WINNIPEG – An anonymous threatening phone call was the last straw for one Manitoba MLA.
Nahanni Fontaine of St. Johns is fed up with all the threats she and other women in politics are receiving.
Fontaine got the call Thursday, telling her to watch what she says in the Legislature.
She says that people in public office should not have to deal with this.
“My mind literally can’t wrap around how disrespectful and mean people can be to other people. It seems to be this free-for-all that individuals think that they can level all kinds of abuses against elected officials. I just don’t know where that comes from.”
Fontaine says she started receiving threats verbally, over the phone and online since the day she received the NDP nomination earlier this year. Now, she’s putting her foot down.
“I’m not going to take that. I will not just sit back and let you verbally attack me, physically attack me. I’m not here to do that. I’m here to do a job. I’m here to represent the good and amazing people of St. Johns and I will do that.”
She acknowledges that men can be threatened too, but adds that the intimidation of women in politics is more common and dangerous. She points out that threats against women are more likely to actually get carried out, pointing to the murder last week of British MP Jo Cox as an example.
“I don’t know what gives people the right to think that you can espouse and verbally attack and in some cases physically attack women in public service.”
Fontaine says these threats can further scare off other women from pursuing political careers.