Death threats, vandalism target Tory government after labour bill introduced

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TORONTO — The premier of Ontario received death threats and his labour minister had her constituency office vandalized hours after a sweeping labour reform bill was introduced in the legislature, the Progressive Conservative government said Wednesday.

Government House Leader Todd Smith said the incidents were an attempt to bully and intimidate the government and would not be tolerated.

“What we want is to see…some of these other radical groups acknowledge the fact that a line has been crossed here,” Smith said.

The proposed labour law, introduced Tuesday afternoon, freezes the minimum wage to $14 an hour until 2020 as part of a rollback of labour reforms introduced by the previous Liberal government shortly before the spring election. The measures have been met with strong criticism from anti-poverty activists, union leaders and the opposition parties.

Labour Minister Laurie Scott said her office in Kawartha Lakes, Ont., was broken into and vandalized early Wednesday morning. She said the windows were smashed and the outside wall was spray-painted with a message that read “Attack Workers. We fight back. $15.”

“This is obviously tied in to the piece of legislation that we introduced yesterday,” Scott said.  “I believe in democratic and peaceful protest and debate but we will not tolerate vandalism, intimidation or bullying. … We don’t know who did this, we are just saying everyone should say that that’s not acceptable.”

Scott said local and provincial police are investigating the incident.

Smith said all the groups opposed to the labour reform should distance themselves from the perpetrators of violence.

“What we’re saying is that vandalism, violence and intimidation is not going to be acceptable,” Smith said. “We’d really like to see the NDP and we’d really like to see the union leadership say the same thing.”

Premier Doug Ford also condemned the incident, saying such actions “have no place in our democracy.”

The Canadian Press