RCMP aware of Facebook posts that threaten Alberta premier

RCMP say they are aware of threatening comments made online against Premier Rachel Notley, but won't confirm whether they've launched an investigation.

Be careful or 'you'll be the first assassination in Alberta,' said a post on anti-NDP Facebook site

The RCMP say it is aware of online posts that threaten Premier Rachel Notley on anti-NDP websites. (CBC)

RCMP say they are aware of threatening comments made online against Premier Rachel Notley, but they won't confirm whether they've launched an investigation.

The posts showed up on at least two anti-NDP Facebook sites.

Barbara Starr, moderator of one of the websites called Out the NDP in Alberta, posted, "We can take over the government, we just need the wild to back us."

In response a man posted, "Or a lone gunman," adding, "Not condoning that. Just saying bad things happen to bad leaders."

In another post the premier is warned to be careful or "you'll be the first assassination in Alberta."

Another writes: "I'm not advocating for violence against you — yet — but keep talking like that and someone will take matters in their own hands."

Other posts are hateful and vulgar. 

Insp. Gibson Glavin said the RCMP are aware of the posts.

"Our first concern right away was to ensure the premier's security detail was aware of what we were seeing," he said.

He would not say if RCMP are investigating the posts as uttering threats. One of the grounds that can invite an investigation is if the target of a threat becomes fearful.

"If there is a reasonable likelihood that the person receiving that threat should take it seriously, then that is a type of thing that could be considered to fall in the criminal realm." 

Notley downplayed the threats made against her when asked about them Tuesday, shortly after one of the web sites that posted them was taken down.

Notley said she has a security unit that monitors those kind of situations.

"And I'm told that none of what has occurred thus far with me is in any way shape or form out of the ordinary," Notley said. "And so I rely on them (security) to do their job,  and I'm very confident that that's what's happening."

Neil LeMay, a security consultant who has provided security for former Alberta premiers, said the posts deserve to be investigated by the police.

"They're totally inappropriate for starters," he said. "They can also be criminal offences.

"I mean even though it's on a website, I think it's important that these sorts of things be investigated further and just find out what the intentions and thoughts are of these individuals."

However, LeMay cautions that posting threats is a far cry from acting them out. 

"In my experience ... those that beak off — those who publish their threats for all to hear — are probably the least likely to carry them through."

Starr told CBC the post about the gunman comment was not a threat, but part of larger exchange written in jest, somebody venting.

"It was a bunch of us joking," she said, adding she believes NDP and Liberal supporters posted messages on other pages to stir up controversy.

The CBC sought comment from the moderator of another site, Albertans Against the NDP. An anonymous email sent in response said threatening content is not condoned and inappropriate users are banned. 

But just before noon, the website was pulled down.

With files from CBC's Andrea Huncar


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