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Ottawa’s top public servant warns that divisive politics could ‘lead to assassination’

Ottawa’s top public servant warns that divisive politics could ‘lead to assassination’
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OTTAWA—Canada’s top public servant says he is worried someone will be assassinated during the coming federal election campaign given the disturbing tenor of recent public discussion.

Privy Council Clerk Michael Wernick told the House of Commons justice committee Thursday he is deeply concerned about Canada’s politics and where things are headed.

Wernick appeared at the committee to address the SNC-Lavalin controversy dogging the Liberal government, but he prefaced his testimony by voicing grave reservations about the overall state of public political dialogue leading up to the October election.

“I worry about the rising tide of incitements to violence when people use terms like ‘treason’ and ‘traitor’ in open discourse. Those are the words that lead to assassination,” Wernick told the MPs.

“I’m worried that somebody’s going to be shot in this country this year during the political campaign,” he said.

Wernick lamented the reputations of honourable people who have served their country “being besmirched and dragged through the market square.”

He also expressed dismay about what he called the trolling from the vomitorium of social media entering the open media arena.

“Most of all I worry about people losing faith in the institutions of governance of this country, and that’s why these proceedings are so important.”
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