Trudeau cancelled B.C. appearance after RCMP warned protest could escalate: source
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau cancelled plans to appear in person at a Liberal fundraiser in British Columbia Tuesday after RCMP warned an aggressive protest outside the event could escalate if he arrived, said a source close to the decision.
The source spoke to The Canadian Press on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the situation publicly.
Trudeau addressed the issue Wednesday during a stop in Saskatoon, which was also attended by protesters who were verbally aggressive with the prime minister's RCMP protective detail and initially blocked his exit from a local senior's centre.
The prime minister did not explain why he chose to speak virtually to the fundraiser in Surrey, B.C., but expressed disgust at the “harassment, racist insults (and) threats of violence” targeting the mostly South Asian attendees as they arrived.
Witnesses at the protest reported hearing attendees harassed for wearing turbans, among other racially motivated insults. One protester is seen in a photo carrying a noose hanging from two flat sticks printed with the words “treason” and “Trudeau.”
“The safety of Canadians choosing to make their voices heard in politics should never be in question as it was last night and as we're increasingly seeing across the country,” Trudeau said.
“The fundamental freedoms we have as a country that we enjoy as Canadians need to be defended, need to be protected. Nobody should feel endangered or harassed because of their support for one political party or another. And that's something I think we all need to be vigilant about.”
He said all levels of government are currently looking at the issue.
This is the second time in 10 months aggressive protesters prompted police to advise Trudeau to change his plan to speak at an event. A campaign rally in Bolton, Ont., was cancelled completely last August when dozens of furious protesters chanting obscenities at the prime minister set up at the site.
He was followed by angry protesters throughout much of that campaign, which has prompted some noticeable changes to how his office handles his schedule. Specific locations for events are no longer included in his publicized daily itineraries, for example.
During the early days of the convoy protest in Ottawa in January and February, Trudeau and his family were evacuated from their home in the city for several days.
Other leaders, including NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet, have indicated they received RCMP protection during the convoy when they were in Ottawa.
An access to information request released by the Privy Council Office shows between Feb. 5 and March 23, 26 threats were logged against Trudeau and eight of his cabinet ministers. Trudeau and Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland were each the subject of nine threats during that period.
The nature of the threats or actions to investigate are not included in the release.
RCMP in B.C. said in a statement about Tuesday's event that the protest group started off small but grew in number and were joined by cars, larger trucks and vehicles towing trailers “travelling in a convoy-style loop around the roadway.”
“Due the size and composition of the protest group and for the safety of everyone in attendance, a decision was made that it was not safe for the prime minister to attend the location,” the RCMP statement said.
The government source who spoke to The Canadian Press said the fear was that Trudeau's presence would amp up the crowd and put everyone in attendance at greater risk.
The Prime Minister's Office and RCMP jointly made the decision to cancel Trudeau's in-person appearance, the source said.
Trudeau is not alone in being followed by more aggressive protesters. In Peterborough, Ont., two weeks ago, Singh was chased to his car outside a provincial NDP campaign office.
In Montreal Wednesday, Justice Minister David Lametti temporarily left a press conference outside his office when confronted by an anti-Israel protester yelling in his face. Lametti returned when the protester left.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 25, 2022.
- With files from Camille Bains in Vancouver and Mickey Djuric in Saskatoon
Vancouver Top Stories
CTVNews.ca Top Stories
Hospitals overwhelmed by the pandemic’s onslaught are still facing a number of challenges, causing unprecedented wait times in emergency rooms across the country.
CTVNews.ca asked Canadians to share their travel horror stories as cancelled flights, delays and lost luggage throw a wrench in Canadians' summer travel plans, due in part to staffing shortages at Canadian airports. Some report sleeping at airports and others say it took days to get to or from a destination.
Twin brothers in their early 20s were responsible for the shooting that injured numerous police officers at a bank in Saanich, B.C., earlier this week, RCMP alleged Saturday.
A new report from TD says Canadian home sales could fall by nearly one-quarter on average this year and remain low into 2023.
Russia's defence minister said Russian forces took control Sunday of the last major Ukrainian-held city in Ukraine's Luhansk province, bringing Moscow closer to its stated goal of seizing all of Ukraine's Donbas region.
It's been said no one's success is complete without failure, but a new international exhibit in Calgary is proving that even some of the most talented innovators had some of the worst ideas for consumers.
Animal rescue groups are criticizing a new policy by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency that will ban the import of dogs from more than 100 countries.
