Two MLAs from different political parties in British Columbia, Canada, joined forces to combat a man who sent them threatening emails. Selina Robinson, the NDP’s post-secondary education minister, received a message that said, “I will kill you Selina Robinson.” Elenore Sturko, MLA for BC United South Surrey, also received threatening emails and even had an employee at her office threatened with death and sexual violence. The women alerted the RCMP and the B.C. legislature’s protective services. The legislature’s security team was unable to do much besides filter out the emails. The fact that the abuser remained anonymous placed a heavy burden on the MLAs, forcing them to take extra precautions and always be on alert.
The women worked together to ensure that the RCMP in their respective communities were linked and to press police to advance the investigation. The suspect was eventually identified in Abbotsford and was assessed by an officer. The police informed the MLAs that the man appeared to have mental health and cognitive issues and did not seem to be a threat. However, both Robinson and Sturko felt that emotional abuse was still a risk and that the death threats were a crime.
After some frustrations, the MLAs eventually obtained a picture of the suspect and he was subsequently arrested. Robinson felt relieved that the man no longer lived in her area. This incident highlights the need for laws that deter and hold accountable those who misuse the internet. It also emphasizes the importance of ensuring the safety and representation of people, especially women, in public life.
Despite being political opponents, Robinson and Sturko demonstrated unity and support for one another. They believe that, regardless of party or background, all individuals should feel safe representing their communities.
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