After office break-in, COVID-19-related anger, Kamloops MP urges respectful discourse

Cathy McLeod said her constituency office in downtown Kamloops was broken into on New Year's Day, adding she has been labelled a "Nazi-like collaborator” because she believes COVID-19 to be serious and supports vaccines.

In the wake of pro-Trump protesters and rioters storming the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday (Jan. 6), Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo Conservative MP Cathy McLeod said Canada also faces polarization — and she is calling on Canadians to maintain respectful discourse.

“I thought as I watched what was happening in the U.S., we do need to be sort of watchful and thoughtful about what is happening around us,” McLeod told KTW.

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On Wednesday night, McLeod took to Twitter and told of how her constituency office in downtown Kamloops had been broken into in the past week. She also stated in that same Tweet that it has been suggested by some that she is a “Nazi-like collaborator” because she believes COVID-19 to be serious and supports vaccines.

She said Canada does not face U.S.-scale polarization, but added there are issues here.

McLeod said her Seymour Street office has security systems in place and that she was notified on New Year’s Day of a break-in. No breach of constituents’ personal information occurred, she said, and nothing appeared to be stolen. There was damage to the front door. The intruder appeared to only have gone through McLeod’s office, which she called a “very unusual intrusion.”

A police report was filed. It is unclear who broke in and why. However, McLeod said the break-in came amid noticeably escalating public frustration in recent weeks around restrictions in place to curb spread of COVID-19.

“I think people are really getting to their wits end, whether it’s their business or the lockdowns. There’s no question there was a lot of anger directed at politicians, the ones that travelled … And there are certainly people out there who believe very strongly that the governments are overreacting to COVID and are very anti-vaccine,” she said. “We’re certainly experiencing those feelings very strongly.”

McLeod said she understands the prolonged impacts of the global pandemic and said it has been a difficult number of months for many people.

McLeod was on Parliament Hill when it was attacked by a gunman in 2014. Former KTW reporter Cam Fortems wrote about her experience at that time, noting she heard gunshots outside the room where she was meeting and feared the gunman would come through the door. The gunman shot and killed Canadian soldier Corporal Nathan Cirillo at the National War Memorial before entering Parliament, where he was shot dead by security personnel.

McLeod was asked what went through her mind on Wednesday as events played out in the United States.

“The events of the Parliament Hill, of course, will be seared in my mind forever,” she said. “At the time, we didn’t know what was happening. We later found out it was a single gunman. But at the time, there was certainly a worry that it could be a much more significant assault on the Hill. We were in a room with a lot of gunfire all around us and, as you can imagine, we didn’t know what was going to come in the door. And it was a difficult time until it became clear it was, although serious, it wasn’t a major assault. And, certainly, yesterday was a major assault on a democratic institution in the United States.”

McLeod said Canada has a history of maintaining respectful discourse, regardless of political affiliation.

“We need to just always be watchful and we need to always be protective and we need to always keep the dialogue open,” she said. “If you’re concerned about vaccinations, then we can have that dialogue, but if people are disagreeing with your perspective on it, we can’t make it so angry.”

Kamloops RCMP Const. Crystal Evelyn said police received a report of mischief damage under $5,000 to a property in the 200-block of Seymour Street, occurring on Jan. 1 at 6 a.m.

“It looks like the door was jimmied and there was some damage, but nothing appeared to be missing,” she said.

No image of the suspect was available and police are asking anybody who may have witnessed what happened or who may have surveillance video of the area around the time of the crime to contact Kamloops RCMP at 250-828-3000.

© Kamloops This Week



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