Justin Trudeau declares ‘no place for hate’ in Canada after gay mayor’s home targeted by homophobes

Emma Powys Maurice
·2-min read

Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau said he is “appalled” by a homophobic slur painted outside the mayor of Ottawa’s home.

On Sunday (21 March) the words “F**k you, fag” were spray painted on the road outside the home of Ottawa mayor Jim Watson, who came out as gay in August 2019.

Tweeting the following day, Trudeau declared that there is no place for this kind of “ignorance and inexcusable hate” in Canada.

“I’m appalled by the news that homophobic graffiti was written outside mayor Jim Watson’s home,” he wrote.

“There is no place for this ignorant and inexcusable hate in this city – or anywhere in our country. Jim, know that Canadians across the country are standing with you.”

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The hateful message appeared the day after Watson became the city’s longest-serving mayor. His counterpart in Montreal, mayor Valérie Plante, also offered her support.

“Following this appalling news, I would like to remind you that this type of hateful act is not and will never be tolerated in our society,” she tweeted.

While many Canadian news outlets opted not to print the slur, Watson’s press secretary reported the language in full in a public statement.

“The mayor is disappointed that someone would spend any time and effort to attack someone’s sexual orientation and deface public property,” he said.

“He is grateful for his neighbour’s vigilance and the quick response by the [Ottawa Police Service] as well as the City’s works department, who arrived to clean up mid-afternoon.”

Ottawa police Chief Peter Sloly confirmed that the police has engaged its hate crimes unit to investigate the graffiti, which has now been power-washed off the road.

“Our service has no tolerance for hate crimes of any kind,” he tweeted. “Our hate crimes unit has been engaged and this act, and all acts of hate, will be fully investigated.”