Heightened hate on the hustings: two local candidates speak out about harassment, violence on campaign trail

By Casey Taylor

Two local candidates are speaking out about the rising level of hate being seen on the campaign trail.

“I have noticed a dark turn in some people and their aggressiveness and their hatred, which is not what I've seen in the past,” said Kitchener-Conestoga Liberal candidate, Tim Louis.

Louis claims he was out door-knocking with his wife and daughter when one person got angry and told him to leave. He said they were walking away but the person then started to follow, all while shouting obscenities.

“We have to be able to debate these ideas, we have to be able to bring the best out in each other,” Louis said. “But I've said it before, you can disagree without being disagreeable.”

Louis is not a campaign freshman. He's the Liberal incumbent having won the seat in 2019 and having also run but lost in the 2015 election. But he says this time around, things are starting to get out of control.

“The hatred and the violence that I've seen recently in this election has really escalated and it's disturbing,” he said. “I want to call it out, we need to stop this before it gets any worse.”

Meantime, the vitriol isn't isolated to one party. 

In a statement, Kitchener South-Hespeler Conservative candidate Tyler Calver said someone volunteering with his campaign was assaulted Wednesday at his campaign office.

“Volunteers and their safety is an integral part of all campaigns and remains my top priority,” the statement reads. “Violence has no place in the democratic process.”

Waterloo Regional Police confirmed they are investigating after officers were called to the area of 1450 Block Line Road in Kitchener following reports of '”a disturbance between two males” – which they said took place near Calver's campaign office.

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