EDMONTON (CityNews) – Following announcing new public health measures, Premier Jason Kenney said he and his family have been getting death threats.
The premier saying the threats he received said: “you will be executed for your crimes against humanity, and shortly there after, we know where your mother lives.”
Threats against the province’s premier isn’t new according to political scientist, Lori Williams.
“There were horrific threats against Rachel Notley, and before her, Allison Redford,” explained Williams.
Despite that, the concern is high, as the threats could grow as the province increases enforcement of restrictions.
“There’s just a climate out there that’s been fed by social media, that just seems to reward this kind of activity, said Williams.
And the premier isn’t the only one who’s received threats. Alberta’s top doctor, Dr. Deena Hinshaw has also received threats saying “lock her up”, and having a social media post claiming to show a message from a delivery driver sharing her home address.
CityNews reached out to Purolator, who immediately launched an investigation and worked to get the post removed from Facebook, saying they are deeply concerned about the invasion of privacy.
Purolator saying in a statement: “Purolator takes matters of privacy extremely seriously and we acted immediately to begin a thorough investigation and have the photo removed from the Facebook account on which it was posted. This account does not appear to be owned by a Purolator employee or known to Purolator in any way. That said, we are deeply concerned about the possible invasion of privacy for Dr. Hinshaw and are committed to completing our thorough investigation to resolve this issue as quickly as possible.”
In January, protesters found and gathered at Saskatchewan’s top doctors home address, and in B.C. death threats directed at Dr. Bonnie Henry’s. In both cases, an outpouring of support followed.
Those who issued the threats could face criminal charges according to law professor Steven Penney.
“Same rules that apply in the offline world, still apply to the online (world),” said Penney. “Even if they had no intention of actually carrying it out. As long as in the context of what they said, like I said, it was intended to be taken seriously, or as intimidating as far as the potential intent on the recipient.”
Penney added that police and prosecutors have some leniency to deal with this out of court, depending on the public harm.
Premier Kenney also clarifying, he told his caucus that those who make threats, or share harmful conspiracy theories are not part of his base.
But as we see pushback against the rules, some say if the province didn’t keep changing them, the push back might not have been as bad.
“If the message had been consistent the whole time, they probably wouldn’t have as much trouble with that as they are going to be facing,” explained Williams. “But the reality is the majority of Albertans do support this, they know they’re in trouble, they don’t want it to get worse.”