Two protesters get uncomfortably close to Prime Minister Harper at Vancouver event

Andy Radia
Politics Reporter
Canada Politics

On the surface, this looks like a pretty significant security fail.

On Monday morning, Stephen Harper was at the Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel in Vancouver for a Q & A with the Vancouver Board of Trade.

At one point while Harper was on stage, two climate change protesters — brandishing placards — got within a couple of feet of him before security nabbed them and escorted them away.

Reporters in attendance and those watching on television quickly took to Twitter wondering how the duo could have gotten so close to the prime minister.

Harper took the incident in stride joking that "it wouldn't be B.C. without [protesters]."

Yahoo! Canada News contacted the Prime Minister's Office about the apparent security breach.

In an email response, spokesperson Carl Vallée simply said "we don't comment on security-related matters."

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The Vancouver Observer identified the two protesters as Shit Harper Did activist Sean Devlin and Shirine Soofi from No One is Illegal.

"I just had on black clothes and a white apron that I picked up from Value Village," Devlin said told the Observer.

"[Security] threw me down pretty hard. I was arrested with mischief, but then they let me go. No charges...but it felt like we were supposed to be there. We were supposed to be there."

Brigette DePape, one of the organizers of the protest, sent out a post-incident press release saying that the action was a "condemnation of the Harper Government’s failing climate policies."

"This morning two people directly intervened in a high security question and answer session with Prime Minister Stephen Harper," the release said, according to CBC News.

"The group managed to make their way past police undetected and into the secured Vancouver Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel."

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The protest upstaged Harper's first event of his three-day visit to British Columbia.

In front of the well-heeled Vancouver crowd, the prime minister spoke about the economy, trade and the Sochi Olympics. He also spent a fair amount of time talking about oil extraction and getting First Nations on-side with things like the Northern Gateway pipeline project.

"If handled correctly, this is an unprecedented opportunity for aboriginal people and their communities to join the mainstream of the Canadian economy," Harper said, according to the Canadian Press.

"I encourage aboriginals leaders to look at these things, not just as opportunities to gain a revenue stream, but opportunities to have people working on these projects, to have aboriginal businesses providing services."

Harper had another public event scheduled for Monday afternoon and an appearance on Vancouver Island on Tuesday.

Hopefully the prime minister's security detail are better prepared for those events.

(Photo from Twitter)

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