Supporters at a Conservative Party rally in Richmond Hill, ON chanted “Lock him up! Lock him up! Lock him up!” after Conservative leader Andrew Scheer began talking about the Liberal Party and corruption.
“When we form government, I will hold a judicial inquiry into his scandal to get to the bottom of what he’s done,” said Scheer, referring to Liberal leader Justin Trudeau and the SNC-Lavalin affair.
The crowd started chanting “Lock him up!”
Realizing what was happening, Scheer began to change the chant to “Vote him out!”
“Well well let’s – we’re going to the get to the bottom of this scandal, we’re going to vote him out,” Scheer said. “Vote him out! Vote him out!”
The crowd appeared to pick up the revised chant.
Some Conservative supporters in the room later told a Global National reporter that hearing the ‘Lock him up!’ chant made them feel uncomfortable.
The Conservative campaign told Global News that the Richmond Hill rally was the largest rally they’ve had so far in the campaign, with more than 2,000 people. Global News could not independently verify that estimate.
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Scheer’s campaign has long focused on accusing Liberal leader Justin Trudeau of ethical lapses. Earlier this week, on Wednesday, Scheer vowed to impose massive fines on politicians who break Canada’s ethics laws.
The words from Saturday night’s Conservative rally are reminiscent of the “Lock her up!” chants that U.S. President Donald Trump supporters aimed at Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential election, when Trump accused Clinton of destroying emails in a congressional probe.
In December 2016, a “lock her up” chant was also directed at Alberta Premier Rachel Notley. At the time, several provincial and federal politicians denounced the chant as inappropriate.
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Recent polls have placed the Conservatives and Liberals in a close race.
In response to a media request by Global News about the chant at Scheer’s rally, Liberal campaign spokesperson Zita Astravas said: “We are staying focused on electing a government that will make life more affordable, fight climate change, get guns off our streets and stop Conservative cuts.”
When asked about the “lock him up” chant and its resemblance to the “lock her up” line that Trump supporters have chanted at Clinton, Scheer’s press secretary said in an email: “Mr. Scheer recognized the chant from a small number of attendees was inappropriate and quickly directed the crowd to chant ‘vote him out.’”
— With files by Mike Le Couteur, The Canadian Press
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