PM dropping into Amherst for barbecue
Prime Minister Stephen Harper may have snubbed a premiers meeting in Halifax, but he does plan to come to Nova Scotia for a barbecue at the end of the month.
The Aug. 29 event at Amherst Regional High School will be the party of the year for Nova Scotia conservatives.
It will be hosted by Cumberland-Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley MP Scott Armstrong. Other local Conservative MPs and Nova Scotia Progressive Conservative Leader Jamie Baillie will also be in attendance.
Neither Armstrong nor Harper’s staff are publicly confirming the visit. But word is seeping out as invitations are spread across the province.
Hundreds of Conservative staffers, donors and volunteers from across Nova Scotia are expected to attend. The Halifax West riding association is chartering a bus to drive members to Amherst.
The event is not a fundraiser — Harper rarely attends fundraisers — but there is an entrance fee of $10 to cover costs.
The prime minister is expected to give a speech in the evening.
Harper’s staff typically refuses to confirm his attendance at such events in case an important event pulls him away at the last minute.
Harper has taken part in a few such barbecues this summer in places such as Mississauga, Ont., Surrey, B.C., and his home riding in Calgary, Alta.
Security at the Amherst event could be tight. Earlier this week, a canoeist travelling down Mississauga’s Credit River was stopped by security when he inadvertently got too close to a Conservative picnic featuring Harper in a nearby park, the Globe and Mail reported.
The man was “thoroughly searched” before being sent away.
The Amherst barbecue may be the last chance to catch Harper in Nova Scotia in 2012.
Under the banner of the Council of the Federation, Canada’s premiers are planning a summit on economic issues in November in Halifax. The premiers had hoped to pressure Harper into attending, but the prime minister has so far refused.
Harper has not met with the premiers as a group since early 2009.