Ontario disgusted with Peterborough after Jagmeet Singh harassed by haters
It was an ugly scene on Tuesday when Federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh stopped in at Peterborough-Kawartha NDP candidate Jen Deck's campaign office on George Street in downtown Peterborough.
In another example of the widening gulf between the political left and right in this country, the Federal NDP leader was ambushed by a small but extremely vocal group of protesters upon exiting the campaign office, who hurled wild accusations and inappropriate language at Singh as he attempted to exit the scene.
Demonstrators accosted Singh with lines like "f**king traitor" and "lying piece of sh*t", as well as telling the political leader not to "touch their children" (assuming this is the latest anti-vaccine mandate rallying cry) and urging him to "go f**k" himself.
Nicole Comber, owner of Peterburgers, and others from their “Hold Fast” gang came out to yell at @theJagmeetSingh in Peterborough today — and give a message that he is “not welcome”.— Tanya (@TanyaFusco) May 10, 2022
This small but vocal group does not represent our community.#cdnpoli pic.twitter.com/GnEZR3Jox1
Several videos of the incident have been shared online, showing protesters attempting to disrupt Singh's visit and causing a general scene in downtown Peterborough.
Some stuff to add from downtown Peterborough yesterday in front of the NDP office. Short 🧵— Johnny Fondue (@Eatsfood2) May 11, 2022
Here’s an abridged version of multiple videos to show how things went down. ⬇️ #ptbo #antivaxxers pic.twitter.com/TVe9VNd5hN
The protest was apparently organized with the intent of letting Singh know that he was unwelcome in Peterborough.
“We need to get everybody down there.”— Josh Kulich (@Josh_Kulich) May 11, 2022
“We need to let @theJagmeetSingh know that he’s not welcome here.”
“We will not be silenced.”
“Let them know that this is our town.” (2/2) pic.twitter.com/IoapXLejVr
Videos of the incident have triggered an outpouring of support for Singh on social media, including messages from Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath and even from across the aisle with a post from Ontario PC MP Omar Alghabra.
I am ashamed by what happened to you in my city. We are so much more than this. I am so, so sorry this happened to you. Let's raise this city to a higher level.— 🌻 Guy Johnston (@GuyJohn87524425) May 12, 2022
Even voters that admittedly are not aligned with the NDP have spoken out against the show of hatred in Peterborough.
That’s how politics should be. Regardless of party, the goal should be the safety, health and prosperity of all people within the jurisdiction. The debate should be how we get there. We’ve moved away from that in many cases, unfortunately.— Ian Ediger (@ianediger) May 12, 2022
Some have been quick to point out that this incident shouldn't be used to paint Peterborough as a hotbed of far-right thinking, but data could be interpreted to suggest otherwise.
We do need to keep in mind that Peterborough’s hate crime rate in 2020 was highest of Canada’s metropolitan areas. The full videos were difficult to watch, and included anti-trans and homophobic statements by some who gathered. https://t.co/xa4AjY7u2a— Tanya (@TanyaFusco) May 10, 2022
Singh released a statement on Wednesday in response to the incident, thanking those who reached out to him to show support.
"To those that have asked, I'm in Chardi Kala - rising spirits. I want to especially say to the people of Peterborough - I have visited many times and I know your community is filled with good people who want the best for each other."
"Sadly, polarization and disinformation are real dangers to our society. While disagreements are fundamental to a thriving democracy - hatred, violence and wishing death upon others threaten it. Politicians must remember the consequences when they stoke fear and division. When hate is given space to grow, it spreads like wild fire. That is why we must always confront it - giving it no space to take hold, no room to grow."
Singh closed his statement with a pledge to return to the city, saying "Peterborough, I love you. Don't worry - I'll back!"
This isn't the first time the so-called freedom crowd has put a negative spotlight on Peterborough, with past events including a two-week-long far-right demonstration at PB's Peterburgers restaurant.
This same burger joint appears to be connected to the latest Peterborough protest on Tuesday.
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