Your Intrepid Writer Gets Tossed From Church by PM's Armed Security Service

 Trudeau Comes to the Jr Carnival Kiddies Parade in Malvern While I Get CSIS Bums Rush

I have been thrown out of a lot of events over the years, but never before have I been tossed from a Black church by Prime Minister Trudeau's staff.
This all started Friday evening when a Scarborough methodist church invited Anthony Joseph, the publisher of the Caribbean Camera, to come to a hush hush Saturday afternoon service and cover it for his paper.
He asked me to come with him to deliver a gift of freshly baked Caribbean bread (AJ is also a baker) to a Methodist church on Morningside Drive. Small church, Big Caribbean Canadian membership.
We arrived just before a pan player brought his kit into the church. Special service complete with Caribbean music. We were invited to attend but after signing in we were approached by two security officers in civvies, asking who we were and why did I have my camera out? I assumed they were CSIS. It was all hush hush that Justin Trudeau was going to attend at least part of the afternoon service.
I had just taken his photo (above) at the Junior Carnival Parade opening ceremonies in nearby Malvern. It felt that a million press were there. No media except myself and Anthony knew about the planned church visit - we had a scoop (which made me tingle).
After much hemming and hawing the security pair (the female agent had a pistol on her hip under her grey suit jacket - she is in the white shirt in the photo below, you can sorta make out her gun. Looked as though she has body armour under the shirt), I don't know if the pastor knew she was packin'.

The male agent said we had to leave the church and suggested we take our pictures from outside. We moved outside by the door. Ten minutes later he came back to tell us we were on private ground and ordered us to move to the curb to take photos.
Shortly after that a young black member of the Prime Minister's office came out to us and asked as a special favour to not take the picture of this private event. Promised to give me a photo from the event (the PM's photographer was there) , she wouldn't promise that no other press would get the photo. I said no and waited in the blistering heat for the Prime Minister to arrive.
Did not wait long. A huge convoy of at least 10 all black SUVs came down Morningside to the church. I was worried there would be no room left in the church for the congregation (must have been more CSIS, but they stayed in the vehicles.) As the prime minister stepped out of one of the SUV, a group of church elders came forward to surround him and bring him inside. I had only a second or two to get the shot of the masked Justin Trudeau. Damned if two very obese people planted themselves a few feet from me blocking my camera. And Anthony who had a different angle than me, dropped his camera as he was lining up the picture.
We laughed a lot as we left the church parking lot. Don't blame the Prime Minister for Anthony Joseph and I getting tossed from a church. But it was members of the congregation who tipped us off and invited us to enter the church in the first place.
Security is an issue for all political types (which I learned the hard way when the Squamish Five blew up the plant where my office was - Litton - hurt a lot of my friends and coworkers).
So, in the big scheme of things it really wasn't a big deal. Trudeau needs protection and the CSIS officers while flashing weapons were very polite, and as they say, they were just doing their job.
Just wonder if they would have thrown out a Toronto Star reporter or a cameraperson from the CBC or any other big readership/viewership mainstream news outlet?
A picture of Justin attending a service in a Black Methodist church would have been a Bofo front page picture for the Caribbean Camera and would be super well received by our readers. Don't think the mainstream media would have understood the importance of the visit.
I alsoI don't understand why working press were barred from the "private event" yet the prime minister's own photographer was there taking pictures that will be offered to the mainstream press -- and I was offered shots from inside if I put my camera away.
At the ripe old age of 70 I figured my getting tossed days were done. I was wrong. And seriously I enjoyed the experience.
Justin used to send me Christmas cards as thanks for PR services rendered. Guess I won't get one this year.


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