Demonstrators nip at gates of Conservative leader’s gathering, one arrested.
MONTREAL—Prime Minister Stephen Harper launched his quest for re-election Sunday night inside a Montreal hall by boasting how the values of his Conservative Party mesh with those of Quebecers.
But his speech to a room of cheering supporters stood in contrast to an earlier scene outside, where demonstrators slapped anti-Harper stickers on a Tory campaign bus and one man was arrested for uttering threats.
Shortly before Harper took to the podium, another protester who entered the building was tackled and hauled out while she repeatedly shouted, “Harper — dictator!”
Harper’s choice to kick off his campaign with a big rally in Montreal’s Mount Royal riding suggests that he intends to put some energy into Quebec, a province that has proven to be challenging, perplexing terrain for his party.
The Tories have struggled to make a breakthrough in the province, where they dropped from 11 seats to five in 2011.
In Montreal, the Conservatives haven’t won a seat in a quarter-century, but they have long coveted Mount Royal as a possible beachhead in the country’s second-largest city.
The Tories say they believe the Liberal stronghold, which has a large Jewish population, is vulnerable with help from Harper’s strong stance in support of Israel on the world stage.