Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Man facing charges for allegedly threatening Ottawa Coun. Plante, police say

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An Ottawa man is facing charges of uttering threats and harassment after allegedly making threats towards Ottawa-Vanier Coun. Stephanie Plante.

“I want to thank Ottawa Police who have arrested a man who recently made very detailed and serious threats against me,” Plante said on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter. “I am grateful and relieved a very scary situation hasn’t escalated further.”

Ottawa police say a report was filed through the online reporting portal on June 21.

“An investigation was opened, yesterday, one individual was arrested and charged,” a police spokesperson told CTV News Ottawa. “A 47-year-old man of Ottawa, has been charged with uttering threats and harassment.”

Plante tells CTV News Ottawa it was a “very, very scary” situation.

“I never, ever expected the fact that I am francophone and that I speak French to be such a polarizing issue, especially in this area. But for this individual it was to the point of threatening my life,” Plante said Wednesday morning.

“We all get emails about people who aren’t quite fond of us, but these were very specific and they were also very specific to the fact that I was francophone.”

Plante says her office receives emails who are “really not happy with us for a variety of reasons,” but this was “very personal.”

“It was very specific. And he was attacking and frustrated about a part of me that I’m actually very proud of,” Plante said.

“So the fact that he is now awaiting his bail hearing, the fact that it was taken seriously, tells me that my instincts to report it were right. And I really hope I never see anything like that ever again in my inbox but I know it’s something that other colleagues deal with every single day. And it has to stop.”

Coun. Stephanie Plante, Mayor Mark Sutcliffe, Ottawa-Vanier MP Mona Fortier, Ottawa Police Chief Eric Stubbs and other officials open the new Neighbourhood Operations Centre at the Rideau Centre. (Katie Griffin/CTV News Ottawa)

Ottawa Police Chief Eric Stubbs says he has spoken to politicians about their safety.

“Obviously and as you know, when there is offences taking place, they need to report it to us. We need to investigate it and hold those people accountable,” said Stubbs. “Expressing your opinions is what we’re all about and people have the right to do that with their politicians. They just need to do it safely and within the law.”

Mayor Mark Sutcliffe says he is “very frustrated and disappointed.”

“I know that elected officials are subjected to more and more and more threats all the time, and it’s terrible. It’s unfortunately a symptom of our times right now,” Sutcliffe said.

“But we need to make sure our elected officials are safe. I think people need to be reminded that we’re human beings, that we are simply trying to do our jobs. You may not always agree with what we’re doing, but there’s no place in our society for threats or for violence, for harassment, for hostility. We’re all just trying to do our jobs and serve the residents of our communities.”

It’s the latest in a recent rise of incidents targeting politicians at the municipal and federal level.

Last week, a video circulating online showed MP Marco Mendicino getting spat on while on his way into a government building on Sparks Street in downtown Ottawa.

The video, posted on the Canadian Free Living YouTube page, shows Mendicino extending his arm to try and shake hands with an individual, who then spits on the MP.

In February, France Bélisle resigned as mayor of Gatineau, Que., citing a “hostile” climate in municipal politics.

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