‘A disturbing trend’: Protesters condemned for gathering outside Calgary mayor’s home

Despite dozens of protesters showing up outside her home over the weekend, Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek is calling for unity.

Thirty to 40 people gathered outside her house Sunday, speaking out against COVID-19 measures.

Gondek took to Twitter Monday, urging her community to “stand strong together,” adding “one small event does not define us.”

“We have the ability to denounce hate & celebrate all that is good. There is much heavy work to do & we must be steadfast,” she wrote in a tweet, which has been liked thousands of times.

Protests outside the homes of politicians and health officials across Canada is not new, with many having been targeted by anti-vaccine and anti-restriction protestors throughout the pandemic.

“We saw the harassment of (Ontario Premier) Doug Ford at his home, (and) the chief medical officer of Saskatchewan had to get police protection,” said Mount Royal University Political Scientist Duane Bratt.

“Last weekend, we saw a demonstration outside Jason Copping’s house, Alberta’s Health Minister, and last night Jyoti Gondek, the Mayor of Calgary.”

Protesters face backlash online

The latest demonstration outside Gondek’s home was following by a quick response online, with many condemning the protesters’ actions.

“This is very upsetting and never ok,” wrote former Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi of demonstrators targeting Gondek’s home. “Going to officials’ homes and scaring their families also gets you zero sympathy or support for your cause. Just stop.”

“Going to the home of an elected official to intimidate them and their family is wrong,” added Michelle Rempel Garner, Member of Parliament for the Alberta riding of Calgary Nose Hill.

“Things like this – to MLA Allard, now to our Mayor, and others – diminish our democracy. No matter your political stripe this should be intolerable.”


Bratt says despite protesters continuing to target officials, it’s unclear what exactly can be done.

“This is a coordinated pattern of behaviour by a small group of people, and so, I’m not sure if it’s more laws or more enforcement, or what we’re supposed to do with these people,” said Bratt.

“Do we want a situation where our elected officials require 24/7 police protection as they do in the United States? It is a disturbing trend, to say the least.”

Also weighing in on Twitter following Sunday’s demonstration was Alberta NDP leader Rachel Notley, who called the protests unacceptable.

“It is simply wrong to protest outside of a politician’s private home like this, intimidating their family and loved ones,” she said.

“Get a grip! Have an issue? Take it to City Hall or the Legislature Building,” Notley added.

Bratt says people taking their grievances directly to the homes of politicians and officials “shows what has happened to our political culture over the course of COVID.”

“This is not exclusive to COVID but it has greatly magnified it, and I do wonder if it is the same sort of traveling circus going from home to home,” he explained.

Meanwhile, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney also chimed in on Twitter after Gondek’s home was targeted, saying “this is just wrong.”

“There are plenty of opportunities to protest without disturbing the families and neighbours of public officials,” he said, also calling out protesters who continue to liken COVID-19 health measures to the Holocaust. ”

As we move forward, Bratt admits it will be difficult to change some people’s minds.

“I have no doubt that the people in these demonstrations truly believe that they are the victims here, that they’re being treated in just horrible ways, that Gondek is a dictator, Trudeau is a dictator, Kenney is a dictator, and that they need to be removed by force, that’s their belief system, and I don’t know how we change that.”

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