Peterborough mayor calls on political leaders to condemn ‘unacceptable attack’ on Jagmeet Singh

Peterborough Mayor Diane Therrien calls on all political leaders to condemn the actions of protesters who harassed federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh during his visit to the city last week.

Singh visited the city on May 10 to endorse provincial NDP candidate Jen Deck at her campaign office. Singh was met with a group of angry, abrasive protesters while entering and exiting the George Street office. Videos show some yelling profanities, giving Singh the middle finger and shouting, “You’re a f–king piece of s–t” and “You lying piece of s–t”  and “traitor.”

Singh called it one of the “most intense, threatening, insulting” experiences in his political career noting he heard shouts of “I hope you die.”

A number of politicians have publicly condemned the attack while the Peterborough Police Service — which says it was not aware of Singh’s visit — is investigating the incident. RCMP officers are also reviewing the incident.

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On Tuesday morning outside city hall, Therrien called it an “unacceptable attack” on Singh, saying it has been “one of many” in the community and others in recent months. She was joined by councillors Stephen Wright, Kemi Akapo, Kim Zippel, Keith Riel and Henry Clarke.

Read the mayor’s full statement here.

“The purpose of this behaviour is to intimidate,” she said. “It is to incite others to join in the rage, anger, and violence. It is intended to disrupt our freedom to safely and securely participate in the democratic process. It is to distract us from working together to address the issues that truly matter and are increasingly urgent for all of us — climate change, mental health, drug addiction, child poverty, housing affordability, the list goes on. These are deliberate, and very damaging, distractions.”

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“The result of this behaviour is a corrosive poisoning of our communities, the amplification of racism and misogyny, and the deterioration of the peace, order and good government that Canadians continue to fight and die for.

“We are better than this. The City of Peterborough is better than this. We all must be better than this.”

She said anyone in a position of influence such as political leaders must “clearly, forcefully, and repeatedly condemn these tactics” and refused to be “intimidate and coerced” into appeasing or collaborating with those who are “terrorizing our democratic processes.”

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“As Peterborough’s municipal leaders, we stand here together to show that we unconditionally condemn these tactics,” Therrien said. “We will not be intimidated to speak up and stand up against this, and demand better from everyone who engages in public and political debate.”

Therrien said she and city council will bring forward a motion at the next council meeting to invite Singh back to Peterborough.

“To stand united with him, and to let him know that we are better than this.”

Akapo in a Tweet said government has a role to play but all individuals in the community must take action.

“I hope you can take some time to reflect on what actions you can take as individuals who live in this community to really show that we are,” she said.

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More to come

Click to play video: 'Protesters harass federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh during visit to Peterborough'
Protesters harass federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh during visit to Peterborough

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