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Hate crimes unit investigating vandalism at Toronto MP's office

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Toronto police say the Hate Crimes Unit is investigating vandalism at the constituency office of a Toronto Member of Parliament.

Davenport MP Julie Dzerowicz’s Bloor Street West office was covered in red paint this week and a sign posted outside her window read, “Arms Embargo Now. Julie! End the Canada-Israel Arms Trade.”

Speaking to reporters in Ottawa on Wednesday, Dzerowicz said the incident occurred at around 1 a.m. on Tuesday. She said the suspects, who were dressed in black, wrote the words “Rafah is burning, Toronto will too” on the building.

“It awful that this is happening,” she told reporters on Wednesday.

“I think the public needs to know, vandalism is illegal. It is illegal. Peaceful protest is okay, vandalism is illegal.”

The Liberal MP was first elected to the riding in 2015 and is the Chair of the Canada-NATO Parliamentary Association and also serves on the House of Commons Parliamentary Finance Committee.

In a further statement released by her office Wednesday, Dzerowicz called the graffiti "particularly troublesome and threatening language that impacts the sense of safety in my office and how we serve the residents of Davenport" and said dialogue is key.

"I understand that tensions are high as the circumstances in Gaza in the ongoing Israel-Hamas war are very difficult and challenging. Like many Canadians I am also struggling with the ongoing attacks and the tragic human toll. It is a complex, dynamic, and highly charged situation," she wrote. "But to move forward in finding how Canada can best support a path to peace we have to be able to talk to each other–especially when we might disagree on how best to move forward."

She referenced a recent incident that saw gunmen open fire on a Jewish girls' school in Toronto. Nobody was injured in the incident. Nobody has been charged so far, but the hate crimes unit is supporting the investigation.   

"In a democracy, protests can be messy and even ugly, but they are a critical right," Dzerowicz said in her statement. "However, that right does not include threats, hate speech, or vandalism. When that happens, it is important that we all take action to ensure that things do not escalate into more dangerous situations like the shooting at the Bais Chaya Mushka School for Girls in North York on May 26."

She clarified that she does not think the vandalism at her office was hate speech, but it was threatening.  

Toronto police have not released any details about possible suspects so far.

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