Minister of Environment and Climate Change Catherine McKenna rises during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, May 8, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

Police called after Catherine McKenna’s office vandalized with vulgar slur

McKenna said during a news conference she wants to have ‘better discussions’ in politics

Newly re-elected Liberal MP Catherine McKenna says she has notified police after someone spray-painted a vulgar slur on the front of her Ottawa Centre campaign office.

Staff arriving at the office Thursday morning found the four-letter obscenity scrawled in red paint over a photo of the environment minister.

A visibly shaken McKenna held a news conference to respond to the incident, saying it sends the wrong message to the women and girls of all ages who worked on her campaign.

“It isn’t about me. It’s about what kind of politics we want in our country,” McKenna said after striding past the word “c—t” written in block letters across a large image of her face on the front window of her Ottawa campaign office.

“It’s the same as the trolls on Twitter. It needs to stop. We need to come together as a country and have real discussions about real issues, but doing it in a way without vitriol, without hate and without anger.”

McKenna has been the subject of online vitriol over her central role in the Liberal government’s push to address climate change, including its move to impose a carbon tax on provinces without a similar measure that affected those with conservative governments.

ALSO READ: Liberal candidate’s election sign in B.C. vandalized with blackface

During the election campaign, she spoke to The Canadian Press about how the anonymous online abuse has escalated into in-person verbal assaults. The threats had grown to a level where McKenna sometimes requires a security detail, a level of protection cabinet ministers don’t usually receive.

She says she wants to have “better discussions” in politics.

“I have two daughters. I have so many young women, and women on my campaign of all ages. They believe in politics and so do I,” said McKenna.

“It’s time for everyone to take a deep breath, myself included, and I think we need to think about how we do better.”

McKenna’s political opponents at Queen’s Park agreed, setting aside their, at times, bitter political differences over dealing with climate change.

On Twitter, Ontario Premier Doug Ford said of the attack: “Disgusting. There is no place in Canada for hate like this. While we may disagree on matters, we must always respect one another.”

Ford was frequently attacked by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during the election campaign, while the premier has also waged war against the federal carbon tax, often pitting him against McKenna, the environment minister.

Ford’s online comments didn’t go unnoticed: McKenna responded with a tweet of thanks, saying “we can disagree but let’s do it respectfully.”

Lisa MacLeod, who holds multiple portfolios in the Ford cabinet and represents an Ottawa provincial riding, said on Twitter she was offering McKenna “my full support in demanding these visceral attacks end.

“Politics should be about debating ideas. Vandalism, threats and personal insults are unacceptable in Canadian politics. My heart breaks on how she will have to explain this to her children.”

In another Twitter posting, one of McKenna’s Liberal colleagues called the act “absolutely appalling.”

“It takes a lot of courage to put your name on a ballot. Despite party stripes, no candidate should face this kind of hatred,” wrote Gagan Sikand, who won re-election in his Toronto-area riding on Monday.

McKenna captured nearly 49 per cent of the vote in Ottawa Centre, giving her a margin of victory of about 15,000 votes, based on preliminary results from Elections Canada.

McKenna also noted that women represented all of the main parties in her riding — “That is great. That is progress,” she said — but noted that others have faced hateful attacks in Ottawa, including Jews, Muslims, blacks and members of the LGBTQ community.

“We all stand together against this. It doesn’t matter who you are.”

McKenna said she was taking a break after a hard campaign to spend some quality time with her family. She said she thought the “overheated rhetoric” of the campaign had subsided, but she was wrong.

She said she hopes the person who spray-painted her face is caught.

“Maybe they’ll find out who did it. I think people have to be held responsible for their actions,” she said.

“Speaking to the person who did this or the people who spread hate and vitriol online: maybe the first thing that person should do is think about whether you use that kind of language for your mother, your sister, your girlfriend, your daughter.”

Mike Blanchfield, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Council Briefs | Village of Queen Charlotte: January 6

Grant writing, flood mapping, and the Seventh St. cleanup on the agenda

Pair of Haida Gwaii sailings cancelled due to windstorm

MV Kwuna will be parked due to the adverse weather

Severe wind warning for Haida Gwaii and the North Coast

Winds of more than 100 km/h are predicted for Wednesday afternoon

On the Wing: Christmas Bird Count Reports 2019 part 2

Haida Gwaii’s bird count report for Tlell and Greater Massett

B.C. premier talks forestry, service needs with handful of northern mayors in Prince George

Prince George meeting completes premier’s tour of Kitimat, Terrace, Fort St. James and Quesnel

VIDEO: Rare ‘ice circle’ spotted on Kamloops river

An ice circle or ice pan, has formed in the chilly waters just east of the Yellowhead Bridge

Uber, Lyft approved for ride-hailing in Lower Mainland

Kater Technologies Inc.’s application was rejected

B.C. man rescued after getting trapped headfirst in well as water level rose

The rescue involved crews from Oak Bay and Saanich

Investigators in wildfire-torn Australia head to site of B.C. airtanker crash

The B.C. government sends condolences to Port Alberni-owned Coulson Aviation

RCMP investigating sexual allegation against Lower Mainland police officer

Delta officer suspended while the alleged off-duty incident involving a co-worker is investigated

Former Mountie, sports coach convicted of sex abuse in B.C. granted day parole

Alan Davidson was sentenced to almost six years for abusing seven boys in the late 1970s and early 1990s

VIDEO: Person in wheelchair narrowly avoids collision with car in Kelowna

There were no injuries in the scary looking near-accident last week in Rutland

Here’s what Canada is doing to stop the coronavirus from getting in

Health officials are monitoring multiple possible cases in Canada

Prince Rupert makes the cut in draft Alaska Marine Highway System schedule

Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities releases proposed AMHS schedule

Most Read