Sask. leaders speak out against harassment of Chrystia Freeland

·2 min read
Premier Scott Moe says that although many people have significant disagreements with the federal government on policy, harassment is not the answer. (Jeff Stapleton/CBC - image credit)
Premier Scott Moe says that although many people have significant disagreements with the federal government on policy, harassment is not the answer. (Jeff Stapleton/CBC - image credit)

Saskatchewan's Premier Scott Moe and Opposition Leader Carla Beck have both condemned the actions of those who verbally abused Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland last week.

A video showing several people approach Freeland in Grand Prairie, Alta., made its rounds on social media on Friday. A man in the video began yelling profanities at her, calling her a "traitor" and a "f---ing b---h."

The man also told her to leave the province of Alberta, where Freeland is from.

Freeland wrote a statement on the incident saying no one should have to put up with threats and intimidation.

Freeland, who is also the federal finance minister, had been in Saskatchewan the day before the incident.

On Monday, during a campaign stop in the Saskatoon Meewasin constituency, Premier Scott Moe called the actions seen in the video "absolutely unacceptable."

He acknowledged that many people in the province, himself included, have significant disagreements with the federal government on policy.

"You need to separate those from what you saw happen on video," Moe said. "The deputy prime minister, certainly to her credit, has been in my experience one of the most open ministers and created likely more access than any other minister over my four years in this position.

"Despite the policy differences people may have with the federal government, we're all people, here in this nation and certainly we shouldn't be treating people in any way we don't want to be treated."

Moe statement was similar to what he said in a Tweet about the incident on Sunday.

Saskatchewan's Opposition NDP leader Carla Beck said that as a woman in politics, it is frightening to see "the level of animosity" toward public officials, regardless of political party.

"I think it also is a call to politicians of all stripes to tone down the rhetoric to stop fanning the flames of division," Beck said.

She said this behaviour needs to be condemned in the strongest terms and she's glad to see that politicians have been doing that.

"But words are one thing. Actions, and more [particularly] moving away from divisive rhetoric that we see, is really on all of us."