On Saturday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was forced to wear a bullet-proof vest, and have a beefed-up security team at a campaign event in Mississauga, ON (we go to the polls in the 43rd General Election on 21 October in Canada). This was in response to an apparently credible threat, which Trudeau would not discuss, against the Prime Minister and his family. The response from his main rivals, Conservative leader Andrew Scheer and NDP leader Jagmeet Singh on Twitter spoke volumes:
Very upsetting to hear that Justin Trudeau had to wear a bulletproof vest tonight at a campaign event. Threats of violence against political leaders have absolutely no place in our democracy. Thank you to the RCMP for taking these threats seriously and keeping us safe.
— Andrew Scheer (@AndrewScheer) October 13, 2019
Any threat made against @JustinTrudeau, or any leader, is troubling to all of us. No matter how you vote or believe, no one should face threats of violence. To the officers who protect all of us – thank you.
— Jagmeet Singh (@theJagmeetSingh) October 13, 2019
Crickets came from Green Party leader Elizabeth May, Bloc québécois leader Yves-François Blanchet, and People’s Party of Canada leader Maxime Bernier.
This entire even made me sad. That May, who tweets almost as much as Donald Trump, stayed silent on the platform is depressing (she was too busy, it seems, complaining about ‘left wing’ attacks from the NDP). Blanchet doesn’t have a Twitter account. But Maxime Bernier does. Bernier, who is a former Conservative member (Google Julie Couillard, his ex-girlfriend, for his fate there), leads unhinged party of racist whackjobs. He’s also the kind of swell guy who thinks it’s cool to question the sanity and mental state of teenaged girls, as his attack last month on Twitter against Greta Thunberg shows. But, had Bernier said something on Twitter, it no doubt would’ve looked like something like this, from Rebel Media founder and general horrible human being, Ezra Levant:
1. Was last night’s security drama at a Liberal campaign event a genuine situation or was it another costume dress-up for Trudeau, directed by Gerald Butts? I don’t know, but I have a few questions that Unifor journalists and CBC plaintiff Rosemary Barton aren’t allowed to ask. pic.twitter.com/tEaXXUmmeq
— Ezra Levant ? (@ezralevant) October 13, 2019
Levant then went on a tweet storm to discredit the Prime Minister and this entire event. In other words, Levant and his followers (who include Bernier) are calling Trudeau a drama queen. This is, of course, a pretty standard tactic on the Right: use inflammatory, hateful language (and right now there is a stunning cult of hatred on the hard right in Canada), complete with violent imagery, and then, when someone takes that seriously and issues a threat or, worse, carries through on such a threat, there is the tendency to distance, usually by mocking the target for being overly dramatical. Nevermind the fact the RCMP are compiling daily lists of credible threats to the six federal party leaders on a daily basis. This is all fake news in the delusional world of the likes of Levant.
This is not the Canada I want, and frankly, I don’t see how it could be the Canada any Canadian wants, even a toad like Levant. I much prefer the Canada where Prime Ministers, former Prime Ministers, cabinet members, party leaders, and other famous men and women can walk down the streets of Montréal (or Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, Charlottetown or Moose Jaw, for that matter) without any visible security around them. This is the sight I had of Trudeau and his wife, Sophie Grégoire, last winter on the rue Saint-Denis. And no one bothered them as they enjoyed a Saturday afternoon on the main street of francophone Montréal.
We cannot let the Ezra Levants of this world to win. This is not a Canada we should want.