Lisa MacLeod rushed out of event by security detail
Nepean MPP previously said she'd received 'credible threats' over autism funding changes
Lisa MacLeod, the province's minister of children, community and social services, was rushed out of a Friday morning event at Ottawa City Hall by her Ontario Provincial Police security detail.
The Nepean MPP was attending a breakfast for International Women's Day, where the city launched its women and gender equity strategy.
MacLeod's office said it was the security team that decided she should leave the event immediately following her speech, but did not say what specifically spurred that decision.
As MacLeod was leaving City Hall through the Lisgar Street doors — surrounded by her security detail — a woman was yelling at her about the proposed changes.
"My son only speaks five words because of you," the woman screamed. She stopped yelling once MacLeod was in her car.
Arrest made Thursday
MacLeod has faced significant public backlash regarding changes the government is planning to introduce around autism funding.
Earlier this week, MacLeod avoided a rally at Queen's Park over the changes, citing a "credible threat" to her safety.
On Thursday, Ottawa police arrested and charged a 41-year-old woman with:
- Criminal harassment, alleged to have occurred between Feb. 8 and March 1, that caused MacLeod "to reasonably fear for her safety," according to court documents.
- Uttering a threat to cause bodily harm, allegedly by email on Feb. 26.
- Uttering a threat to cause bodily harm, allegedly by email on March 1.
- Uttering a threat to cause death, allegedly via a telephone message between Feb. 8 and March 4.
Parent hopes dialogue still possible
Emily Sheridan, who lives in MacLeod's riding and has a six-year-old son with autism, said she hopes the threats won't end the dialogue between parents and the minister.
"I think it's fair to say that this definitely doesn't represent the bulk of the autism community," Sheridan said.
"If Minister MacLeod felt she was threatened to the point that she needs protection or security, that's something we would be concerned about. However, we're hoping that this doesn't distract from the message that our group is continuing to push for."
MacLeod's office said the minister is planning to attend other International Women's Day events later Friday, but did not specify which ones.
With files from Joanne Chianello and Robyn Miller