Drew Dilkens faced an alleged threat of “murder” in the wake of last week’s election victory, the mayor announced Sunday.
In a taped interview with TVO presenter Steve Paikin, which will air later this month, Dilkens said his family was woken up by police outside the family’s home last Tuesday after a person allegedly threatened him at a polling station.
“If someone goes to a polling station, like this week on Election Day and said, ‘If Drew Dilkens gets re-elected,’ they’ll come and kill me, that’s worrying,” Dilkens told Paikin during TVO’s taping. Today Live at Art Windsor Essex.
“My wife walks out on Tuesday morning and says ‘why are the police here?’ ‘ added Dickens. “So now I’m figuring out why the police are at my house and that’s what I’ve come to find out.”
That should be worrying for all of us
Through a spokesperson, Dilkens declined to comment further on the incident on Monday.
But a Windsor man has been banned from Windsor City Hall as a result of a threat made Oct. 24, according to a letter written by the city attorney obtained by the Windsor Star.
It is not the first time that security has increased around the city hall and the mayor this year, including during the blockade of the Ambassador Bridge in February, the spokesman said.
During the art gallery discussion, Dilkens said he has noticed an increase in this type of threatening behavior over the past four years, more than at any time in the city’s history.
“That should be a concern for all of us,” he said. “Whether you’re a local official, state, national, it doesn’t matter, we’re here to do the right thing.
“We may not always agree with each other’s views, but I think we have a responsibility to have a civil discussion and see if there is a way to determine the way forward together.”
Windsor police declined to confirm Monday whether they are investigating a threat against the mayor.
The segment was for a TVO Today special on toxicity in politics hosted by Paikin and attended by Michigan State Senator Stephanie Chang, former United States Ambassador to Canada Bruce Heyman, former Mayor of Calgary Naheed Nenshi, political commentator and author Tasha Kheiriddin and Calgary Nose Hill Member of Parliament Michelle Rempel Garner.
Heyman, the former United States ambassador to Canada, said he believed toxicity in politics is not a new problem, but it has become more apparent recently.
“It’s been here a long time,” Heyman said. “The problem is – like an iceberg that you may only be sticking out a little bit, when you think it’s not that big – a lot of things have happened beneath the surface.
“I think today with social media and the way people communicate, the look is much bigger because a lot has risen above the waterline.”
Heyman pointed to Dilkens’s experience, as well as the recent attack on Paul, the husband of Speaker of the United States House, Nancy Pelosi, and the January 6 uprising in Washington, as notable examples of “vitriol and hatred.”
The panelists also discussed the Freedom Convoy’s blockades in February in Ottawa and Windsor — where the Ambassador Bridge was shut down for nearly a week.
“I don’t know what is or isn’t true, but there is a perception that Canadians are not as extremist or divided as America is,” said Chang, the Democratic Michigan senator. “From an American perspective, we were quite shocked to see everything, and that it went on for so long, both here in Windsor and in Ottawa.”
Dilkens said the ‘tenor’ on the streets of Windsor alarmed him during the Ambassador Bridge blockade – but he believes most did not support him.
“No doubt there was some support on the ground, some were mortified by the rules and some people who were just anti-government joining them,” Dilkens said.
“Every day of the calendar that turned when that bridge closed, I knew there were many people, thousands upon thousands in my community, whose jobs were at stake. There were a lot of concerns based on the tenor and temperature on the street, but also the economic security in our community.”
The TVO Today special on toxicity in politics, filmed in Windsor, will air Nov. 17 at 9 p.m.