ontario news watch

Some members of Parliament, ministers assigned police protection as security tightens

OTTAWA — A Conservative MP whose Toronto office was vandalized this week is among several federal politicians under visible police protection on Parliament Hill.

Melissa Lantsman’s Thornhill office was plastered with anti-Israel posters overnight, including one warning “the Jews of Thornhill” that history is watching how they respond to the Israel-Hamas conflict.

A Conservative official confirms that the deputy Conservative leader has RCMP protection, but has not said why.

RCMP or Parliamentary Protective Service officers have been also assigned in recent weeks to protect Emergency Preparedness Minister Harjit Sajjan, Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland and NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh.

The prime minister has a protective detail and cabinet ministers occasionally do, but it is rare for an opposition MP to require or receive that level of protection. 

Sajjan’s office says he currently has a protective detail assigned, and officers have been seen accompanying him to meetings inside the Parliament buildings.

He declined this week to discuss the situation in detail with The Canadian Press.

“I am well-protected,” Sajjan said Tuesday in response to a question about his security. “We have a good system here in Canada to protect ministers.”

Last fall, Sajjan gave a lengthy interview to the New York Times in which he said that as a Sikh in a position of power in Canada, threats have not been unusual for him.

Prior to running for office, Sajjan was a military intelligence officer and a Vancouver police detective. He told the Times the threats had ramped up a lot in recent years.

Sajjan’s interview came after Canada accused the Indian government of being involved in the murder of a Canadian Sikh leader in British Columbia last year. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 15, 2024.

The Canadian Press

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