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Sudbury, Ont., councillor speaks out after man charged with criminally harassing her

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An 81-year-old man has been charged with criminal harassment of a city councillor in Sudbury.

However, a news release from Greater Sudbury police Wednesday doesn't identify the suspect or the councillor involved in the case.

“The information has not been sworn to through the court process, therefore the individual’s name cannot be released,” police spokesperson Kaitlyn Dunn said in an email.

“To protect the individual’s privacy, the councillor’s name will not be released.”

However, Ward 7 Coun. Natalie Labbée confirmed to CTV News Northern Ontario that she is the councillor in the case.

Labbée told CTV in a message that she’s speaking out because it’s important for the public to be aware of the “level of harassment” she has faced.

“There's an expectation that we should expect some level of scrutiny and criticism from the public on our decisions, but it should never cross the line where our personal lives are compromised,” she said in the message.

“Sending some emails every once in a while, is reasonable, but sending hundreds over a period of time, mentioning our address, the vehicle we drive, sharing snipped pictures of us across your blind carbon copy list (that includes all levels of government and media), should never be tolerated.”

Labbée said she has endured “hateful and racist” emails from the person in the case, who has tracked her on social media and shared personal information about her.

“Nowhere in the Municipal Act does it say that we are supposed to be verbal and social media punching bags,” she said.

“We all deserve to live in peace and security and it doesn't feel safe when you know someone is obsessed with you, tracking your whereabouts to find ways to share racist and hateful emails, and going as far as having others help them so they can further disparage you and discredit you as a person and with your career.”

Ward 7 Coun. Natalie Labbée confirmed to CTV News Northern Ontario that she is the councillor in the criminal harassment case. Labbée told CTV in a message that she’s speaking out because it’s important for the public to be aware of the 'level of harassment' she has faced. May 22, 2024. (Alana Everson/CTV News Northern Ontario)

Labbée said the alarming behaviour was escalating by the week and she worried where it would end.

Felt uneasy and targeted

“It would make anyone feel uneasy and targeted,” she said.

“People who get to that state are unpredictable with their behaviours and when it results in us changing our behaviours and having to watch over our shoulder all the time when we leave our own homes, that's when it goes too far.”

The police began the investigation May 16 after receiving a complaint from the politician.

“The harassment of the councillor began in 2022 and has continued throughout 2023 and 2024, escalating from harassing communication to attending and harassing the councillor at their residence causing the councillor to fear for their safety,” the police news release said.

On May 21, the suspect was charged with criminal harassment. He was released on an undertaking with a court date of June 19.

Labbée said enough is enough.

“I just need it to stop and let people know it's not OK,” she said.

“I am strong and I am not going anywhere.”  

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