Rivals rally round after Trudeau wears bulletproof vest in response to threat

Clay Curtis
October 14, 2019

The main rivals to Canada's Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said a threat that forced him to wear a bulletproof vest at a campaign rally on Saturday was a concerning sign for the country's democracy ahead of the October 21 federal election. The Liberals trail 2-5 points behind, but no matter how you look at it, it is highly unlikely the Conservatives will be able to win an additional 15 percent of the seats in parliament in the next eight days. His wife, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, was set to introduce him but did not end up appearing at the event.

The Liberal leader said he was not blaming the Conservatives for the unspecified security threat.

"This will not change at all how I campaign", he said during the event in York.

Police sources quoted by Canadian media said there had been a security threat, but details were not made public.

That has included telling Canadians the Liberals want to legalize all drugs, when they have said repeatedly they have no plans to do so, and insisting a re-elected Liberal government would impose a tax on home sales, which they have flatly denied.

Mr Trudeau, who often plunges into crowds to shake hands and pose for photos, did the same as he was leaving the event, but this time he was closely surrounded by security.

There was no sign of the bullet-proof vest or the added security today as he campaigned at a Thanksgiving food drive at the Remnant Tabernacle Church Of God Seventh Day, where he was joined by Toronto Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri.

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Sinead Zalitch, who was at Saturday's rally with her service dog, expressed similar sentiments.

"We've seen what happens in places like Ontario", he said.

When asked to answer journalists' questions about the threats against him, Trudeau explained, "My first concern was for my family and for all the Canadians in the room", but refused to comment further.

"I think we have to we owe it to ourselves to be a bit more engaged, a bit more educated about the process and kind of tune off or not engage with propaganda".

During the election campaign, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police is keeping a daily record of online hate messages aimed at political leaders, fearing possible violent acts, the CBC said.

Trudeau is heading into the final week of the campaign trying to beat back surging support for the NDP and Bloc Quebecois and says nothing about the threat will change how he campaigns through to voting day on October 21.

Meanwhile, Trudeau's main opponent, Conservative leader Andrew Scheer called the situation "upsetting", and stressed that any violent threats against the prime minister are unacceptable.

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