Armed Canadian soldier drives truck through PM Trudeau’s gates

Trudeau addresses Canadians on the Covid-19 pandemic from his residence in Ottawa in March. (AP pic)

OTTAWA: An armed member of the Canadian military drove a truck through gates protecting an exclusive part of Ottawa where Prime Minister Justin Trudeau lives on Thursday but was quickly arrested, police said.

Trudeau was not home at the time. He and his family are based in a large house on the grounds of Rideau Hall, the residence of Governor General Julie Payette, the official representative of head of state Queen Elizabeth. Rideau Hall sits on a 0.35sq km wooded estate.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) said the man’s truck broke down after he smashed it through two gates at 6.30am.

“The armed suspect then proceeded on foot on the grounds of Rideau Hall … where he was rapidly contained by RCMP members who were on patrol,” it said in a statement.

“(He) was apprehended shortly before 8.30am without any incident and he was brought into police custody for questioning,” it added, saying charges were pending.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corp cited a source as saying the man had driven his truck from the central province of Manitoba, some 2,000km east of Ottawa.

Trudeau, 48, who is married with three children, also has access to a summer house about 35km northwest of Ottawa. Payette was not at Rideau Hall when the incident occurred, police said.

Unlike the US, where four presidents have been assassinated since 1865, there is little history of serious violence targeting officials in Canada.

The one exception was in 1970, when a radical group seeking independence for Quebec kidnapped the Canadian province’s deputy premier and later killed him.

Trudeau donned a bulletproof vest for an election campaign rally in October last year after officials detected a security threat.