Researchers in British Columbia say the province's endangered southern resident orcas have not been getting enough food for years, with some of the worst bouts of hunger occurring since 2018.
Nick Kyrgios cursed at the Wimbledon chair umpire and asked, 'Are you dumb?' He demanded to see a Grand Slam supervisor after questioning why his opponent, Stefanos Tsitsipas, didn't forfeit their ever-contentious, never-boring match for angrily hitting a ball into the stands after dropping the second set.
An online fundraiser to benefit police officers injured during the shootout at a Saanich, B.C. bank earlier this week has raised more than $75,000 in less than two days.
An Instagram account belonging to one of the two gunmen killed in a shootout at a bank in Saanich, B.C., this week paints a picture of a young man who believed gun ownership was a necessary response to government "tyranny."
Calgary police have a man in custody after a Calgary Fire member was hurt by a stolen vehicle Saturday afternoon.
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has indicated his United Conservative government will reveal details next week about additional support to help people deal with high inflation.
A man is recovering in hospital after falling down a steep embankment in the city's southwest Saturday afternoon.
A 13-year-old girl from Edmonton who had been missing for more than a week was safely located in Oregon, where a man, 41, is in police custody and facing charges.
This man arrived from Calgary 16 days ago. He is still looking for his bags at Toronto Pearson airport
As unclaimed luggage continue to pile up at Pearson International Airport, one local resident has been looking for his bags for 16 days after arriving in Toronto.
Ontario is not yet allowing most adults under the age of 60 to get a fourth COVID-19 vaccine shot, prompting one doctor to prepare legal action to get the province to widen eligibility.
The pedestrian who was struck and killed by an alleged drunk driver in downtown Toronto on Canada Day has been identified by his family, remembering him as someone with a great sense of humour and a “huge heart.”
At this time of year, when many Quebecers move into a new home, there may be an increase in infestations of invaders such as bed bugs. Anyone can be affected by these unwanted pests and it is important to report cases.
Montreal police (SPVM) are investigating two separate events where gunshots were fired at men overnight.
The Sûreté du Québec (SQ) is actively searching for a suspect involved in a hit and run accident that occurred Saturday night in Drummondville.
A man from Shamattawa First Nation is being treated for serious injuries after an RCMP officer-involved shooting Saturday afternoon.
Longstanding staff shortages in rural emergency rooms are continuing to create problems, with some being forced to close or cut their hours.
Winnipeg police confirmed that one man was stabbed and another was sprayed with bear mace during an incident at The Forks on Friday night.
After two years without a full-scale event, the Saskatchewan Jazz Festival is officially underway and artists are looking forward to performing live again.
The Regina Farmers’ Market at Victoria Square had an atmosphere like no other Saturday morning with folk music blaring from the main stage.
As Canadians are feeling the urge to spend on summer fun, one financial advisor recommends being realistic and cautious this year.
A 50-year-old New Brunswick woman is facing an impaired driving charge following a head-on collision with a fully marked RCMP vehicle in the village of Tracadie.
A 32-year-old man has been arrested after he allegedly drove into an RCMP vehicle before fleeing from police.
Staffing shortages, hospital closures to blame for long wait times at Maritime emergency departments
Longer than usual wait times are being felt at emergency departments across the Maritimes this long weekend.
Heavy smoke and loud explosions woke up a number of residents in a high-rise apartment Saturday morning on Capulet Lane in London, Ont. when a fire broke out in the parking garage next to their building.
A unique scavenger hunt in Sudbury aims to get people out exploring nature and enjoying the outdoors. The event includes an educational element about Indigenous traditions and teachings, in particular the Seven Grandfather Teachings.
A Toronto man is getting set to become the first disabled athlete to cross Lake Superior on a paddleboard. Mike Shoreman, who made a stop in Sault Ste. Marie Friday, has already crossed Lake Erie, and most recently crossed Lake Huron. He is raising money for youth mental wellness.
All lanes of Highway 11 at Micro Tower Rd in the Pagwa area near Calstock, between Kapuskasing and Longlac, have reopened follwing a tractor trailer collision.
A man is facing charges after he set off fireworks early Saturday morning in Waterloo. "He was holding the fireworks in his hand and then projecting them at businesses and pedestrians," said police.
Hundreds of drivers are hoping to crash their way to the top prize at the Billy Bash Demolition Derby in Burford this weekend.
Tre Ford, the former University of Waterloo football star, made history at the Edmonton Elks game on Friday night.