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Justin Trudeau Security | Death threats are on the rise



(Ottawa) The number of death threats against Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has more than doubled in 2022 – a year marked by the “freedom convoy” in Ottawa and the invocation of Emergency Measures Act to put an end to the occupation of the city center of the federal capital.

In all, 18 death threats against Mr. Trudeau were reported to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) last year. In 2021 – a year marked by a federal election – seven death threats were reported to police forces, show documents obtained by The Press under the Access to Information Act.

The number of threats made against Mr. Trudeau has therefore reached a new peak, while the Minister of Public Security, Marco Mendicino, has been promising for several months to implement new measures to ensure the safety of elected officials in Ottawa. Minister Mendicino was also the target of a death threat for the first time since the authorities made a compilation.


Public Security Minister Marco Mendicino

“All of this is very worrying,” says Yan Plante, former chief of staff to Transport Minister Denis Lebel in Stephen Harper’s Conservative government. Now vice-president at TACT, Mr. Plante has been advocating for several years that greater security be offered to ministers in Ottawa.

Not just the prime minister

In 2022, 11 ministers of the Trudeau government, or about a third of the federal cabinet, have been targeted by death threats. This is almost twice as much as in 2011, when six ministers were the subject of such a threat.

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh is the only other party leader to have received death threats that have been reported to police. He was the target of four threats in 2021 and one threat in 2022.

“It’s a file that we seem to be shoveling forward for all sorts of reasons. But it is obvious that it must be one of the priorities to ensure better security for our elected officials. The fact that the number of death threats has doubled is typical of the era in which we live with the proliferation of communication channels such as social networks. And the political climate is rather polarized in Canada after a harsh pandemic, ”said Mr. Plante.

The fact remains that the Trudeau government’s slowness to act “is a decision in itself”.

The day when the worst will happen – and we do not wish it – will be because of successive governments that have not acted. This is what I find absolutely deplorable.

Yan Plante, vice president at TACT and former chief of staff in Stephen Harper’s government

The Press obtained these documents while Prime Minister Justin Trudeau resumed his habit of participating in town halls across the country during which he answered questions from participants, whether they were students, construction workers or service workers personal support.


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at a town hall meeting with local chambers of commerce in Clarenville, Newfoundland on Wednesday

“We are not going to stop participating in public meetings even if we see that there are more threats,” said a source close to the Prime Minister.

Plan for the safety of elected officials

Minister Marco Mendicino’s press secretary, Audrey Champoux, says the minister continues to work on a plan to strengthen the security of ministers and elected officials.


In October 2019, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau went to a partisan rally in Mississauga wearing a bulletproof vest and surrounded by an important security device, and this, in the middle of the election campaign.

“In recent years, there has been an alarming rise in hateful rhetoric, which has resulted in an increasing number of threats and acts of intimidation against elected officials. This is not a partisan issue – it affects people across the political spectrum and specifically targets women, 2SLGBTQ+ people, Indigenous peoples and other marginalized groups,” said Champoux in an email.

“Minister Mendicino joins many voices across the country in strongly condemning this disturbing rise in threats – and we are taking action. This involves increased security for parliamentarians, including mobile alarms provided by the House of Commons. Most notably, Minister Mendicino’s mandate letter contains specific instructions to “enhance the security of ministers and parliamentarians.” This work is well advanced, in collaboration with the Sergeant-at-Arms of the House of Commons, colleagues from other parties and law enforcement across the country. »

In an interview with The Press last June, Mr. Mendicino indicated that he was not ruling out the idea of ​​establishing security measures in Ottawa similar to those that have existed for years in Quebec City, where ministers are accompanied by an armed driver acting as bodyguard.

“The situation is very, very serious. The security of MPs, ministers, all those who work in the political sphere has deteriorated considerably in recent years. The pandemic has exacerbated the problem. Extremist rhetoric has spread on social media. So we have to act,” he said.

