A human rights artist, when Jeremy Dyer learned that he would be expected to shake Herr Harper's hand, he took a stand.
When Jeremy Dyer was selected to represent his province because of his human rights art, he had no idea he'd find himself in line to shake Prime Minister Stephen Harper's hand. The notion was an affront to Dyer, an activist who vehemently disagrees with many of Harper's policies.
Dyer, 19, who hails from St. John's, N.L., was at the Canadian Museum of Human Rights in Winnipeg, where he and 11 other young people from around the country were on hand to display their human rights-themed artwork. Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip were both in attendance, as the Queen unveiled a cornerstone to the museum. Then, standing in front of cameras alongside his peers, Dyer heard rumblings the prime minister was en route.
“I didn't know until literally minutes before,” said the Memorial University student. “I was pretty outraged that he was going to be there... I told them I would politely decline to shake his hand if he attempted.” After a speech about youth and Canada and human rights, Harper did, indeed, shake the young artists' hands. But before he could reach Dyer, a museum staff member came up behind Dyer, and asked him to step back, Dyer said. Refusing to shake Harper's hand was his way of expressing his disapproval, he said. “That was the breaking point — when I was suppressed for my beliefs.”
Dyer said the event turned into a photo-op for the prime minister. Welcome to Harper's world Jeremy.