As It Happens

Alberta PC MLA ​calls Conservative Facebook post on West Edmonton Mall threat 'irresponsible'

"For a second perhaps I thought maybe this was a parody account that appeared on my Facebook," Thomas Lukaszuk, a Progressive Conservative MLA from Edmonton tells As It Happens host Carol Off. "I soon realized that it wasn't."
Thomas Lukaszuk (CBC)

A recent Facebook post by the Conservative Party of Canada is raising the ire of critics and even conservatives.

The post uses an image and quote from a recent al-Shabaab video, in which the terrorist group encourages attacks against major malls around the world, including the West Edmonton Mall. Alongside the post is a request that Canadians sign a petition in support of the anti-terror bill, C-51.

"For a second perhaps I thought maybe this was a parody account that appeared on my Facebook," Thomas Lukaszuk, a Progressive Conservative MLA from Edmonton tells As It Happens host Carol Off. "I soon realized that it wasn't."

Alberta MLA Thomas Lukaszuk replies to a Facebook post from the Conservative Party of Canada. (Twitter)

"It already has [had an impact]," Lukaszuk says of the Conservative Party post and its impact on local tourism. "We already have a situation where a major cheer leading competition for children was to take place in West Edmonton Mall, and dozens of teens are cancelling out. Insurance companies have refused to underwrite the trip for a school board. It's an undue panic that has been planted into people's minds."

On Wednesday, we spoke with the mother of a Lethbridge cheerleader whose team withdrew from the aforementioned cheerleading competition because of terrorist concerns.

Cheerleader parent, For the Record: US Attorney General Eric Holder, NY fracking secession, script: cat music, Barak building 28:13

"Statements like that are very irresponsible,"  Lukaszuk continues. "Our police agencies, both national, provincial and municipal assure Canadians that there is no imminent threat to our safety in West Edmonton Mall and messages relevant to national safety should be disseminated by law enforcement agencies, by the government, by the appropriate ministers and Prime Minister — but not by partisan, ill-informed political parties which also may have other reasons than just dissemination of accurate information."

"If you want to engage in politics and fund raising and petitions, that's perfectly fine... But simply, when you're doing that, don't mess with Edmonton."

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