OTTAWA—Conservative MP Garnet Genuis has called on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to condemn political violence after news of several incidences of assault against pro-life demonstrators.
“It is deeply disturbing to see acts of politically motivate violence taking
place in Canada,” the Sherwood Park-Fort Saskatchewan, Alta., MP wrote in a
petition he launched Oct. 5 after reports of violence in Toronto.
“Politically motivated violence has no place in this country or anywhere. Without a strong response from the appropriate authorities, violence of this sort can have a chilling effect on public discourse.”
One instance involved an attack on Campaign Life Coalition’s youth co-ordinator Marie-Claire Bissonnette on Sept. 30 during a peaceful Life Chain demonstration. A man is shown on a video spin-kicking Bissonnette, who alleges he kicked her in the shoulder and knocked her phone to the pavement. The video went viral and prompted news reports internationally.
On Oct. 6, Jordan Hunt, 26, was charged with eight counts of assault and seven counts of mischief for the alleged kick and for allegedly scribbling on the clothing and signs of the demonstrators, and tearing a ribbon off Bissonnette’s clothing.
Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer condemned the attack on social media Oct. 5. “No woman should have to fear for her safety on the streets of Canada because of her personal beliefs,” he said in French. “I strongly condemn this attack, both scandalous and not provoked.”
Toronto Police also charged Hunt with assault in connection with a another pro-life demonstration on Aug. 2, when he allegedly tried to grab a demonstrator’s sign and pushed a woman against a pole.
Video of another assault was posted to Facebook Oct. 5 by Blaise Alleyne of Toronto Against Abortion showing instances pro-lifers being assaulted on the Ryerson campus Oct. 1.
“Unfortunately, the attack we faced on Monday at Ryerson was only one of many instances of peaceful pro-lifers facing pro-choice violence on a regular basis across the country,” said Alleyne on Facebook. “I was present for three of the assaults in this video.”
The prime minister has not responded to the calls to condemn political violence.
MPs have been in their ridings for the Thanksgiving break and return to the House of Commons Oct. 15.
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