“Dick Cheney cancels Toronto trip, says Canada is too dangerous,” bleated the headline in the National Post, which made the story a featured headline pick Tuesday on its homepage at www.nationalpost.com.
Ryan Ruppert, president of promotions company Spectre Live Corp., which scheduled Cheney’s April 24 appearance at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, said Cheney and his daughter, Elizabeth, canceled citing safety concerns.
“After speaking with their security advisors, they changed their mind on coming to the event,” Ruppert told CTV Network. They “decided it was better for their personal safety they stay out of Canada.”
A spokesman for Cheney was not immediately available Tuesday, and a request left with is publisher for comment was not returned before this post was published.
Cheney -- who has visited plenty of dangerous places in his time, including Iraq in 2008 -- is a lightning rod for controversy in some corners of Canada. His harshest critics there call him a “war criminal” and blame him for human rights violations including the United States’ controversial use of waterboarding to elicit information from terrorist suspects.
Violence broke out when Cheney visited Vancouver in September as part of the book tour for his memoir, “In My Time,” which he wrote with daughter Elizabeth. Cheney had to hole up inside the building for hours as police in riot gear took on demonstrators.
Ruppert lashed out at the demonstrators, saying they have only succeeded in blocking what could have been a frank talk with Cheney about U.S. foreign policy.
“You lost that conversation because you’re talking about a group of thugs,” Ruppert told Canadian TV. “It’s a real sad story because it really overshadows what the peaceful protesters, who often have very legitimate points, would be doing and saying.”
Ticket holders can either get a refund, or see the replacement guest: Mark Steyn, a conservative Canadian columnist and author of “After America: Get Ready for Armageddon.”