A Vernon, B.C. city councillor is speaking out about a death threat mailed to her family’s home in November.
The city councillor is not alone in facing such abuse and is now using her platform to call for kindness.
Dalvir Nahal said the letter came in a pretty red envelope, so she thought it was an early Christmas card.
However, inside the mailed card in bold letters was a threatening message telling her to die.
Nahal said she froze when she read the threat and wasn’t sure what to make of it.
The city councillor is unsure why anyone would target her with this type of abuse.
“I wasn’t sure if it is related to the council aspect or because I do have cancer, somebody was being mean about it,” Nahal said.
“We do get a lot of abuse over the phone and via email sometimes, based on decisions we’ve made in council. It could be anything.”
Nahal reported the death threat to police and did what she could to feel safe.
“At first I didn’t take it seriously, but once I realized it could be quite serious I slept with an axe in my bedroom for a few months,” Nahal said.
In the wake of the threat, the local politician is now speaking out, urging kindness and civil debate.
“We do choose to be in this role but there is no need to be mean or hit below the belt. If you disagree with somebody, pick up the phone and have a cordial conversation,” Nahal said.
“We just need to be kinder to each other. We can disagree on issues but have a civil conversation.”
Social media threat
Nahal is not alone. Fellow Vernon city councillor Scott Anderson said he also received a death threat last year.
“My feeling is that, in an ideal world, it wouldn’t happen but it does happen. It happens to a lot of politicians and a lot of people who are in the public spotlight,” said Anderson.
“It’s disturbing, I guess, because you never know whether they mean it.”
Anderson said the message was sent by an anonymous account on Facebook and he “didn’t take it particularly seriously.”
“Because it is the internet it could have come from anywhere,” he noted.
He said the message came out of the blue.
“It may well have been over a particular issue, but it could have been somebody screwing around on the internet,” he noted.
He said a police officer followed up with him about the message and asked if he wanted to pursue the matter.
Anderson said he told police he didn’t particularly want to pursue it, as he felt police resources were better spent elsewhere.
Both cases were reported to police.
Asked if the culprits where ever identified, an RCMP spokesperson would only say both investigations concluded without criminal charges.