Trudeau dons protective vest as security concern delays Mississauga rally – CityNews

Trudeau dons protective vest as security concern delays Mississauga rally - CityNews
Trudeau wears bulletproof vest after security threat delays campaign rally
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau took extraordinary safety precautions at a major election rally west of Toronto Saturday, donning an armoured vest and appearing with a heavy security detail because of a threat.

Liberal officials would not reveal the nature of the threat, which resulted in a 90-minute delay before the incumbent prime minister appeared before the roughly 2,000 party supporters who had turned out to a convention near Pearson airport as the election campaign enters its final week.

The armoured vest was not readily apparent as Trudeau delivered a 25-minute speech, in which the Liberal leader lashed out at the Conservatives for promising cuts to government spending before urging progressive voters against casting their ballots for the NDP.

But sources later confirmed to The Canadian Press that Trudeau, wore a suit jacket during the rally rather than his usual rolled-up sleeves and loosened tie, was wearing a vest, which was noticeable in photos taken at the event.

During his 25-minute speech, Trudeau took aim at Scheer, trying to link proposed spending cuts in the federal Conservative platform to cuts made in Ontario by Premier Doug Ford. Liberals supporters booed both loudly when Trudeau mentioned them by name.

Justin Trudeau dons bulletproof vest for campaign event in Ontario

Trudeau’s extra security detail was obvious as the Liberal leader was escorted through the boisterous crowd by a large number of plainclothes RCMP officers as well as Mounties dressed in green tactical gear.

The police officers made a point of standing on the stage surveying the crowd while Trudeau spoke and remained close by his side after his speech as the Liberal leader shook hands with members of the crowd before leaving the room.

Prepared remarks had indicated that Trudeau’s wife, Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, was to introduce the Liberal leader. She did not appear or take the stage during the rally.

“For security reasons, we do not comment on security measures given to the prime minister,” RCMP spokeswoman Stephanie Dumoulin said in email.

Photos later confirmed Trudeau was wearing a bulky protective vest under his jacket while the RCMP officers remained on stage during the address and near his side as he shook hands afterward.

“Any threat made against @JustinTrudeau, or any leader, is troubling to all of us,” he wrote. “No matter how you vote or believe, no one should face threats of violence. To the officers who protect all of us – thank you.”

The Liberal campaign would not officially comment on the delay or reasons for the increased security presence, but one source confirmed to The Canadian Press there was a security threat.

Video: Canada Election: Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau attends rally in Mississauga, Ont.

Liberals had been hoping Saturday’s rally would see Trudeau make a mark in the vote-rich Toronto-area, where the party needs to have a strong showing to have any hope of again forming government.

The Peel Regional Police referred questions to the RCMP, which did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Prior to Trudeau’s appearance, both Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland and Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains addressed the crowd, some of whose members began to express impatience over the Liberal leader’s unexplained delay taking the microphone.

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And while the crowd cheered Trudeau’s remarks, the delay and later news of a security threat threatened to cast a pall over the event and detract from the Liberal leader’s warnings about the potential threat of a Conservative government under Andrew Scheer.

More than 2,000 Liberal supporters turned out for the crowded rally, which was delayed by 90 minutes before Trudeau took the stage wearing a suit jacket rather than his usual rolled-up sleeves and escorted by both his plainclothes RCMP detail and Mounties in tactical gear.

The Liberals will hope to get back on track Sunday when Trudeau campaigns in the Toronto area as the federal election campaign heads into its final week with the Liberals and Conservatives running neck and neck with the New Democrats and Bloc Quebecois also picking up some steam.

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Liberal leader Justin Trudeau is surrounded by tactical police as he arrives for a rally in Mississauga, Ontario. The rally was delayed for 90 minutes due to a security issue. #cdnpoli #elxn43 pic.twitter.com/gUZeBXGSt0

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Prepared remarks also indicated his wife, Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, was to introduce the Liberal leader. However, she did not appear despite having flown with Trudeau from Vancouver earlier in the day.

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The Liberal campaign would not officially comment on the delay or reasons for the increased security presence, but one source confirmed to The Canadian Press there was a security threat.

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau wore a bulletproof vest on stage amid heavy security at a campaign rally after a security threat, senior Liberal sources tell CBC News.

His appearance at a crowded rally of about 2,000 supporters in Mississauga, Ont., on Saturday evening was delayed by 90 minutes and featured a much heavier security detail around Trudeau once the Liberal leader took the stage.

Uniformed tactical officers wearing heavy backpacks surrounded the Liberal leader as he addressed the crowd. His wife, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, was initially supposed to introduce him but did not appear on stage. 

Trudeau delivered the speech without incident and shook hands with numerous supporters lining the stage and in the crowd as he left the venue. 

Saturday's extra security measures came amid heightened fears of violence on the campaign. Last month, sources told CBC News the RCMP were compiling daily threat reports on online hate targeting federal political leaders during the election campaign, fearing it could spill over into real-world violence. 

Government sources close to the file confirmed an increase in online posts condoning violence during the campaign.

Just two weeks ago, Trudeau's security detail arrested a protester who approached the Liberal leader during the climate change strike march in Montreal.

In February, ahead of his testimony in front of the justice committee on the SNC-Lavalin affair, Michael Wernick, then-clerk of the Privy Council, warned of the dangers of rising hate on the campaign trail.

"I worry about the rising tides of incitements to violence when people use terms like 'treason' and 'traitor' in open discourse. Those are the words that lead to assassination," Wernick told committee members. 

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