Chinese supporters rally as Chinese Premier Li Keqiang visits Parliament Hill on Sept. 22, 2016. (Photo: Sean Kilpatrick/CP)The Westin asked the National Capital Commission, the agency that oversees federal lands in Ottawa, for approval before putting up the fence because the roadway outside the hotel is part of a ceremonial route from the airport to Parliament Hill, newly disclosed documents show. The request "met the requirements for approval" by the NCC, say the records tabled in Parliament in response to a question from Conservative MP Tom Kmiec. In granting the request, the NCC considered whether the wall would unduly affect the look and feel of the capital, in keeping with the agency's statutory mandate, said NCC spokesman Jean Wolff.
A matter of 'pedestrian traffic'
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang stick handles the puck away from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as they sport Montreal Canadiens jerseys on Sept. 23, 2016 in Montreal. (Photo: Paul Chiasson/CP)A representative of China's embassy in Ottawa did not immediately respond to questions. Kmiec, the Conservative deputy critic for foreign affairs, said the wall would be reasonable if built for security purposes. "If it's just to avoid embarrassment and if it's just to avoid seeing people protest or speak their minds and express themselves, then I have a problem with that." While the NCC provided an answer to one element of his multi-part query about the wall, other federal agencies have not addressed aspects, such as whether there was any communication between the Canadian government and the Chinese about the fence. Kmiec said he hopes a supplementary response will be tabled in Parliament, because he still wants answers. "Is the Chinese government getting special treatment?"
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