At last night’s rally, Trudeau was surrounded by bodyguards and it is reported that he was wearing a bulletproof vest.
Like him or not, this is not a healthy sign for democracy in Canada.
No politician or their family should ever feel threated.
However, it is a sign of the times as faceless people hiding behind their computers can throw insults, threats and create fake news stories simply because they dislike a person’s political position on an issue, or they dislike a reporter’s story.
Follow Twitter for just a few minutes and you will see all of this in action. Twitter needs to insist that a person’s real name be visible on all accounts including mine.
I have been following politics since about 1956 and an active participant since the early 70s and I have witnessed first-hand this change. Politics as played now is quite vicious.
While threats against politicians are nothing new, we had some on my boss (a cabinet minister in 1987 that got the RCMP involved), the overall tone of political debate is now way over the top and excessively nasty. There is nothing wrong with forcefully expressing your opinion in the House of Commons, but all too often it has moved on to personal attacks (especially in public), that have nothing to do with policy positions. To that end Elizabeth May is right- it is time for real dialogue to return.
A new set of Standing Orders or rules covering an MPs conduct in the House during Question Period would also help. If you look back at the old rules or procedures, you were expected to ask your question without reading it from a paper, your phone etc. Very few modern-day politicians would be capable of doing that or capable enough to make the questions as nasty as they are today. Questions today are often written by the Leader’s Office staff and handed to MPs to read out in Question Period.
All to say, let’s clean up political discourse in this country, we shouldn’t let it sink to the bottom like our neighbours to the south.
“I am a Canadian, free to speak without fear, free to worship in my own way, free to stand for what I think right, free to oppose what I believe wrong, or free to choose those who shall govern my country.” Prime Minister John Diefenbaker