The RCMP says it is reviewing a complaint from federal Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre concerning a video in which two men joke about sexually assaulting his wife.
In a social-media posting on Monday, Mr. Poilievre called the pair “dirtbags” and indicated that his office had referred the matter to the Mounties.
In a statement later in the day, the National Division of the RCMP said it was reviewing the information provided, but would not be in a position to elaborate on the situation unless criminal charges are laid.
Mr. Poilievre was responding to comments made in a livestream that appeared on social media on the weekend. In it, Jeremy MacKenzie, founder of far-right group Diagolon, a former Canadian Forces soldier and an Afghan war veteran, said he wanted to sexually assault Anaida Poilievre; another man laughs in response.
Diagolon has been designated as a violent extremist group by the Integrated Terrorism Assessment Centre, a federal organization that assesses terrorism threats to Canada and Canadian interests globally.
The threat against Ms. Poilievre was the latest in a string of incidents that have raised questions about the security of high-profile figures, including Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland and NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, who have had to deal with aggressive protests while in public. Two events featuring Prime Minister Justin Trudeau have been cancelled in recent months because of security concerns.
“This weekend, I became aware of disgusting comments made by Jeremy MacKenzie and another man, where they discuss sexually assaulting my wife. These men are dirtbags,” Mr. Poilievre wrote in a tweet.
“Frankly, like most Canadians, until about a month ago, I had never heard of Diagolon & these losers. They are all odious.”
Mr. Poilievre faced criticism last month after the circulation of an image of him shaking hands with Mr. MacKenzie. In response, Mr. Polievre’s campaign team said in a statement to Global News that the then-candidate shakes hands with tens of thousands of people at public rallies, and it is impossible to do a background check on every single person who attends those gatherings.
On Monday, the Prime Minister said the conduct on the video was inappropriate.
“No one should ever be subject to threats of violence or the kind of hatred that we have seen increasingly in public discourse and in the public sphere,” Mr. Trudeau said when asked about the matter at a news conference. “It’s important that we all stand up and condemn that and we all look for ways to ensure that everyone feels safe in the country.”
Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino said the language in the video was “horrific” and misogynistic, and all parliamentarians should be united in denouncing it. “It shouldn’t matter whether or not you’re a member of the Liberal Party or the Conservative Party or any other party, for that matter,” he told journalists on Parliament Hill.
The minister has said that the government is reviewing new safety protocols for cabinet ministers and other members of Parliament in light of a pattern of threats. He has also expressed concerns about online harassment of journalists.
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said no one should be threatened with sexual violence, whether journalists, politicians or anyone’s family. “The rise of violent extremism in Canada should be a concern for all leaders. If there is a political will, we can do something to stop it,” he tweeted.
Former federal cabinet minister Catherine McKenna, who required police protection after being targeted by misogynistic threats when she was in government, said she was glad Mr. Poilievre called out the “absolutely revolting” comments, but it’s time for action to protect politicians.
Ms. McKenna said the situation may be a reminder that politicians need to be careful about who they associate with, citing the time Mr. Poilievre was seen shaking Mr. MacKenzie’s hand at a leadership campaign event.
She said the Conservative Leader, in the past, has not been forceful or quick in calling out such harassment when it happens to others.
Ms. McKenna said she was concerned about incidents like this deterring people from entering politics. “You’d almost be bonkers if you see things like this to want to go into politics. … We need good people to step up and we need diversity. It looks like Mr. Poilievre’s wife was attacked because she is Venezuelan and a woman, and that’s the kind of thing we’ve seen people think is fair game. That’s not OK.”
In recent months, several Canadian politicians have faced increased levels of harassment.
In August, Ms. Freeland was verbally harassed in Grande Prairie, Alta., as she was entering city hall to meet with the mayor. When she arrived in the lobby, a man approached her and launched into an expletive-filled rant, at one point calling her a traitor who should leave the province. RCMP have said they are investigating the incident.
After the situation with Ms. Freeland, Mr. Poilievre spoke about threats against his wife.
“My wife has received so much horrific material directly to her social-media account that we have had to hire a private security firm to protect our family against all of that abuse,” he said during a campaign stop on Vancouver Island.