Alberta man charged with uttering threats against Justin Trudeau, Rachel Notley

Alberta RCMP have charged a man with uttering threats on Twitter against Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Premier Rachel Notley.

Orion Rutley was arrested Jan. 19

A man has been charged with making threats against Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Alberta Premier Rachel Notley. (Jason Franson/Canadian Press)

Alberta RCMP have charged a man with uttering threats on Twitter against Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Premier Rachel Notley.

Orion Rutley was arrested Jan. 19 and charged with two counts of uttering threats, RCMP said in a news release Friday.

His Twitter account has been suspended, but it's not yet known exactly what he is accused of posting.

Rutley was released on his own recognizance on several conditions, including that he have no contact with Trudeau or Notley.

He is also prohibited from using social media and possessing weapons. He is scheduled to appear in provincial court in Leduc on Feb. 8.

RCMP said their investigation continues.

Court records show that Rutley has a conviction for careless use or storage of a firearm and unauthorized possession of a firearm.

In that case, he was given a six-month conditional sentence, one year of probation and a 10-year firearm prohibition.

A spokesperson said the premier does not comment on security issues or on matters that are before the courts.

Jason Kenney, leader of the United Conservative Party, took to Twitter to condemn the threats against both Notley and Trudeau.

Notley has faced a barrage of online threats and abuse since her NDP government was elected in May 2015.

In December of that year, online comment pages and Facebook and Twitter feeds were filled with threats apparently made by people angered about Bill 6, government legislation that extended occupational health and safety rules and worker compensation coverage to paid farm workers.

One post on the CTV Lethbridge Facebook page suggested "someone's gotta man up and kill her," while another suggested someone should "put a pitchfork through [Notley's] neck" and a third said "just shoot her already."

The anger and vitriol aimed at Notley has continued long after Bill 6 faded from the news.

She was the target of 412 incidents of what was termed inappropriate contact or communication between Jan. 26, 2016 — when tracking of such incidents began — and Dec. 19, 2016, according to statistics released by Alberta Justice early last year.

Twenty-six of those files were forwarded to police for review and possible investigation, Alberta Justice said.

Earlier this year, a woman in Lethbridge, Alta., was charged after allegedly posting threats online against Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, the wife of the prime minister.

The RCMP's Integrated National Security Enforcement Team based in Alberta was alerted to the threats made against the Canadian government on May 11, 2017, and an arrest was made the next day.

In that case, Lisa Seymour-Peters, 49, was charged with one count of uttering threats.

Two Saskatchewan men were charged last year with making online threats against the prime minister.

Derek Hurrell was charged with one count of uttering threats. Police said at the time he had no direct contact with the prime minister. 

In August, police charged Christopher Hayes of Grayson, Sask., with the same type of crime, saying he made threats against Trudeau over Facebook.

Hayes was fined $500, given nine months' probation and ordered to stay away from Trudeau. He was prohibited from having firearms for the next five years.