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Québec Solidaire MNA files police complaint over hateful online messages

Christine Labrie of Quebec Solidaire, far left, filed the complaint in her Sherbrooke riding.
Christine Labrie of Quebec Solidaire, far left, filed the complaint in her Sherbrooke riding. Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press

A Quebec legislature member says she has filed two police complaints over hateful messages she received.

Québec solidaire member Christine Labrie wrote on Facebook that she filed the complaints in her Sherbrooke riding on Sunday.

Labrie raised the issue of online abuse against female politicians last month when she read out a series of insulting and threatening messages that she and other women in her caucus had received.

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At the time, she said that while all public figures receive their share of insults, hateful messages, and even calls for suicide, women are particularly targeted.

“It’s been largely documented that women are subjected to more violence than men — up to 27 times more, according to some estimates — and women in politics are particularly targeted, regardless of where they are on the left-right spectrum,” she told the legislature in late November.

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“The more they express themselves publicly, the more violence they experience.”

In her Facebook message posted Sunday, Labrie said she decided to file the complaints “because it’s important for me to act consistently with what I say.”

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She said the experience made her feel better but also made her understand why women are reluctant to come forward. She wrote that the process was time-consuming and also made her question whether her case was serious enough to report.

“The most publicized cases of harassment or threats are generally very intense, so we ask ourselves if our situation is serious enough to warrant a complaint,” she said.

However, she said the police treated her with patience and respect, and she left the station with a sense of accomplishment.