John Boncore

Protest held in Surrey over planned visit from George Bush

Group says former U.S. president guilty of war crimes



Donning masks of George Bush, Dick Cheney and Condaleezza Rice, about a dozen people descended on Surrey city hall Monday chanting “enforce the law” and “keep George Bush out.”

The group is critical of Mayor Dianne Watts for inviting the former U.S. president to Surrey’s Regional Economic Summit this October. Bush is scheduled to speak at the fall event with former U.S. president Bill Clinton.

Bush should be arrested for war crimes, the group insists.

The handful of protestors were outnumbered by RCMP members, mostly plain-clothed, who were there to make sure the protest remained peaceful.

The main speaker was John Boncore, known as Splitting the Sky (his Mohawk name), who had a role in the Gustafsen Lake stand-off in 1995.

Boncore said if he’s unsuccessful in convincing the mayor to have Bush bow out of the event, he will attend the summit with many more people.

“We’re going to be there, and this time there’s going to be hundreds and hundreds of people to demand that he be kept out of here,” Boncore said.

The group was at city hall to give Watts the text of the War Crimes Act that it alleges Bush has violated.

Watts is out of the country, so her communications specialist Tara Foslien came out to receive the documents.

“Best-case scenario, George Bush cancels his trip to Canada,” Boncore said, saying it’s disingenuous to say he’s coming here to talk about economics.

“I’m asking the good mayor to look at the law,” he said. “It’s in black and white, and I’m trying to do this very peacefully… we don’t want to be seen as harbouring war fugitives.”

Watts has long maintained Bush’s visit here has nothing to do with politics, but is about his position on the economy.

The Surrey Regional Economic Summit will be held at the Sheraton Vancouver Guildford Hotel on Oct. 20.

kdiakiw@surreyleader.com