Threats against PM Trudeau, cabinet rising in 2020: RCMP records
OTTAWA -- RCMP data show threats made against Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his cabinet are on the rise in the first half of 2020 compared to 2019 numbers, CTV News has confirmed.
From January to July there have been approximately 130 threat files collected by the RCMP’s National Division Protective Operations unit, compared to 100 made during the same time period the year prior. There were a total of 215 threats for the entire 2019 year.
This new information comes on the heels of a number of high-profile incidents threatening the security of Trudeau, Governor General Julie Payette, and most recently, Infrastructure Minister Catherine McKenna.
On July 2, an armed man gained entry onto the grounds of Rideau Hall where Payette and Trudeau’s family have residences. After breaching the front pedestrian gates, he was arrested by RCMP and later charged with 22 criminal offences. According to court documents, he uttered threats against the prime minister.
Neither Payette nor Trudeau and his family were at home during the incident.
A week ago, a man filmed himself walking up to McKenna’s constituency office in Ottawa and yelling obscenities at one of her female office staff. The Ottawa Police Service’s hate crime unit is investigating the issue.
"She didn’t sign up for this, I didn’t sign up for this, no politician signs up for this," McKenna said, addressing the event on Thursday during a press briefing along the Rideau Canal.
"I think the bigger reflection is how do we stop the hate, how do we stop the threats, how do we stop the violence, how do we stop this offline and how do we stop this online? I think social media companies have a role to play. They promote lies, they promote hatred."
This isn’t the first time her office has been the target of a hate crime. McKenna last spoke out about the issue when her office windows were vandalized with a sexist slur after her re-election last October.
"If I knew what I know now about the abuses you have to take, I would certainly have a second thought and that’s what I don’t want. I don’t want women and others to not step into politics because they’re worried about their safety," she told a group of reporters this on Monday.
Asked on Thursday whether she has a larger security detail following the latest incident, McKenna said she’s letting the different policing agencies do their work but that she "still goes out with her family and kids."
During testimony to the House justice committee last year ahead of the federal election, Canada’s top bureaucrat, Clerk of the Privy Council Michael Wernick, warned of the impact of widespread hateful, and violent political speak.
"I worry about the rising tides of incitements to violence, when people use terms like treason and traitor in open discourse. Those are the words that lead to assassination. I’m worried that somebody is going to be shot in this country this year, during the federal campaign," he said during his opening statement.
The RCMP’s National Protective Operations branch provides security to the prime minister, the governor general, the ministers of the crown, Supreme Court justices, the diplomatic community, internationally protective persons, and others identified by public safety as requiring protection.