Police investigations

It was impossible to find out from the RCMP on Thursday how many police investigations are underway in connection with the death threats made against Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in 2022.

In recent years, individuals have been accused of making such threats to elected officials. For example, Thomas Dyer, a 32-year-old man, pleaded guilty last August to charges of threatening the death of Justin Trudeau. He had threatened the prime minister, who was in Cambridge during the 2021 federal election campaign.

More recently, André Tisseur, a man from Joliette, was sentenced to nine months in prison after threatening death to Prime Ministers François Legault and Justin Trudeau in videos.

With the collaboration of William Leclerc, The Press


Number of ministers in Justin Trudeau’s cabinet


Number of death threats against Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland in 2022

Source: Privy Council Office

Anti-Trudeau sentiment prevalent in far-right circles


Ottawa parliament

Anti-Trudeau and anti-liberal feelings are on the rise among the various groups linked to the far right, observes an expert on these networks. And when this radicalization becomes an integral part of the identity of individuals, it is more complex to fight, explains a psychologist.

“I have never seen, in my life, so much name calling and rhetoric directed at a prime minister, as is the case with Justin Trudeau,” said Bradley Galloway, coordinator of the Center for Studies on Hate. , Bias and Extremism from Ontario Tech University in Oshawa, Ontario.

According to his analysis, far-right groups linked to different issues (white supremacism, conspiracy, racism, etc.) converge in their hatred of the Prime Minister of Canada.

“Today, any debate [en ligne] triggers anti-Trudeau or anti-liberal sentiment, he argues. It’s a blame-finding phenomenon that seems to have reached a point of no return. »

Pandemic and illness

For psychologist Geneviève Beaulieu-Pelletier, the pandemic has had an impact on the psychological health of individuals, particularly in 2022, with health restrictions and the “freedom convoy” in Ottawa.


Geneviève Beaulieu-Pelletier, psychologist and associate professor at the University of Quebec in Montreal

“The pandemic has clearly brought sources of stress”, underlines the one who is also a lecturer and associate professor at the University of Quebec in Montreal.

Social isolation, exclusion, family conflicts, mental health problems: social networks make it possible to develop new bonds, she notes.

[En ligne], the people who are in revolt will respond to each other, encourage each other. It weaves something, it responds to the need for a sense of belonging.

Geneviève Beaulieu-Pelletier, psychologist and associate professor at the University of Quebec in Montreal

Other people may also have a psychological profile with tendencies to paranoia, adds the psychologist. “When I feel like other people – either a group of people or, just that, the government – ​​are a threat, or aren’t there for my good, or represent the ‘bad’, I’m going to end up wanting myself protect from this threat,” she says.

And sometimes that struggle ends up becoming part of the person’s identity. Indeed, there is a difference between a person who mobilizes to express themselves and assert their values, and a person who feels viscerally in the fight against a “threat”, adds the DD Beaulieu-Pelletier.

“If, for a person, it has become part of their identity to be angry with the government, to defend their values ​​at all costs, and that it really turned them on, it will be difficult for them to let go of that”, illustrates the psychologist.

What to do ?

The first thing to do is openly condemn threats to elected officials, and do so in a cross-partisan way, says Galloway. “So that these groups cannot feel that they have power over the [fonctionnaires et élus]. We must avoid making space for groups that promote hatred in Canada,” he said.

Elected officials must also be better protected, he decides.

There must be a collective agreement [sur le fait] that Members of Parliament should be able to do their jobs in safety, without having to think about threats against them.

Bradley Galloway, coordinator of the Center for Studies on Hate, Bias and Extremism at Ontario Tech University in Oshawa

For Geneviève Beaulieu-Pelletier, psychological support should also be provided more systematically to people who have prison sentences, particularly in connection with online threats.

“You have to think about the way you support these people, because if it’s a system of beliefs that they have built, they will look for facts that complement this system. »

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