Conservatives criticized for trading on terrorist threat against West Edmonton Mall

WATCH ABOVE: The Conservative Party of Canada is taking heat for a controversial post on Facebook. As Eric Szeto reports, it stems from a threat made against West Edmonton Mall.

EDMONTON — An Alberta PC MLA says the federal Conservatives are “irresponsible” for using a terrorist threat against West Edmonton Mall to gain support.

A post on the Conservative Party of Canada’s Facebook page reads: “Jihadi terrorists are threatening Canada – we need to give our police and security forces the tools they need to protect us from the threat of terrorism” and includes a screenshot of the video allegedly posted by al-Shabab, encouraging an attack on the mall.

“[It’s] crass politics,” said Thomas Lukaszuk, MLA for Edmonton-Castledowns. “No the style of politics that I would engage in, but that’s their business.”
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“My issue is the impact that such advertising has on Edmonton.

“Over the last 24 hours, we’ve had cheerleader teams from all over Alberta cancelling their teams out of West Edmonton Mall and will not participate in teh event because insurance companies are telling them not to go there, parents are worried,” he explained.

READ MORE: More Sask. schools drop out of Alberta cheerleading event 

In February, Alberta’s top tourist attraction was listed as a target in a video allegedly released by Somali-based extremist group Al-Shabab, though RCMP assured Global News there is no evidence to suggest any imminent threat.

READ MORE: Police say ‘no imminent threat’ after West Edmonton Mall named as possible terror target 

Lukaszuk said messages regarding public safety should be given by police, not political parties.

“Our police agencies… including RCMP and City of Edmonton police are telling us ‘carry on, there is no imminent threat, appropriate security has been put into place in the event of anything happening in the first place.'”

He calls the PC Party’s messaging “irresponsible.”

The party’s Facebook post also includes a link to a site where people can add their name to support C-51, the anti-terrorism bill.

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“Politic any way you want but don’t mess with Edmonton. This will have a significant economic and social impact,” said Lukaszuk.

WATCH: Raw video of Global News reporter Eric Szeto trying repeatedly to question MP Michelle Rempel about a post on the Conservative Party of Canada’s Facebook page.

Calgary MP Michelle Rempel defended the post, saying the threat is real.

“This is something that Canadians are concerned about and it is our responsibility as a federal government to respond to those concerns.”

READ MORE: Are you already violating the feds’ new anti terror bill? 

Rempel said she doesn’t believe the post uses unnecessary fear to further a political cause.

“I completely disagree. When you talk to the average Canadian and they look at the threats, they understand that these are clear, identifiable threats to our country.”

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A post on the Conservative Party of Canada’s Facebook page. Credit: Facebook

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