Politics

White powder sent to Quebec Conservative MP harmless: police

Quebec police have determined that the white powder in an envelope sent to the constituency office of Infrastructure Minister Denis Lebel is harmless. Suspicious envelopes containing white powder turned up at the constituency offices of four Quebec Conservative MPs on Thursday.

Envelopes delivered to constituency offices of Denis Lebel, Steven Blaney, Christian Paradis, Maxime Bernier

Police are investigating after envelopes containing a white powder were sent to the constituency offices of, from left, Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney, International Development Minister Christian Paradis, Infrastructure Minister Denis Lebel and Minister of State for Small Business Maxime Bernier. The powder was harmless and no one was injured, police said. (Canadian Press photos)

Quebec police have determined that the white powder in an envelope sent to the constituency office of Infrastructure Minister Denis Lebel is harmless. 

Suspicious envelopes containing white powder turned up at the constituency offices of four Quebec Conservative MPs.

Quebec provincial police confirmed that envelopes were found at the offices of Lebel and Minister of State for Small Business Maxime Bernier in Saint-Georges-de-Beauce.

Radio-Canada reported envelopes were also found at the office of International Development Minister Christian Paradis in Thetford Mines and Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney's Levis riding office.

Sources have told CBC News that one of the envelopes contained a note that said "Conservateurs, vous serez anéantis," which translates to "Conservatives, you will be annihilated."

Earlier Thursday afternoon, a staffer at Blaney's office told Radio-Canada they had not opened the mail, and were waiting for instructions from the local police.

In a statement issued in his ministerial capacity, Blaney confirmed that "some Quebec MPs" had received envelopes. 

"The safety of cabinet ministers, members of Parliament and their staff is a primary concern at all times," he said.
 
“We thank the Sûreté du Québec and local law enforcement for their swift response.”

Offices evacuated

Radio-Canada said the ministers' offices were evacuated. The first envelope was received at Lebel's office in the morning, with the other two found between 12:30 and 1 p.m. ET.

A Quebec police officer examines mail outside the office of Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney. (Jonathan Lavoie/Radio Canada)

A woman who opened the envelope at Lebel's office was taken to hospital for examination, but exhibited no symptoms and was released, Quebec police and Lebel's office confirmed.

The Sûreté du Québec was maintaining a security perimeter around Lebel's constituency office in downtown Roberval Thursday afternoon. Lebel was not at the office when the package was received, but was making his way back to the riding after learning of the incident.

A staffer working in Quebec Conservative MP Jacques Gourde's constituency office told CBC News that the office had been advised to watch out for any suspicious mail.

No one hurt, no suspects, police say

According to the SQ, no one was hurt, and there are no suspects.

Police are currently trying to determine who sent the envelopes, as well as the nature of the contents.

It is unclear how the envelopes were delivered.

In a statement sent out by the Conservative Party, Lebel says the SQ "has taken charge of the investigation," and has informed the RCMP.

Lebel, who represents the riding of Roberval-Lac-Saint-Jean, said such actions are taken very seriously.

"The safety of Canadians is a priority for our government," he added. "There can be no doubt that we will not be intimidated."

RCMP spokesman Sgt. Luc Thibault confirmed to CBC News that the federal police force is working with the SQ, which is currently leading the investigation.

The Integrated National Security Enforcement Team has been notified.

It will be up to the RCMP to investigate if police conclude a threat was made toward a minister.

With files from Thomas Daigle and Radio-Canada