News / Calgary

Protesters lace up for Bush visit

Footwear has been sent to Calgary all week from across Canada in preparation for former U.S. president George W. Bush's visit to Calgary today.

An estimated 250 shoes will be thrown at a poster of Bush outside the Telus Convention Centre as he gives his speech inside about what he has learned from eight years in the Oval Office.

Protesters will pay homage to an incident where an Iraqi journalist threw his shoe at the former president during a press conference in December.

"We're coming together to make sure Bush gets the welcome he deserves," said Collette Lemieux, who is organizing the protest. She expects at least 200 people to show up based on the amount of interest surrounding the Bush visit.

Tickets to his speech were sold for $400 each, available exclusively by invitation.

Local activist Grant Neufeld said he felt disgust when he heard the former president would be visiting his city.

"This is a fellow who has pretty credible evidence for war crimes against him. Under Canadian law, he shouldn't even be allowed in the country. But there is a strong hold of neo-conservatism in Calgary - it's certainly the city that would be the friendliest to him," he said.

The Calgary Chamber of Commerce had a part in organizing the speech, which will kick off Bush's unofficial image-rehabilitation tour.

"This is one of the many heads of government who really have been trying to do the best they can in what I would characterize as one of the most difficult times in recent history," said Geoff Pradella, vice-president of the Calgary Chamber of Commerce.

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