Trudeau appears at rally in bulletproof vest after unspecified ‘security threat’

Andy Gregory
Liberal leader and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attends a rally on Saturday evening: REUTERS

Justin Trudeau donned a bulletproof vest to speak at an election rally on Saturday night after an unspecified security threat.

Accompanied by a heavy security detail, the Canadian prime minister took to the stage 90 minutes late to deliver his speech to about 2,000 supporters ahead of the 21 October vote.

The Liberal Party leader wore a suit jacket in place of his usual rolled-up sleeves and loosened tie, under which an armoured vest was noticeable in photos taken at the event.

Mr Trudeau’s wife, Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, was expected to introduce him, however she did not appear on stage during the event in Mississauga, near Toronto.

Marking a sharp contrast to the overwhelmingly peaceful nature of modern Canadian politics, the incumbent prime minister was escorted through the crowd by a large number of plainclothes and uniformed Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).

Mr Trudeau often plunges into crowds to shake hands and pose for photos, and did so as he was leaving the event, but remained closely surrounded by security.

RCMP spokeswoman Stephanie Dumoulin declined to comment on the extra security measures.

Polls currently show Mr Trudeau’s party as neck and neck with the Conservatives, both garnering close to 30 per cent of the vote following the final leaders’ debate on 10 October.

As news broke of the alleged security threat, Conservative leader Andrew Scheer tweeted: “Very upsetting to hear that Justin Trudeau had to wear a bulletproof vest tonight at a campaign event.

“Threats of violence against political leaders have absolutely no place in our democracy.”

The first to tweet his concern was Jagmeet Singh, leader of the New Democratic Party – which sits left of Mr Trudeau’s Liberals and in third place in the polls, leaving them as coalition contenders in the event of a minority government.

“Any threat made against Justin Trudeau, 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.”

Mr Trudeau will go ahead with plans to campaign in Ontario on Sunday, a Liberal official said.

Additional reporting by agencies

Read more

Trudeau changes profile image to photo of him with black person

I’m less offended by Trudeau’s blackface than I am by his policies

Justin Trudeau calls election and dissolves Canada’s parliament