Scouts Canada says uniformed kids' appearance at Harper photo-op against policy
Scouts Canada is looking into how members of a B.C. youth group turned up in Scouts uniforms at a campaign event for Conservative Leader Stephen Harper on Friday.
Published Friday, August 21, 2015 5:20PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, August 21, 2015 8:40PM EDT
CTV News has learned that a Scouts leader who gave the okay for Scouts to appear in uniform at a political campaign event is a well-known Conservative supporter.
Bruce Hallsor, who confirmed he is a member of the Conservative Party, says he told his troop to wear their uniforms for Friday’s event in Campbell River, B.C.
Wearing uniforms to political events is a violation of Scouts rules.
"Scouts Canada's policies prohibit participation by our members in any political event," the group’s spokesperson John Petitti said in a statement to CTV News.
Petitti said the decision for the boys to wear their uniforms was not approved by Scouts Canada or its British Columbia Councils.
A photo taken at Friday’s campaign event shows Conservative Leader Stephen Harper standing amid a picturesque backdrop while three young uniformed Scouts members stood to his right in the background. Harper's wife, Laureen Harper, is standing beside the boys.
The Conservative leader was in the Vancouver Island riding of North Island-Powell River to promise his government would take additional steps, if re-elected, to restore and improve the province’s salmon habitat. He vowed an extended partnership with the Pacific Salmon Foundation and $15 million to restore and conserve B.C. estuaries.
According to Hallsor, who attended Friday’s event, he wasn’t aware that his request was against Scouts policy. He said had he known, he wouldn’t have asked the boys to wear their uniforms.
After Friday’s political event, Scouts Canada sent out a tweet reminding members they are prohibited from wearing their uniforms at political events.
Just a reminder that Scouts Canada members are not permitted to attend political events in uniform, we are non-partisan!— Scouts Canada (@scoutscanada) August 21, 2015
In response to questions about the Scouts' appearance in Campbell River, the Conservative Party released the following statement: "We welcomed the participation of all who attended to support the Prime Minister’s proven leadership in keeping our economy strong and Canadians safe."
Hallsor, who has co-chaired Conservative campaigns in the past, has previously greeted the prime minister with his Scouts troop.
In January 2014, Hallsor and his troop met Harper at the Shell Aerocentre in North Saanich, B.C. The airport meeting did not happen during a federal election campaign.