TORONTO – A 57-year-old Ontario man has been charged for allegedly threatening to kill Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Trudeau’s family and female MPs while he was aboard a VIA Rail train headed to Toronto earlier this week.
Cobourg Police responded to the incident just before noon on Tuesday at the VIA Rail station in Cobourg, Ont. after witnesses on a westbound train headed to Toronto reported hearing a man uttering threats on his cellphone.
Police won’t say what exactly the threats consisted of, but say they were “significant” enough to warrant a charge.
“He didn’t threaten anybody on the train and he didn’t threaten the train itself,” said Sgt. Jeff Shiels.
But as a precaution they cleared the train car the man was on and searched it for anything dangerous, but did not find anything.
James Martin Platts, 57, of Chatham-Kent, Ont., has been arrested and charged with uttering threats to kill.
A passenger on the train informed police they overheard Platts on the phone threatening to “kill 10 female Members of Parliament” and abduct MPs’ children, according to Northumberland News.
A VIA employee reportedly called police while the train was stopped in Cobourg after the man said “what about the bomb and anthrax?” according to the media outlet.
The Northumberland News also reported that Platts claimed at his bail hearing Wednesday that he was “the head of Canada’s secret service agency and a secret agent for American politician Hillary Clinton.”
Police could not confirm the allegations made in court Wednesday as Shiels said an officer was not present at the hearing.
A statement from the Prime Minister’s Office stated that they “have complete faith in the police authorities and the RCMP Protective Policing Service when it comes to the security of the Prime Minister and his family” and that there was no further comment to make.
“Issues like that are not commonly shared across a broad spectrum of elected officials unless there is a specific security threat presented to a specific person or a specific family,” Spadina-Fort York MP Adam Vaughan said at a media availability in Toronto with Mayor John Tory on Thursday, adding that MPs had not been briefed on any security threat about a train in Cobourg.
“It’s sad to hear and I’m glad that the situation is under control, but that’s very disturbing and I think I can stand with all of my colleagues to say that if you’re elected to federal office, you deserve the full protection of the security detail which is afforded to you and harm should not come your way and I’m glad that the authorities have stepped in to prevent any further problems from arising.”
Platts’ case has been adjourned until the morning of Jan. 13.
With files from Leslie Whyte and Simon Ostler