Threats on social networks, email, call. What could explain why Liberal leader Justin Trudeau had to wear a bullet-proof vest to speak to his supporters last night in Ontario?
Two hours late on the program and without his wife Sophie Grégoire who was to accompany him, the politician in the middle of the election campaign entered the Mississauga room escorted by his plainclothes bodyguards and police in camouflage khaki. A rare scene in political history in Canada that raises questions. Is Justin Trudeau’s safety compromised?
“This threat may have been heard (or seen) on social media or by the Mississauga-area municipal police and forwarded to the RCMP. The threat to do the actions of yesterday (bulletproof vest and police reinforcements) will have been deemed credible enough. It may be different at his next public appearance, “says police affairs expert Jean-François Brochu.
GTI and submachine gun
The retired police officer from the Sûreté du Québec explains that the safety of politicians in the election campaign is an ongoing issue. “The assessment of the threat to the various party leaders, for which the RCMP is responsible for ensuring their safety during the elections, is continuously monitored by RCMP intelligence, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service. (CSIS), provincial police forces. “
Everything is done to protect the leaders, even deploying officers in battle gear like those of yesterday. Especially on the lookout around the Liberal leader, who are these policemen? “Probably the RCMP Intervention Tactical Group, because the RCMP is responsible for the close protection of the Canadian prime minister. In their backpacks, they probably have a 9mm pistol commonly used in Canada, “informs Jean-François Brochu.
Usually more discreet, the security surrounding Justin Trudeau was more than visible last night. “We demonstrated a massive police presence. It is likely that in the crowd, there were police in jeans and t-shirts to observe a possible threat, “believes the retired policeman. “The best protection a dignitary can offer is deterrence,” he adds.
So why not cancel the rally if Justin Trudeau’s safety was at risk? “It’s the Liberal leader who has the last word. It is informed of the type of threat, it is warned. If he has decided that he is going, the police organization will adapt, “said Jean-François Brochu.
Is the practice of wearing a bulletproof vest to a dignitary really out of the ordinary in the country? “It’s not common. I do not remember that we saw something similar in the last election, “says the former police officer of the SQ.