Members of Parliament are now being given mobile panic buttons in order to alert police or security if they face any threats to their safety.
Public Safety Minister Marco Mendocino says the panic buttons are already being handed out.
“We are rolling out this program to offer another layer of protection to MPs who work on the Hill. And I would point out that, disproportionately, it is women who are facing these threats. Disproportionately, it is members of racialized communities who face these threats,” he explained.
Mendicino says he has received a number of death threats on Instagram after introducing a bill in Parliament last month bringing in gun controls to prevent gun violence.
The posts from an account entitled “eliteterrorist” include: “Somebody’s gonna shoot you to death.”
Politicians are also being offered a security assessment of constituency offices in their ridings. In addition to Mendicino, several MPs say they have noticed a rise in threats to themselves or their staff in recent months.
“Listen, we know, unfortunately, that there’s a significant amount of anger and frustration out there directed at government, directed at officials. We need to make sure that anyone who steps up to serve their community, at any level of politics, is safe and that’s what we’re taking very seriously,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday while on his away into Question Period.
Trudeau has been the subject of many threats in his time in office. NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh has also been harassed at events.
Canada’s Sergeant at Arms is advising MPs to carry the panic buttons with them at all times. Training is also being offered to help staff and politicians de-escalate violent situations.
-With files from The Canadian Press
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