One of Canada’s largest public sector unions on Tuesday alleged political interference after police ordered a small plane towing a banner reading “Stephen Harper hates us” to land.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police told public broadcaster CBC the weekend flight over Ottawa strayed into restricted airspace, so the pilot was ordered to land for questioning.
“The RCMP undertook questioning of the pilot in order to determine if there was a threat to Parliament Hill,” Corporal Lucy Shore said to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
But the Public Service Alliance of Canada said it believed the RCMP’s actions were a politically motivated attempt to silence critics of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government.
The union has balked at massive public sector layoffs, and paid for the plane pulling the banner, according to the pilot.
“Had the RCMP been concerned about the plane’s potential route, it could have easily communicated with the pilot via radio and sought clarification rather than ordering it back down to the airport,” the union said in a statement.
Pilot Gian Piero Ciambella has denied breaching restricted airspace around Canada’s parliament and the prime minister’s official residence.
He told CBC: “They were worried. They weren’t sure who I was, what it was all about.”
He said officers warned him the anti-Harper message might constitute hate speech banned under Canadian law.
Neither the union nor the RCMP were immediately available for comment.
Harper spokesman Carl Vallee denied the prime minister’s office was involved in any way. “It was an operational decision made by the RCMP,” he told AFP in an email.
[Image via Agence France-Presse]
Ex-AG Matt Whitaker ‘pretty much acknowledges abuse of power’ in Fox News interview
The former acting Attorney General of the United States argued that presidential abuse of power is not a crime during a Tuesday evening appearance on Fox News.
“Abuse of power is not a crime,” Matt Whitaker told Fox News personality Laura Ingraham.
Tufts University Professor Daniel Drezner was fascinated by the admission.
"Interesting that Whitaker pretty much acknowledges abuse of power but doesn’t think it’s egregious," Drezner noted.
‘Abuse of power is not a crime’: Former acting AG Matt Whitaker makes a brazen claim on Fox News
Former acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker told a Fox News audience that it is not a crime for President Donald Trump to abuse the power of his office.
Whitaker made the comments while complaining about "global elitists" during an interview with Laura Ingraham.
"What evidence of a crime do you have?" Whitaker asked, despite Trump, acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and defense lawyer Rudy Giuliani all admitting Trump sought foreign election interference to help his struggling re-election campaign.
"Abuse of power is not a crime," the nation's former top law enforcement office argued.
Joe Biden apologizes for ‘partisan lynching’ comments about Bill Clinton’s impeachment
Former Vice President Joe Biden on Tuesday apologized for comments he made saying impeachment could be viewed as a "partisan lynching."
The comments from a 1998 interview were reported after Biden said it was "abhorrent" and "despicable" for President Donald Trump to refer to impeachment as a lynching.
"Even if the President should be impeached, history is going to question whether or not this was just a partisan lynching or whether or not it was something that in fact met the standard, the very high bar, that was set by the founders as to what constituted an impeachable offense," Biden said in 1998.