March 7, 2012 4:01 pm

Oliver man speaks out about pipeline, gets visit from RCMP


John Allsop of Oliver says he’s still is on edge after an encounter with RCMP months ago.

Last November, Allsop called the Prime Minister’s Office to voice his opposition to the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline.

He did not hear back from the prime minister but he says that within days, an RCMP officer was knocking on his door.

The officer told Allsop they had received information that he had called the PMO’s office and asked him who he knew and who he was in touch with.

Allsop says these were intimidation tactics.

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He adds that when the constable left his house, he said something to the effect of “don’t do anything, don’t go anywhere, be sensitive about where you go.”

He was told by the officer that whenever the prime minister visits, RCMP receive a “persons of interest” list by the federal government. Stephen Harper was to be in Vancouver for the Grey Cup that weekend.

Shocked by the events, Allsop contacted Southern Interior NDP MP Alex Atamanenko. Atamanenko wrote a letter to the prime minister and has yet to receive a response. Atamanenko calls this undemocratic.

“I get a little worried that a citizen in this case expressed his opinion and instead of getting an answer back, he was visited by the RCMP because of a perceived threat by security for the prime minister. Something is not quite right here,” Atamanenko said.

CHBC News tried getting answers from Oliver RCMP but they would not confirm whether they had even gone to his house.

“All I can tell you is that Mr. Allsop is a member of our community and if there is anything more you want specifically in regards to him, you should probably contact Mr. Allsop or speak to the Prime Minister’s Office,” said Sargeant Kenneth Harrington.

CHBC News contacted the PMO’s office but did not get a response. However, a reporter at the Globe and Mail tells CHBC News that he did speak with the PMO’s office and was told that RCMP were not asked to investigate and there is no record of his calls.

Allsop says his phone bills prove otherwise.

He is concerned tactics like these will have a chilling effect on those who wish to express their opinions in the future. He also denies that he is a threat to national security.

“I am a passionate Canadian citizen who believes in preserving what beauty we have for as long as we can,” Allsop said.

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