Opinion: Canadians are supposed to be better than this. Right now, we're not

Enough is enough.

We are appalled at news that West Vancouver’s mayor and council were targeted with death threats spray-painted on a developer’s signboard.

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While appearing to be a political statement of sorts, there’s no way to know exactly what the motivation was for the threat.

What we do know is that it’s extremely unnerving.

Whether or not we agree with a person’s politics, most people who seek local public office do so in the hopes of improving their communities. They shouldn’t have to wonder if they are safe from harm because someone doesn’t like the way they voted.

Just look at what happened in Maple Ridge, where former-mayor Nicole Read had to go into hiding after threats – leading her to not run again in 2018.

These incidents present a new low in public discourse that was already in an ungracious freefall. Some people, utterly convinced of their own righteousness, seem to now feel completely unencumbered by common decency.

On social media, people hiding behind anonymous accounts hurl personal insults, libelous statements and conspiracy theories.

We doubt that those who have publicly disagreed with a city council have anything to do with the spray-painted threats. But when you create a climate where nasty personal attacks are OK, there will always be someone who decides to take it further.

We’ll remind everyone who has been on the losing side of a political struggle that even when you do not get your way, the world does not end.

Governments come and they go.

Surely no grievance justifies this petty and cowardly display.

All this does is muddy the waters, making sure the next person considering putting their name forward for public office thinks about staying home instead.

It’s in this deteriorating political climate that we enter what is going to be an ugly federal election campaign.

We got a brief look at it in the riding of Burnaby South, when some people tried to hijack an all-candidates’ meeting by hurling racist comments - derailing what should have been a chance to hear candidates discuss policy. Federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh showed true leadership in his handling of the chaos.

That was just a bitter taste of what is happening now on a larger scale and what is going to only get worse as the campaign continues. Things will intensify as the election date gets closer.

Dark forces are attempting to poison the political landscape with anonymous attacks and fear-mongering about such topics as immigration.

People need to continue calling out this behaviour and work towards lowering the temperature on the political scene.

This is Canada. We are supposed to be better than this. Right now, we aren’t and that’s a national disgrace.

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