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Threats against elected officials are “an attack on democracy,” says Trudeau

Photo: Arlyn McAdorey La Presse canadienne Justin Trudeau appelle les Canadiens à faire preuve d’«un respect profond» envers les politiciens.

Sending threats to elected officials constitutes an “attack” on democracy, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said. Faced with the increase in harassment against federal MPs, the latter calls on Canadians to show “deep respect” towards politicians.

“Everyone must feel protected in their jobs, free from discrimination, harassment and violence. When we [threaten] people who work in politics or their team, it is not just an attack against individuals or a political party, it is an attack against our democracy,” he condemned during a press briefing in Toronto Thursday morning.

Many federal elected officials have expressed concern about the climate in Ottawa in recent weeks.

Testifying before a parliamentary committee this week, Parliamentary Sergeant-at-Arms Patrick McDonell, who is responsible for the security of parliamentarians, revealed that his office has opened 530 cases involving threats against elected officials, an increase of 800 per cent by compared to 2019.

“There are debates and conversations where people can disagree. But the deep respect we must have for anyone running for office must not be forgotten, because it is at the heart of our democracy,” the Prime Minister commented.

In an interview with Devoir this month, NDP MP Charlie Angus confided that the current climate in Ottawa was “the worst he has experienced” since his arrival in Parliament in 2004. The latter recently went to court after receiving death threats from a citizen.

Liberal MP Pam Damoff also announced that she would not run in the next election due to the “toxic climate” and threats received against her.

Earlier this month, Parliament's Sergeant-at-Arms called on all 338 MPs to close and lock all exterior doors in the event of a demonstration at their constituency office.

The Speaker of the House of Commons, Greg Fergus, said he was concerned about harassment between elected officials during parliamentary debates or within committees. Stronger sanctions should be applied when comments “go too far,” he said.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116