Online threats and hate speech against politicians is mounting, officials say

DM

Online hate and politics are clashing with increasing frequency as pandemic stress mounts. Just one example is Quebec politician Christine St-Pierre, who received an avalanche of insults after she posted online that she received a COVID-19 vaccine. She was called crazy, a liar, dangerous to others. Some commented about her hair, while others offered sarcastic condolences. While it’s important for the public to hold politicians accountable and express criticisms, particularly during a global pandemic, some say personal threats and intimidation should never be part of the job. However, they are popping up more and more on social media feeds, and the fear is whether these threats will continue offline. Over the past three weeks in Quebec, at least four mayors have said that vicious online attacks are part of what is pushing them out of public office. The comments have been over issues ranging from COVID-19 measures to garbage collection and roadwork. “Having attack against us, it’s normal, we’re elected people and it come with the job,” Philipe Roy, the mayor of the Town of Mount-Royal, said.

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