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Canada Saskatchewan man charged with threatening Harper

A Saskatchewan man is accused of uttering threats against Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Premier Brad Wall and Elwin Hermanson, chief commissioner of the Canadian Grain Commission.

RCMP say the threats were made by phone starting last June and the most recent call took place on Feb. 14. There was no direct contact between the accused and any of the alleged victims, police said in a news release.

The Saskatchewan government said it has responded by boosting security around the premier during public appearances and for all members of government at the legislature.

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"We did take some additional measures, I would say more in the area of just sort of heightened awareness. I'm not going to get into a lot of specifics as to what measures were taken for obvious reasons," Reg Downs, senior adviser to the premier, said Thursday.

The provincial government will likely conduct a review in the coming days to see if other changes are needed, he said.

Saskatchewan is one of the few provinces where the premier doesn't have a permanent security detail that travels with him. Former NDP premier Lorne Calvert used to take pride in being able to slip out to the hardware store by himself or with his wife, Betty.

Mr. Downs said there's never been heavy security surrounding Saskatchewan's premier and he'd like to keep it that way.

"I still hope even today there is no reason to change it because I just think it's better if our premier and our elected leaders are accessible to the people they serve," said Mr. Downs.

"The vast, vast majority of Saskatchewan people are very gracious to the premier and to the other ministers and other MLAs - even when they disagree with them. I realize that it just takes one individual to cause some trouble and you've got to watch for that, but I mean really it's a great thing about Saskatchewan (residents) that they do treat our politicians and our leaders very well."

The government would not comment directly on the case. The RCMP said no other details will be released because the matter is before the courts.

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Donald Lorenz, 68, appeared in provincial court on Wednesday and was remanded in custody. Mr. Lorenz, who is from the village of Allan, about 60 kilometres southeast of Saskatoon, is expected back in court on Monday.





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