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COVID-19 measures driving aggression and intimidation towards federal candidates

Last Updated Sep 1, 2021 at 11:11 am MST

Conservative leader Erin O'Toole, Liberal leader Justin Trudeau and NDP leader Jagmeet Singh. THE CANADIAN PRESS

CALGARY — This election season seems to be one of the most aggressive in recent times.

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau has been a target of harassment and intimidation at several of his events.

An angry crowd surrounded his campaign bus on Sunday in Cambridge, Ont., resulting in his event being delayed for more than an hour.

One of his rallies was even cancelled in Bolton, Ont., over security concerns.

RELATED: Protesters target Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau on campaign trail

Phil Gurski, President of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting and Former Analyst with CISIS, says a lot of the aggressive protesters are those voicing opposition to the COVID-19 measures.

“I think people are generally angry, they are confused, they are concerned that the situation doesn’t seem to be ending anytime soon with the wave after wave of variants of COVID,” he said.

Gurski also said Trudeau seems to attract a certain level of opposition that has become virulent.

“He seems to be attracting a lot of criticism personally for him to continue as prime minister.”

Trudeau hasn’t been the only one targeted in this year’s campaign. Calgary Nose Hill candidate Michelle Rempel Garner said she’s been cornered on the street.


“I have also received a death threat from someone who called my office in escalating states of verbal abuse over the course of days,” she said in a statement released Saturday.

Gurski says the tension in this year’s election campaign almost mirrors what we’ve seen south of the border.

“We seem to be borrowing some of the U.S. techniques in terms of people using provocative language and trying to intimidate candidates,” he said.

“There seems to be a very small portion of Canadian society that believes there are no more rules; in terms of what you can say and how you can say it and whom you can say it to, and actually try and disrupt the election process in the sense of the campaign.”