RCMP investigate harassment of Chrystia Freeland

RCMP investigating harassment of Chrystia Freeland

The tense meeting between the Deputy Prime Minister of Canada Chrystia Freeland and an opponent has caused a lot of reaction in the last few days.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) is investigating an incident in during which Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland was verbally harassed in Grande Prairie, Alberta last Friday.

A video posted to Twitter by an account that voices opposition to public health measures related to COVID-19 shows Ms. Freeland entering an elevator as a tall man approaches her , throwing swear words and calling her a traitor.

The man in the video stands in front of the open elevator doors and tells Ms. Freeland to leave the room. #x27;Alberta, as a woman says to him: You don't belong here.

In a statement, RCMP spokesperson Robin Percival said harassment, whether committed in person or online, can be a violation of the law and lead to criminal charges. In such a context, the police authorities can make arrests, warns the federal police.

In addition to the legal aspect, the tense meeting between Ms. Freeland and her opponent testifies to the deterioration of democratic decorum, i.e. respect between elected officials, candidates and voters, explains Michel Juneau-Katsuya, former senior intelligence officer and manager at the Service Canadian Security Intelligence Agency.

The withering of respect of some demonstrators for the political class imposes a large security force, which affects the accessibility of elected officials, deplores Mr. Juneau-Katsuya. Canadian democracy is based on accessibility to our elected officials, they are people elected by the people, so the people should have access to their elected officials, or their candidates, he says.

According to the national security expert, the multiplication of threats against elected officials is causing the cancellation of events of democratic interest, such as partisan rallies.

< p class="e-p">The tendency towards irreverence also harms candidate recruitment, he adds: It is noted that all parties complain that they have difficulty recruiting candidates because people say, “No, I don't intend to subject my family to this harassment, these threats”.

The Scientific and Strategic Director at the Center for the Prevention of Radicalization Leading to Violence, Louis Audet Gosselin, agrees.

The gap between politicians and voters is a consequence of events like the one Ms. Freeland suffered in Grande Prairie last Friday. Visually and symbolically, we have a cut that we will have to get used to, he mentions.

We are no longer necessarily in the opposition of ideas, which is part of democracy […], but we are really in a logic where we consider political opponents as enemies, says l' radicalization expert.

In addition to highlighting the security needs of politicians, these events show the need to find answers to the discontent of a section of the population at the place of elected officials, argues Mr. Audet Gosselin.

We must find ways to open up dialogue, to be able to address people, even members of extremist movements, to understand their needs, to understand what dissatisfies them in society and to find other solutions, other ways, other frameworks to express themselves and vent their frustrations, he says.

The episode involving Ms. Freeland drew widespread condemnation and prompted many politicians to speak out against a rise in incidents of harassment and threats against elected officials.

Asked on this topic While making a housing announcement in Kitchener, Ont., on Tuesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pointed out that events such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the opioid death crisis have caused a lot of hardship. #x27;anxiety and frustration among the population.

There is a lot of stress and pressure on people and unfortunately there are no simplistic solutions that are going to work. What we need as a society are robust, yet respectful and reasonable conversations about the country we are building, he said.

M. Trudeau, in the same breath, called on politicians, community leaders and heads of institutions to avoid amplifying these fears, but to find solutions that we can build together so that people can see each other. in the future.

The day before, the Minister of Public Security, Marco Mendicino, argued that it was important to bring down the temperature, adding that the Federal officials were keeping options open to better deal with the phenomenon.

He added that cases of verbal assaults and other misconduct are particularly aimed at women , people of color and Indigenous peoples.

With information from La Presse canadienne

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