Ottawa

Police launch hate crime investigation after man yells obscenities at Catherine McKenna's office

The Ottawa police hate crimes unit is investigating after a man screamed obscenities outside Infrastructure and Communities Minister Catherine McKenna's constituency office last week.

Video of tirade outside infrastructure minister's constituency office posted online

Minister Catherine McKenna reacts to an incident outside her constituency office, in which a man launched into an obscenity-laden tirade and posted the video online. 0:58

The Ottawa police hate crimes unit is investigating after a man screamed obscenities outside Infrastructure and Communities Minister Catherine McKenna's constituency office last week.

A 90-second video, posted to social media over the weekend, shows a man approaching the door of the Ottawa Centre MP's Catherine Street office around 10:30 a.m. ET Thursday and ringing the bell. It appears the man recorded the video himself.

When a female employee opens the door the man asks to speak to McKenna, but she tells him the office isn't open to the public due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The man then launches into a profane tirade, at one point calling McKenna a "c--t" before the woman shuts the door.

McKenna addressed the "unacceptable" incident outside that same constituency office Monday afternoon.

"This isn't an isolated incident. It's not just involving me, my staff members, my family. Too often there are incidents against politicians, often female politicians," she said, listing other recent examples and suggesting such incidents are more common than generally reported.

WATCH | Clip of the video that spurred investigation: 

Ottawa police are investigating after a man screamed obscenities outside Minister Catherine McKenna's constituency office last week and posted a video of the tirade online. 0:34

McKenna also expressed concerns about the video being circulated on social media, re-victimizing her staff member who was just doing her job.

"It gave more voice to whoever this person is and to folks that want to spread hate and want to intimidate folks," she said. 

Just days after McKenna's re-election last fall, someone spray-painted the same word across an image of McKenna's face on the window of her campaign office.

At the time, McKenna vowed such incidents wouldn't discourage her from continuing in politics, but hesitated Monday when asked a similar question, saying if she knew before she entered public office what she knows now about the harassment and abuse politicians face, she may have thought twice about running.

But she also said that's not how she wants others to feel.

"I'm up for a vigorous debate. But I'm not up for this and I do want good people to go into politics. I want the girls and women out there to think that they can go in and make a difference but not have to put up with this garbage."

RCMP are investigating the October incident, while the Ottawa Police Service confirmed Monday its hate crime unit is investigating the latest one.

Minister of Infrastructure and Communities Catherine McKenna rises during question period in the House of Commons on Jan. 31. (Justin Tang/Canadian Press)

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