© Jenelle Schneider/PNGProtesters gather outside the Surrey Regional Economic Summit Oct, 19, 2011 at the Sheraton Hotel in Surrey.
Shouting "Shame on the police!" and "Do your job, enforce the law!" a few hundred protesters cried out for the arrest of former U.S. president George W. Bush, who was here to address the Surrey Economic Summit at the Sheraton Vancouver Guildford hotel Thursday.

Derrick O'Keefe, co-chair of Stop War, said the chances of having Bush arrested are slim, but he hopes other countries take notice: "Especially the countries where Bush's policies killed hundreds of thousands of people, we hope somewhere in Iraq someone will know that here in Canada, we took a stand, we did what we could," he said.

"It's our sincere belief that these efforts will keep up and ... someday, somewhere, George Bush will either be prosecuted or it will get to the point where he just can't leave his ranch in Texas," he added.

David Ansermino , a Grade 12 student who had participated in a similar protest when former U.S president Dick Cheney was in Vancouver earlier this year, said it's unlikely Bush will be arrested.

"As Canadians we don't feel he's welcomed here at all and we just like to have our voices heard," said Ansermo, who came with a small group of classmates. "I believe that after today, Canada will think twice before ever allowing these guys here again."

"School happens everyday, George Bush is here for one day," Ansermino's friend Emily Dickson said about skipping school to attend the protest. "This is our chance to tell the world what we think of him, he's not welcome here."

Some protesters held signs reading, "Waterboard Bush" and "War Criminals out of Canada." Others hoisted banners alluding to 9/11 conspiracies.

Security was tight at the venue, with RCMP officers checking identification at the main entrance before allowing delegates to even enter the building. Other entrances were closed off by roadblocks.

Both Bush and former U.S president Bill Clinton were the keynote speakers at the summit, for which Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts faced criticism. But she defended her choice and also the rights of demonstrators to protest.

"I think it is very important to make sure that people a venue and an avenue to voice their opinion," she said. "And I think as you have seen today it's not just about two presidents. It's a well-rounded summit."

The former presidents discussed the "new realities of the North American economy" in a session that was closed to the public and the media.

Watts also said the no-media policy for the Bush and Clinton speeches was not the city's initiative.

"That's their requirement and there is nothing I can do," she told reporters.

She deflected questions about the cost of policing the event.

"Well actually, the police are not there for the presidents, they are there for the protesters. They have a right to protest, which is fine. So we are just going to make sure that it's a peaceful protest."

She added that the focus on the event seemed skewed.

"The entire summit is not around George Bush."

Responding to charges that by inviting someone considered to be a war criminal, she could be condoning his actions, she said: "I don't condone anything. You have to realize that there is a process and a venue, the international court. He needs to be charged, tried and convicted. So there's a process to do that and they have every right to proceed with that."

The annual summit also features a talk from Marc and Craig Kielburger, founders of the charity Free The Children.

Past international speakers at the summit have included former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Steve Forbes, chairman and editor-in-chief of Forbes Media.

This year the summit is focused on the relationship between the U.S. and Canada, as Surrey has one of the longest borders in Canada and an estimated $15 billion in trade crosses the border each year.