Vancouver mayor says he and his wife were harassed while shopping in Yaletown

The mayor of Vancouver says police are investigating harassment against him and his wife after the pair was reportedly approached in a store over the weekend.

Mayor Kennedy Stewart released a statement about the incident on Monday, saying they were shopping in Yaletown on Saturday.

"A white male in his late 40s or early 50s who was shopping in the store approached us and began to verbally harass me," Stewart said in his statement.

"He then moved to target Jeanette with his verbal abuse and to disparage people living without homes. His attitude became increasingly aggressive and he initiated physical contact with me."

Stewart said he asked the man to leave them alone "repeatedly."

"I told him three times that if he did not leave us alone and respect our personal space, I would call the police," the mayor's statement said.

"When he continued and challenged me to step outside, I called the police and described the incident."

Officers arrived and took statements. Stewart said police told him the man would be given a warning and "possible charges would be considered."

It's the second time this month a Metro Vancouver mayor has claimed they've experienced aggressive behaviour from the public. About two weeks ago, Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum said he was grocery shopping one weekend when he was reportedly "verbally assaulted" and hit by a car. 

Stewart said there has been an "increase in this kind of aggressive behaviour directed at public officials."

"Where I fully respect people’s right to express different viewpoints, resorting to harassment or violence is unacceptable," he said.

With files from The Canadian Press