NL Premier Resumes Campaign After Man With Knives Arrested Outside Election Office

NL Premier Resumes Campaign After Man With Knives Arrested Outside Election Office
Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Andrew Furey at a press conference in the lobby of the Confederation Building in St. John’s, Canada, on Jan. 15, 2021. (Paul Daly/The Canadian Press)
Isaac Teo

Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Andrew Furey resumed the campaign trail Wednesday after a man driving a truck with a “large quantity of various knives” was arrested outside his office building following a police chase.

The Liberal leader was in Newfoundland's Great Northern Peninsula on Wednesday to resume his campaign as his team recovers from the shock of the possible attack likely targeting the premier.

“This is a traumatic incident, for everyone working and volunteering in Newfoundland and Labrador’s election," Furey's campaign said in a statement on Jan. 26. “We have been advised this incident was likely targeted towards Premier Furey.”
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) said they were notified Tuesday morning of a man behaving unusually, talking about firearms and headed to Deer Lake, a town in western Newfoundland, to stop the election that would take place on Feb. 13. Deer Lake is in the Humber-Gros Morne electoral district where Furey runs his campaign, though premier spokeswoman Meghan McCabe confirmed the premier wasn’t present at the time of the incident.

The police said once they located the man in his truck on Route 430, north of Cormack, they tried to stop him. But he sped off, and drove dangerously fast toward Deer Lake. A high-speed pursuit ensued as the man drove through the community and finally stopped in a parking lot at a local business, which contained the office of a current political candidate, said the police.

“The man was removed from the vehicle and was arrested in the parking lot. Officers located and seized a large quantity of various knives inside the vehicle,” the RCMP said in a statement. “The truck was seized and impounded.”

Police said there is no concern for public safety. As for Furey’s team, they said they were “connecting with the leadership of the other political parties and connecting with team members on the ground in Deer Lake to offer support.”

Following the incident, Newfoundland and Labrador NDP Leader Alison Coffin extended her best wishes to Furey and his team, calling the incident “very troubling” and that “violence or threats of violence have no place in our province.”

The police said the investigation is ongoing, and they anticipate that the suspect “will be charged with a number of criminal and traffic offences."