Police in Peterborough, Ontario. They say they are actively investigating after NDP leader Jagmeet Singh received a barrage of insults and harassment as he was leaving a provincial election rally.
Singh was in the area Tuesday to promote Ontario NDP candidate Jen Deck, who is running in Peterborough: Kawartha is running in the June election.
As he made his way to his SUV, Singh was met with a flurry of expletives from a group of protesters who expected them to accuse the federal leader of being a “traitor.”
He seemed calm and unflappable during up close and personal verbal attacks.
“Anyone viewing the video should find it disheartening, morally unacceptable and lacking in the respect that every resident and visitor deserves,” Peterborough Police Acting Chief Tim Farquharson said in a video posted on Twitter Thursday. “To those involved in this incident… your actions and belief systems are reprehensible, unconscionable and, in some cases, criminal.”
farquharson said peterborough police “will use all possible investigative tools to deal with (his) actions.” She said the investigation was launched after police received a complaint from a member of the public.
In a statement released after the incident, Singh said he knew the attack was not representative of the people of Peterborough.
“I have visited many times and know your community is full of good people who want the best for others,” the statement said.
Singh went on to say that “politicians need to remember the consequences when it fuels fear and division.”
“When hate is given room to grow, it spreads like wildfire,” Singh added.
Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath said Singh handled the “hatred” he received with “grace” in a post on Twitter on Wednesday.
Horwath went on to say that Singh and candidate Deck deserve to live and work freely, “without intimidation.”
PC candidate Dave Smith, who has been riding since 2018, responded to Singh’s statement by saying he was “always welcome” in Peterborough and invited the leader and his family to a barbecue.
This is not the first time a federal leader has encountered hostility on the campaign trail.
Ahead of the 2021 federal election, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was graveled during a stop in London, Ontario. on September 6.
Trudeau said he was not injured during the attack. Police charged Shane Marshall, 25, of St. Thomas days later with one count of assault with a weapon in connection with the incident.
Peterborough Police are encouraging anyone with information about the incident to come forward.