Eleanor McMahon, Ontario Liberal candidate for Burlington, released the following statement:
“Ontarians woke up this morning to an offensive image on the front cover of the Toronto Sun that shows an NDP candidate urging the public to direct their anger toward our police women and men in a truly vulgar fashion. My late husband was a police officer and so, I can say with some personal conviction that Ontario’s police deserve better. Even allowing for the fact that the NDP’s Gurratan Singh has issued an apology, it is inconceivable to me how Andrea Horwath could continue to support his candidacy.
I strongly support the right of all citizens to protest and organize. It is a fundamental right to speak up and speak out in accordance with your personal beliefs. But that right is not unfettered. It comes with responsibilities. Owning one’s words and actions is the flip side coin of contesting those in positions of power.
It is also important that we recognize the context. The women and men on the frontline of our police services are currently under unprecedented scrutiny. They are asked to uphold the law and to protect our lives and our safety. It is only right that the police always be held to account, like any other institution. But we have an obligation to ensure that any debate about policing occurs in a dignified and respectful manner. When shots are fired, police come running. What we owe them can hardly be measured.
Andrea Horwath has an opportunity to show that she will not tolerate the values underlying this image in her party. Declaring that she will not ask voters to support Mr. Singh’s candidacy would be a difficult thing to do politically. But it would be the right thing to do. It would be an act of real leadership.”
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