Signs banning protests by Harper's Calgary office questioned

Signs posted at the entrances to the shopping centre housing Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Calgary office have sparked some controversy.
Donald Smith was protesting a sign at Glenmore Landing in Calgary's southwest Sunday that bans political demonstrations. (CBC)

Signs posted at the entrances to a shopping centre housing Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Calgary office have sparked some controversy.

'The owners have the right on their property.'— Glenmore Landing shopper Milla Epelman

The signs at Glenmore Landing in Calgary's southwest ban protesting on the property.

"Political or public protesting or demonstrating, soliciting, use of loud speakers or other similar devices, pamphleteering, loitering [and] skateboarding is strictly prohibited," states the signs, which were installed by the owners of Glenmore Landing. 

The signs cite a Calgary parking bylaw that enforces rules like parking near crosswalks or being too far from the curb, which the city says has nothing to do with protesting.

But at least one Calgarian is crying foul over attempts to restrict protests. Donald Smith protested against the signs on Sunday, but was directing most of his anger towards politicians and not the property managers of the parking lot who are responsible for the sign.

"I'm a Canadian citizen," he said. "I'm tired of my government making up these bullcrap bylaws against us when we're Canadians, we're taxpayers."

Harper's office in the shopping centre has been the site of numerous demonstrations, including recent Idle No More protests.

Signs draw mixed reactions

People shopping at Glenmore Landing Sunday had mixed reactions to the signs.

"The owners have the right on their property," said Milla Epelman.

Joel Sitzer agreed people should respect the wishes of the owners.

"I was a little surprised, I thought, maybe not the right place," said Joyce Pickard.

Calls by the CBC to the property's management have so far not been returned.

Harper’s press secretary, Andrew MacDougall, told the Calgary Sun his office was unaware of the sign.

The centre is also home to the office of Calgary-Glenmore MLA Linda Johnson.