Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 22 November 2019

Justin Trudeau wears protective vest after unspecified threat

Officials would not reveal the nature of the threat

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau wears a protective vest under his shirt as he arrives at a rally in Mississauga, Ontario, Saturday, October 12, 2019.AP
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau wears a protective vest under his shirt as he arrives at a rally in Mississauga, Ontario, Saturday, October 12, 2019.AP

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau donned a bulletproof vest for an election campaign rally on Saturday, and the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. cited sources saying a security threat had been received.

Pictures taken at the event in the Ontario city of Mississauga outside Toronto showed Mr Trudeau wearing bulky protection under his shirt.

Police wearing backpacks surrounded Mr Trudeau on stage for the first time since the start of a six-week election campaign leading up to what polls suggest will be a closely contested vote on October 21.

The scenes were almost unprecedented in recent Canadian political history, which has been overwhelmingly peaceful.

CBC cited unnamed sources inside Mr Trudeau's Liberal Party as saying he donned the bulletproof vest after the campaign received a threat.

Liberal spokeswoman Zita Astravas declined to comment on Mr Trudeau's security arrangements. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police declined to comment.

Mr Trudeau, who arrived 90 minutes late for the event, addressed the rally without incident. His wife Sophie had been due to introduce him but did not do so.

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

Unlike the United States, where four presidents have been assassinated since 1865, there is almost no history of serious political violence in Canada.

The one exception came in 1970, when a radical group seeking independence for Quebec kidnapped the Canadian province's deputy premier and later killed him.

Mr Trudeau will go ahead with plans to campaign in the Ontario city of York north of Toronto on Sunday, said a Liberal official who declined to be named given the sensitivity of the situation.

Polls show the Liberals are tied with the official opposition Conservatives of Andrew Scheer, who on Sunday said that if he won on October 21 he would quickly move to end what he called government subsidies to rich corporations.

Updated: October 13, 2019 02:52 PM

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