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Over the weekend, one of the leaders of the group Diagolon, appeared on a live stream, and made comments about sexually assaulting newly minted Conservative Party Leader Pierre Poilievre’s wife, Anaida Poilievre.
After making comments about Ms. Poilievre’s appearance, further comments were made “…let’s rape her.” And “…it’s not really a sex thing, we just want to show people we could do things to you if we want to.” Poilievre has referred these comments to the RCMP to determine whether charges should be laid.
This is just the latest instance of the degradation of Canadian political discourse. Targets are on both sides of the political aisle: last month in Grande Prairie, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland was confronted and called a “…f***ing traitor”, and asked what she was doing in Alberta, the province of her birth.
Contrary to assertions on the Raging Dissident Telegram channel that he “joke[s] about sexually assaulting a plethora of people”, comments like these are no laughing matter. These comments could potentially be charged as uttering threats or criminal harassment under the Criminal Code. Uttering threats carries a maximum sentence of five years imprisonment, while those convicted of criminal harassment can be incarcerated for up to ten years.
For our democracy to continue to be the free and open society it is, politicians of all stripes need to be confident in their ability to advocate for Canadians without fear that they and their families will not be exposed to danger and intimidation. We may not agree with policies and comments of our politicians, but this type of abhorrent conduct is not free speech and undermines meaningful political discourse. Hopefully, we will soon see a reversal in this worrying trend of harassment directed towards politicians and their families.