Infrastructure Minister Catherine McKenna says more needs to be done to fight the abuse and threats increasingly targeting women and racialized Canadians in public life.
In an interview with The West Block‘s Mercedes Stephenson, the former environment minister addressed an incident last week in which a member of her staff was targeted at McKenna’s constituency office in a violent and misogynistic tirade posted on social media.
“I would much rather be talking about our infrastructure program and the thousands of projects we have but I think it’s also important Canadians realize that these incidents are happening,” McKenna said.
“It seems to be focused on women, racialized politicians, but men as well and it’s not okay. We need to make sure you can work in a safe and secure place and also address the harassment that happens on social media.”
Police launched an investigation last week following the incident as well as two other recent cases of threats made against Ottawa-area female politicians.
Ontario Heritage Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries Minister Lisa MacLeod was placed under police protection again last week after receiving email threats and an incident involving her personal vehicle.
That came after Macleod condemned the video of the incident at McKenna’s office.
Ottawa Deputy Mayor Laura Dudas was also targeted two weeks ago.
Someone threw a rock through the window of her home while she and her children slept and also damaged her personal vehicle.
McKenna said more measures are needed from more security for public officials facing threats to more action against social media platforms that allow the spread of hate and misinformation.
“Social media companies, I think they also need to step up and take responsibility and I think we need a conversation about this because I think all of us want good people to go into politics,” McKenna said.
“I know women journalists also face this. It’s often women in positions of power that unfortunately get this abuse when they’re just trying to do their job.”
McKenna’s office was also previously targeted with a vulgar slur after she won re-election last year.
Vulgar slur shows why more women needed in politics: McKenna
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