Calgary Liberal candidate says volunteers were spat on, struck while door knocking

Calgary Centre Liberal candidate Sabrina Grover.

The Liberal candidate running in the riding of Calgary Centre says she is "really mad" but "not entirely shocked" after two of her volunteers were spat on and hit with brochures after they dropped literature at an apartment building.

Sabrina Grover says two male volunteers — including one who was working on a campaign for the first time — were leaving the building after dropping campaign materials and knocking on doors when they were accosted.

"I think that we are in a time right now where increasing polarization has made people react this way. There's a violent but hateful minority out there of people, and that is resulting, for the first time on our campaign, in a physical attack," she said.

"I’m really mad and I'm angry this would ever happen to volunteers who are out there just trying to do the best they can to build a better community, to build a better Calgary, but at the end of the day I'm not entirely shocked because I've seen this vitriol increasing on social media. We've had other folks yell at us at the doors, and I'm upset my volunteers ever experienced this."

Calgary police confirm a report was made Tuesday afternoon and they are now investigating.

One of the volunteers posted a description of the attack on social media. Robert Tremblay said a man ran down a stairwell as they were leaving, and confronted them. After some verbal back and forth, Tremblay said the man hit some literature out of his hand and knocked a pin off his shirt.

Well just had probably the worst experience I've had doorknocking while out campaigning for @sabrinagrover and the @liberals. (1/11)

— Robert Tremblay (@RobTPublic) September 7, 2021

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau also had gravel thrown at him in a tense encounter with protesters in London, Ont. on Monday.

Trudeau told reporters Tuesday he felt the gravel hit him but was not hurt, and he will leave it to the police to determine what should happen as a result of the incident. The stones not only struck Trudeau but also some members of his RCMP protective detail and journalists covering the campaign.

"It's not just what happened (Monday), it's what's happened in previous campaigns. It happened in 2019, we had to pull the prime minister off a campaign event," said Grover.

"We've seen this anger and this vitriol manifesting itself now in physical violence and an increasingly threatening and angry way. I think it's hard not to draw comparisons to what's happening at local levels and campaigns across this country. We've seen anti-Semitism, we've seen anger toward racialized people."

Grover added her campaign team will continue to door knock.

The federal election is set for Sept. 20.