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Rivals rally round after Trudeau wears bulletproof vest in response to threat

The prime minister’s political rivals have rushed to his side after he appeared in a bulletproof vest during a rally in Ontario.

Justin Trudeau donned the protective gear at an election rally attended by about 2,000 people west of Toronto on Saturday.

It was in response to an unspecified threat.

He was also flanked by large numbers of security personnel.

Conservative Party leader Andrew Scheer said last night that it was “very upsetting” to hear about the precautions taken by the prime minister.

“Threats of violence against political leaders have absolutely no place in our democracy,” Scheer added.

“Thank you to the RCMP for taking these threats seriously and keeping us safe.”

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh also expressed his concern.

He said: “Any threat made against Justin Trudeau, or any leader, is troubling to all of us.

“No matter how you vote or believe, no one should face threats of violence. To the officers who protect all of us – thank you.”

Liberal officials would not reveal the nature of the threat, which resulted in a 90-minute delay before the incumbent prime minister appeared before the roughly 2,000 party supporters who had turned out to a convention near Pearson airport as the election campaign enters its final week.

The armoured vest was not readily apparent as Trudeau delivered a 25-minute speech, in which the Liberal leader lashed out at the Conservatives for promising cuts to government spending before urging progressive voters against casting their ballots for the NDP.

But sources later confirmed to The Canadian Press that Trudeau, who wore a suit jacket during the rally rather than his usual rolled-up sleeves and loosened tie, was wearing a vest, which was noticeable in photos taken at the event.

Trudeau’s extra security detail was obvious as the Liberal leader was escorted through the boisterous crowd by a large number of plainclothes RCMP officers as well as Mounties dressed in green tactical gear.

The police officers made a point of standing on the stage surveying the crowd while Trudeau spoke and remained close by his side after his speech as the Liberal leader shook hands with members of the crowd before leaving the room.

Prepared remarks had indicated that Trudeau’s wife, Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, was to introduce the Liberal leader. She did not appear or take the stage during the rally.

In his Thanksgiving statement today, Trudeau wrote that “life can be hectic for all of us.”

He added: "Thanksgiving is a chance to say thank you to the people who make a difference – whether it’s the service members who keep us safe, or our neighbour a few doors down who keeps the driveways plowed.”

– With files from the Canadian Press

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