kodiaks opened their quarter-final playoff series by defeating the Delta Ice Hawks on home ice.

VIDEO: Langley hosting high-flying fun at annual gymnastics tournament

Action runs Friday through Sunday at the Langley Events Centre fieldhouse.

B.C. athlete takes home gold in freestyle aerials at Canada Games

Brayden Kuroda won the event with a combined score of 121.65.

Pedestrian in serious condition after hit by car downtown Abbotsford

A youth was also hit, suffered minor injuries, police say

Cabinet likely to extend deadline to reconsider Trans Mountain pipeline

New round of consultations with Indigenous communities is coming

B.C. government provides $75,000 towards salmon study

Study looks at abundance and health of Pacific salmon in Gulf of Alaska

Murdered and missing honoured at Stolen Sisters Memorial March in B.C.

‘We come together to make change within the systems in our society’

UBC researchers develop inexpensive tool to test drinking water

The tricoder can test for biological contamination in real-time

Disgraced ex-Congressman Anthony Weiner released from prison

He was convicted of having illicit online contact with a 15-year-old North Carolina girl in 2017

Most Read