OTTAWA – The security of federal election campaign events is at the top of the agenda after Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau was hounded by angry protesters over the weekend.
On Sunday, the Liberals did not release Trudeau’s itinerary for Monday, as has been the case in weeks past, likely because of security concerns.
Trudeau’s event in Cambridge, Ont. Sunday was delayed by more than an hour as a throng of people blocked the entrance to a local sheet metal business where Trudeau was making his first big climate announcement in his re-election effort. That came two days after a Trudeau rally in Bolton, Ont. was cancelled over security concerns from another angry crowd.
Protesters in Cambridge became aggressive at one point, shouting obscenities, uttering threats, and verbally attacking police.
Trudeau said he understands that the pandemic has increased fear and anxiety in many, but condemned any threats or use of violence, racism, and bigotry.
He said he is not backing down from his policies and that he would meet anger with compassion.
“I think this is a really important time for Canadians to choose what kind of future they want,” he said, adding people who deny science around vaccines and climate change are not the ones who are going to dictate how Canada moves forward.
While Trudeau pressed on at his Cambridge event, he was at times difficult to hear over the crowd, as people repeatedly chanted expletive-filled slogans aimed at the Liberal leader and carried signs, at least one of which included a photo of Trudeau about to be executed by hanging.
One of the crowd members hurled a racist slur at a Black officer in Trudeau’s security detail and a misogynist insult at a female officer. Others were heard shouting death threats.
Trudeau took a moment to attack Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole for not denouncing a candidate who has spread conspiracy theories about climate and lockdowns.
“He has to flat out condemn them and then correct the record,” he proclaimed.
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All the leaders were grilled by French station Radio Canada Sunday night in a series of one-on-one interviews. In them, O’Toole did not publicly condemn the candidate. However, the Tories have told the candidate to take down her videos and that she has to fully support the Conservative Party’s platform, according to a report from Global News.
Trudeau was pressed about his climate record, and the NDP’s Jagmeet Singh refused to say if he would shut down the Trans Mountain pipeline if his party formed government.
Both O’Toole and Singh condemned the angry crowds, calling on people to be respectful. O’Toole also said that four Conservative campaign volunteers who showed up in the crowd at the Bolton rally have been told they’re no longer welcome to campaign with the Tories.