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EDITORIAL: Threats and heated confrontations must stop

No matter what anyone thinks of an individual or a party, threats and hate are never appropriate
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland speaks to reporters before heading to Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Thursday, June 23, 2022. The RCMP says it is investigating an incident last Friday in which Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia was subjected to a profane tirade in Grand Prairie, Alta.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

In late August, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland was subjected to a tirade of hate, insults and profanities while she was in Grande Prairie, Alberta.

During this tirade, Freeland was called a “traitor” and told to get out of Alberta.

This is not the first such incident to happen to an elected official in Canada’s federal government. In recent years, there have been other heated confrontations, and they are becoming more common.

In late May, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau cancelled plans to appear at a Liberal Party fundraiser. Earlier this year, in a six-week period in February and March, 26 threats were logged against Trudeau and eight of his cabinet ministers.

Around a year ago, he was pelted with gravel during a campaign stop in Ontario. And in 2020, a man rammed the gate of Rideau Hall in Ottawa and then, armed, headed towards Trudeau’s home.

This has to stop.

The people serving in elected roles in Canada have been selected by the public. Our elections are free, fair and heavily scrutinized. Whatever the outcome, those in our governments have been chosen by the voters.

No matter what anyone thinks of an individual Member of Parliament or a political party, threats and hateful rants are never appropriate.

Individual Canadians of all political views need to ensure their criticisms of elected officials do not become threats or expressions of rage. Respectful disagreement is necessary.

Equally important, elected officials from all parties need to speak out and decry angry outbursts and threats when they happen. This is a time to call out bad behaviour, without suggesting that there is any justification for what has happened.

Those in elected roles also need to show the public how to have disagreements on points of policy and how to hold others to account while still having a good working relationship with others in the House of Commons.

Our democratic government is based on a form of civility. When this civility is replaced by rage, democracy suffers.

— Black Press

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