Politics

People's Party Leader Maxime Bernier egged at campaign event

A man attending a People's Party of Canada event hit PPC leader Maxime Bernier with an egg while posing with him for a photo — an incident that has raised questions about campaign security.

Incident comes as campaign security emerges as an election issue

People's Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier speaking to supporters at a community hall in Cochrane, Alta., on Aug. 30. (CBC)

A man hit People's Party of Canada (PPC) Leader Maxime Bernier with an egg at a campaign event Thursday in Saskatoon — one of multiple recent incidents raising questions about campaign security.

In a video posted to Twitter, the perpetrator appears to request a photo with Bernier. As Bernier gives a thumbs up, the man smashes an egg into the back of Bernier's head.

Bernier then runs his hands over his head but appears to assure onlookers that he's okay.

"I egged @MaximeBernier," the individual said in a tweet containing the video.

PPC Leader Maxime Bernier egged by a protester during a campaign stop in Saskatoon. (Twitter)

PPC spokesperson Martin Masse said the campaign does not have security guards or screening for its events.

"We don't hire security guards, but there are always volunteers with (Bernier) who keep an eye on what's going on, often former police officers or veterans," he said in an email.

"There is no screening at our events. Everyone is welcome to come meet Mr. Bernier."

Masse said a similar incident occurred in the 2019 federal election campaign, when someone threw a glass of water at Bernier. Masse said Bernier played down the incident and returned from his hotel room 10 minutes later to continue meeting with supporters. Police attended but no charges were laid.

The incident comes after a series of protests targeting Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau's campaign — one of which even led the campaign to cancel a rally in Bolton, Ont., on short notice.

A spokesperson for the Liberal Party said in an email that the party does not comment on security matters or operations.

In an email, a spokesperson for the New Democratic Party similarly offered few details about campaign security. 

"We don't generally discuss — or frankly control — security questions about the tour," the email reads.

In an Aug. 26 news release, Green Party Leader Annamie Paul raised concerns about mounting threats to the campaign. The party says that while the Green campaign has not had any hecklers at press conferences, it's aware of online posts threatening to disrupt events.

"The RCMP should have offered a security detail to all leaders, and I certainly hope that someone is monitoring the online threats," Paul said in the release. "We keep an eye out the best we can for anyone who might be attending an event simply to disrupt.

"Sadly, many who might potentially consider seeking public office are discouraged from doing so for fear of the kind of vitriol they and their families are likely to encounter."

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