Sutcliffe Condemns Threat Against Plante


The threat to politicians and other people in public life are real.

No doubt Mayor Mark Sutcliffe has had threats made against him during his media years and short tenure as mayor.

Many people in the media and public life have had those threats and, in the media at least, shrug them off for the most part.

We identify and sympathize with Rideau-Vanier Councillor Stephanie Plante and wish her the best in dealing with the aftermath of this frightening situation.

It would be nice if Sutcliffe’s words (or these words) could help or bring comfort to Plante. But for the most part they won’t change anything except make Plante feel a tiny bit better.

There are bad people out there with problems (some of their own making, others not) and your best defence is to take care to stay out of situations where you can be hurt. Unfortunately, politics is not one of them nor is it likely to be in the future.

There are a lot of sick people out there with a police force ill-equipped or unwilling to deal with them.

Such threats and violence have always been part of politics and public life (Caesar found out the hard way, so too Lincoln and Canada’s Thomas D’Arcy McGee) and, unfortunately, are likely to continue. That danger is a real wall to people participating in the participation and discussion of public policy.

Public policy can be debated in a fruitful manner and, with a bit of give-and-take and compromise, people of goodwill can arrive at satisfactory conclusions.

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2 Responses

  1. Clarence S Dungey says:

    We should all be concerned, learn what not to do that can set off sad situations (like blowing your horn in anger ) I am certain that there are other like examples, that can cause bad reactions, sorry but that the life we live in

  2. The Voter says:


    The worst thing you can do is blame the victim. “If he or she hadn’t done or not done X, Y, or Z, this wouldn’t have happened.” The person at fault here is the perpetrator, NOT the person who was on the receiving end of the attack. Stephanie Plante, France Belisle (former mayor of Gatineau), Catherine McKenna and the thousands of other political figures who have received these threats are doing nothing wrong. They are just doing their jobs.

    “sorry but that the life we live in”. Really?? So we should just roll over and accept it? Is that what you said about the January 6th invasion of the U.S. Capitol?

    The answer to this kind of behaviour is to stop it wherever it happens. That takes two components, the first of which is to punish the hate crimes to the fullest extent of the law. That includes not only the person who carried it out but those who are encouraging them or aiding and abetting them. A good example would be the former president in the U.S. whose rhetoric tells people that it’s okay to act against people who you disagree with whether that includes actual violence or ‘just’ threats of violence.

    The second thing we must do is educate people teaching them how to express dissent without resorting to this kind of behaviour. We have had several centuries when this sort of action was the outlier and most political figures and ordinary citizens left their disagreements at the table and were civil and even friendly to their ‘opponents’. We have work to do to get back there but it can be done.

    The response we must give is that this is never okay and we must provide our support to the victims to try and put them in a state of safety. It’s not easy to come back from the fear and other feelings when you’ve been attacked in this way, particularly since the threat may not be directed just at you but can include your family and your staff.

    We can’t accept this as ‘the way things are’ but need to actively work to ensure that things change so that good people don’t leave political life and others, seeing this happen, don’t decide not to enter the political arena because of it.

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