Winnipeg mom seeks answers after teen banned from Obama meet-and-greet

Former President Barack Obama will speak in Winnipeg March 4. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Jason DeCrow

A Winnipeg woman is struggling to understand why her son was flagged by the Secret Service and is no longer able to meet former U.S. president Barack Obama.

Lisa Dyck said she and her 17-year-old son Aaron bought tickets for a meet-and-greet with Obama when he visits Winnipeg on Monday.

Dyck was told this week, however, that Aaron was ineligible to meet the 44th president, one of his heroes. So far, the family hasn’t received an explanation for the snub.

READ MORE: Barack Obama to speak in Winnipeg at Bell MTS Place

“We registered and purchased the tickets, and you had to give you name and a little bit of contact information, not much else,” Dyck told 680 CJOB.

“I thought we were approved. I thought we were good to go, and we were excited for this opportunity.

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“I thought it would be something really cool in a young teen’s life. These are formative years and kind of a life changing experience.”

Dyck said she was notified Tuesday that, for unexplained reasons, Aaron was no longer able to attend the meet and greet because they said he was flagged by the Secret Service.

“I was speechless. I didn’t know what to make of it. He’s 17 years old. I don’t know what my son could have done to warrant that.”

READ MORE: ‘Complete profiling’: parents call for action for young children on security watch list

Dyck said it’s possible her son may share a name with someone on a watch list, but she’s waiting to learn more.

“I’m assuming that’s probably what it is. I don’t know how they go about doing the checking and vetoing process. In my mind, I’m thinking, they didn’t even have his birth date, so how are they gonna know who my son is?

“I’ve worked in healthcare, and I can tell you that so many people have the same name.”

Despite the family’s confusion and frustration, Dyck said she understands the Secret Service’s priority is to protect Obama, but she would have liked them to do more research before cancelling his eligibility.

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“I thought it was a little bit harsh to not do more digging and rule out my son,” she said.

“We’ve long admired the Obama family and what they’ve done in the States, and while we understand it, we’re just frustrated by the way it happened.”

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