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Former Vice President Dick Cheney cancels trip to Canada, says it's too dangerous

Former Vice President Dick Cheney has canceled a speaking engagement in Toronto due to security fears sparked by his rough reception at an event in Vancouver last year, the promoter of the speech said.

Cheney, who along with former President George W. Bush remains unpopular in Canada, had been slated to talk about his time in office and the current U.S. political landscape on April 24 in Toronto.

"Basically they felt that it would be a major security issue if Vice President Cheney came back to Canada," said Ryan Ruppert, president of Spectre Live Corp, which was promoting Cheney's speech.

The upshot, Ruppert, told the Canadian Press, is that discussion over American policy on such issues as Guantanamo Bay or the Iraq war is being silenced.

“You lost that conversation because you’re talking about a group of thugs,” Mr. Ruppert said.

The Cheneys referenced an incident that took place in Vancouver last year for cancelling the engagement, according to Ruppert.

Cheney's appearance at a $500-a-plate book club dinner in Vancouver last September was marred by protesters who blocked the entrance to the venue and scuffled with police. Cheney was forced to remain inside while police dispersed the demonstrators.

One man was arrested for choking a club staff member, according to the Canadian Press.

Cheney was Bush's vice president from 2001 to 2009.

Cheney critics accuse him of endorsing what some have deemed torture – waterboarding and sleep deprivation – against detainees in Bush’s war on terrorism.

Before the Vancouver event, the group Human Rights Watch had urged the federal government to bring criminal charges against Cheney, accusing him of playing a role in the torture of detainees.

Cheney has defended the interrogation techniques on the grounds they saved lives.

Cheney has visited dangerous places before, including Iraq in 2008.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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