The Huffington Post Canada Michael Bolen
First Posted: 03/12/2012 3:14 pm Updated: 03/12/2012 4:49 pm
Dick Cheney is pulling out of an appearance in Toronto due to security concerns.
The former U.S. vice president and his daughter Elizabeth were scheduled to speak at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre on April 24, but has cancelled due to concerns stemming from his appearance in Vancouver in September of last year.
On Sept. 26, Cheney was greeted by angry protesters while promoting his book, "In My Time: A Personal and Political Memoir," at an exclusive club in Vancouver.
According to the Spectre Live press release on the cancellation, Cheney was forced to remain in the club for seven hours while the crowd was dispersed.
The protest in Vancouver followed calls in Canada for Cheney's prosecution for war crimes.
Human Rights Watch pushed for the former vice president's arrest in Canada for his role in the torture of detainees during the Bush years.
Don Davies, a member of Parliament for the New Democrats, argued that Cheney should be barred from entering Canada, citing his involvement in the authorization of water boarding and sleep deprivation on prisoners.
George Bush faced similar criticism and protest for his visit to British Columbia in October of last year.
Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch called for the former president's arrest, as did the New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights and the Canadian Centre for International Justice.
Bush went to the Regional Economic Summit in Surrey, B.C., with former president Bill Clinton anyway, where he too faced protests. However, the demonstrations were smaller and more civil than those for Cheney in Vancouver and an attempt to have Bush prosecuted was quashed.
Bush's visit to Surrey followed the cancellation of an appearance in Toronto hosted by an evangelical university after several students began circulating a petition condemning the event. The former president also cancelled a visit to Switzerland in 2011, a move which human rights groups said was prompted by the the threat of torture prosecution.
Despite Cheney's cancellation, organizers Spectre Live will still be holding a Toronto event. Conservative author and pundit Mark Steyn will now be speaking along with Michael Coren. The night has been named "Steynamite." We kid you not.
Not everyone is buying Cheney's reason for cancelling. Writing for the Daily Beast, David Frum has questioned whether security was really the motivating factor.
Frum points to the fact that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited Toronto without incident in 2010 and that the city's police should be more than up to the task of protecting him.
I guess we won't get the chance to find out.