VANCOUVER – Vancouver police say they won’t be pursuing criminal charges against two climate-change protesters who came within touching distance of Prime Minister Stephen Harper on a stage at an event in Vancouver.
The protesters, who have publicly identified themselves as Sean Devlin and Shireen Soofi, walked on stage during a Vancouver Board of Trade question-and-answer event at a downtown hotel on Monday.
They were quickly removed from the stage and the event carried on, but the stunt raised questions about how two activists could get that close to the prime minister.
Sgt. Randy Fincham said Vancouver police consulted with the RCMP and decided not to recommend criminal charges.
“After reviewing what happened, speaking with the RCMP, it was determined that charges were not appropriate in this case,” Fincham said in an interview Tuesday.
“After consultation with both (the RCMP and the Crown), it was determined that it wasn’t in the public’s best interest to pursue an investigation into criminal charges.”
The protesters are affiliated with Brigette DePape, the former page who walked onto the Senate floor holding a Stop Harper sign during a 2011 throne speech.
On Monday, the activists each held up a sign attacking Harper’s record on climate change. One sign said Climate Justice Now, while the other featured a dark line crossed through the phrase Conservatives Take Climate Change Seriously.
The prime minister’s office and the RCMP have declined to discuss the specifics of what happened, though the Mounties are reviewing the incident.
Devlin has said it was “quite easy” to enter the hotel ballroom where the event was taking place.
Devlin said he and Soofi picked up black dress wear from a thrift shop to blend in with the catering staff. He said at no point were they confronted by security.
Harper is continuing his Western Canadian tour on Vancouver Island today.