Canada elections: Man charged with assault for throwing stones at Justin Trudeau

Shane Marshall, 25, was charged with “assault with a weapon” for a recent stone-throwing incident targeting Canadian PM Justin Trudeau at a campaign stop ahead of the September 20 Canada elections
Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets supporters during his election campaign tour in Saint Bruno-de-Montarville in Canada on September 11, 2021. He has been campaigning for the September 20 Canada elections. (REUTERS)
Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets supporters during his election campaign tour in Saint Bruno-de-Montarville in Canada on September 11, 2021. He has been campaigning for the September 20 Canada elections. (REUTERS)
Updated on Sep 13, 2021 05:21 PM IST
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Canadian police have arrested and charged an opposition politician over an incident of throwing gravel at Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the town of London, Ontario earlier this month during a pre-poll campaign stop.

Shane Marshall, 25, resident of St Thomas, was charged with “assault with a weapon” for the September 6 and appeared before a court in London town on Saturday, local police said.

Marshall, until recently, led the association for the People’s Party of Canada (PPC) in his local riding or constituency. He was recently fired from his position by the PPC.

Trudeau was uninjured in the September 6 gravel-throwing incident that occurred as he was preparing to board his campaign bus, and mediapersons accompanying him reported that some of them were also hit by small stones.

On Friday, an unidentified man was arrested and charged by police for threatening Trudeau while he was campaigning in the town of Cambridge, Ontario in late August.

Trudeau has faced protests by noisy crowds at several campaign stops ahead of the September 20 snap elections, mostly over his announcement that Covid-19 vaccines will be mandatory for public sector employees, and for travel on domestic trains and flights.

Trudeau faced protests also in Surrey, British Columbia, while a campaign event in the town of Bolton, Ontario was cancelled last month due to the gathering of a large number of protesters. However, previous incidents were limited to hurling of abuses at Trudeau.

Trudeau said last week that he will “not allow” such “anti-vaxxer mobs” to “dictate how this country gets through this pandemic”.

Those attacks have drawn criticism from the PM’s principal rival, Conservative Party leader Erin O’Toole, who had tweeted, “This is disgusting and I condemn these actions in the strongest terms possible.”

Trudeau is not the only leader to have faced an attack during his campaign. Earlier this month, PPC leader Maxime Bernier was hit with an egg at an event in Saskatoon in the province of Saskatchewan.

Bernier disavowed the London incident in a tweet the day after it happened, saying, “Someone hit me with an egg last week. I note that none of the other party leaders made any statement. Some idiot threw pebbles at Mr. Trudeau yesterday. I condemn it. Words are our weapons. But physical violence is always wrong.”


    Anirudh Bhattacharya is a Toronto-based commentator on North American issues, and an author. He has also worked as a journalist in New Delhi and New York spanning print, television and digital media. He tweets as @anirudhb.

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