Saskatchewan NDP says disturbing letter about female candidate reported to police

The Saskatchewan NDP says a threatening letter directed at one of its female candidates running in a rural constituency has been reported to RCMP.

Party president Linda Osachoff says that over the Thanksgiving long weekend an anonymous note about Stacey Strykowski was posted to a public bulletin board in Preeceville.

Strykowski, a Preeceville town councillor, is running in the Saskatchewan Party-held constituency of Canora-Pelly, located in the southeast, in the Oct. 26 provincial election.

Osachoff, who is also the president of the Canora-Pelly NDP Association, declined to say what the letter specifically said so as not to interfere with any investigation.

She characterized the note as a personal and political attack on Strykowski.

She also said it included a threat, but not against Strykowski’s life.

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“Any kind of bullying or harassment or threat is completely unacceptable,” Osachoff said in a phone interview Wednesday.

“Because I’m a woman and I myself have run in campaigns before, I think that it can be particularly disturbing for a woman.”

RCMP have not confirmed the complaint or whether there is an investigation.

NDP Leader Ryan Meili and Strykowski declined to comment.

“People in Saskatchewan know that threats of violence have no place in our politics or in our province — especially at a time when there is a real desire to see more women running for and holding office,” the party said in a statement to The Canadian Press.

“We are providing as much information as we can to law enforcement and will co-operate fully with any investigation that takes place. As troubling as this incident is, our campaign will not be deterred.”

Osachoff said there are also allegations of mischief at the party’s campaign office in Canora. She said the landlord observed some spit on windows and BB pellets fired into the front door.

As a result of recent events, the campaign team is taking some extra precautions, including making sure Strykowski is not alone when she’s out campaigning.

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“It’s regrettable, but we’re doing that,” Osachoff said.

In her many decades of working with the NDP, she said she’s never come across a similar incident in a rural area.

“I want to give a shout-out to all the empowered women who have put themselves forward for public service.

“Women will prevail, will not be weakened or frightened by these sorts of occurrences.”

© 2020 The Canadian Press