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Man arrested for death threats against Kitchener, Ont. Liberal MP

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A 44-year-old Woolwich, Ont., man has been arrested for allegedly making death threats against a member of parliament.

On Monday, Kitchener-Conestoga Liberal MP Tim Louis confirmed an arrest was made after threats were made against him.

In a statement, Louis said on Thursday his office contacted the Waterloo Regional Police Service (WRPS) about threats he allegedly received.

According to police, the suspect was arrested Friday and charged with uttering threats to cause death.

“I would like to thank WRPS for their swift action and diligence in handling this matter,” Louis said in the emailed statement.

“My office staff and I remain committed to serving constituents in Kitchener-Conestoga.”

Louis said he would not comment further because the matter is before the courts.

WRPS say the threats were made online. The accused will appear in court on March 20.

Former OPP Commissioner and CTV public safety analyst Chris Lewis says threats targeting politicians are on the rise.

"It's always been an issue, it's just until the last several years [there’s been] a lot of it because of some of the right wing and left wing extremists out there on the other side of border, a lot of that has bled into Canada and in fact, it has increased."

'A NEW ERA'

A local political scientist calls the situation alarming.

“If our members of parliament feel they are under threat and need to take a number security measures in order to engage with their own constituents, it’s really marking a new era in terms of our democracy,” said Julie Simmons, associate professor of political science at the University of Guelph.

Simmons said threats against politicians are happening more frequently following the Freedom Convoy in 2022.

“The whole mantra of that entire event, and we still see it, expletives about the prime minister, and we have it printed on bumper stickers and the back of cars, and it’s just brought the civility of the conversation to a new low,” Simmons said.

This comes four months after a Kitchener man was sentenced for threatening Prime Minister Justin Trudeau while he was making a stop in Cambridge in 2021.

In his sentencing, the judge in that case noted he had to take into consideration the potential the threats could have had in the democratic election process.

Simmons said threats against politicians could stop some people from running and ultimately harm democracy.

“There’s always that worry that if people feel their lives are threatened or their lives of their family members are threatened, that they may certainly may not want to be part of that political process. That’s definitely a concern,” Simmons said.

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