RCMP investigating threats to mayor of Maple Ridge

Maple Ridge Mayor Nicole Read has curtailed public appearances while the RCMP investigates credible information related to a personal threat to her safety. 

The city said the mayor has been the target of online harassment in recent months and most recently it was provided with "credible information" that relates to a "personal threat to the mayor's safety." 

Read has missed several meetings.

"Mayor Read is hopeful she can resume her duties soon. This has been a very difficult time for the mayor and her family," said Ted Swabey, chief administrative officer for the City of Maple Ridge in a statement. 

The RCMP is not providing specifics about the investigation, other than no charges have been laid. 

City councillors were only notified of the situation last week, but Coun. Craig Speirs said it wasn't hard to see something was going on. 

"It was pretty obvious to me since the mayor had some police escort that something was going on," he said, referring to a day nearly a month ago. 

Speirs said while taking heat is part of the job, he believes Read has attracted much more negative feedback because  of her gender.

"I think there is a lot of misogyny in play here, just the way it has played out. You can tell, it has gotten kind of weird," he said.

"People seems to react a different way to a man than a woman, when a person takes a strong stance and that's what I've seen play out time and again with Nicole. It has not been very pleasant for her," he said.

"It has been horrible to watch happen." 

Speirs said he sympathizes with the mayor and encourages the public to engage in democratic discourse, rather than hateful bashing online. 

"At the end of the day, we are an example to our next generation. So, if they see us being mean and nasty then they will be ... it's not very good. People look really bad on this. I think we need to change our approach."

Gordon Price, who served six terms as a city councillor in Vancouver, said, before, people had time to rethink their hateful comments.

"Before, it required picking up a pen and mailing a letter, and you had time to change your mind,"

But nowadays, with online commenting, a second thought isn't given, he said.