RCMP pay visit to Barry Epstein at his home
KAGAWONG—Despite his criticism of the Fair Elections Act, Kagawong resident Barry Epstein said he did not threaten Democratic Reform Minister Pierre Poilievre.
“Absolutely, there’s not much beyond the article that was printed in the Globe and Mail,” stated Mr. Epstein in an interview with the Recorder last week. He explained, “I have been writing to the minister on a regular basis to outline my outrage at what is going on in my beloved country.”
“The last letter I sent to the minister by email on April 9 was probably the angriest letter I’ve ever written—I blew my top,” acknowledged Mr. Epstein. He said he was upset because he heard, “Mr. Poilievre standing up in a measured monotone voice stating that he is right and everyone else is wrong on the Fair Elections Act. I dashed a letter out to him in strong language and tone that I was looking forward to having him in front of a microphone at a political debate to explain his side of the Act, but there was nothing (physically) ‘threatening’ in its tone.”
The Globe and Mail reported in its April 15 edition that the RCMP has been conducting an investigation into a threatening letter sent anonymously to the home of Mr. Poilievre that has led them to question at least one other letter-writer (Mr. Epstein) who wrote and signed his own letter criticizing the bill.
The Globe and Mail reported that Mr. Epstein was visited on April 11 by RCMP after writing an April 9 email to Mr. Poilievre about the bill. The email is very harshly worded, more than any he’d written before, Mr. Epstein says, and challenges Mr. Poilievre to come to an all-candidates meeting before next year’s election.
“I look forward to lining up at the microphone and telling you in person what kind of a pathetic excuse for a human being you really are. Canadians are on to you now. Your day in the sun is coming to an end,” wrote Mr. Epstein, signing “yours angrily” with his name and address.
[pullquote]“I look forward to lining up at the microphone and telling you in person what kind of a pathetic excuse for a human being you really are. Canadians are on to you now. Your day in the sun is coming to an end,” wrote Mr. Epstein, signing “yours angrily” with his name and address.[/pullquote]
Mr. Epstein told the Recorder, as he did to the Globe, that the RCMP visited him about his email and interviewed him, saying they were following up on another letter, sent anonymously by mail and around the same time, with death threats to Mr. Poilievere. According to Mr. Epstein, police told him that he and three other letter writers from the same Sudbury region were being questioned. He wasn’t arrested and doesn’t believe he’s suspected of any wrongdoing.
The RCMP didn’t confirm or deny any investigation. A spokeswoman for the minister declined to comment, reported the Globe, calling it a security matter, as did the prime minister’s office.
Mr. Epstein said he was fingerprinted by police, only after consenting, who said they had pulled fingerprints from the envelope sent to Mr. Poilievre. He told the Globe it wasn’t an unpleasant or intrusive experience, and the officers were very professional. He didn’t feel he was under threat or pressure.
“I was told Mr. Poilievre has received death threats and the RCMP is investigating. My email letter arrived at about the same time as three from Sudbury. After their talk with me the RCMP officers drove to Sudbury.”
“They asked for fingerprints from me because there had been fingerprints on the snail mail. We talked some more, and the officers were very polite and professional. Not that threatening at all.”
“There was certainly nothing in my letter threatening bodily harm,” said Mr. Epstein. “I thought it would be a good opportunity to make Canada aware of what the strong feelings of some of us are in Canada about what Mr. Poilievre is doing with our country. I even notified the three major newspapers in Toronto and the Globe and Mail interviewed me.”
“I have never seen a government as underhanded and dismissive of public opinion, despite the magistrative rights and opinions of Canadians,” said Mr. Epstein.
“After the article came out on Tuesday, a stranger called me and congratulated me on keeping up the good fight,” said Mr. Epstein. “And there were over 200 comments made about the article, with 95 percent plus of those responses being favourable.”
“No, I have absolutely no intention of doing any type of personal harm to the minister,” added Mr. Epstein. “I have very strong feelings about the bill, that it’s a threat to our democracy and our rights to vote freely in this country.”