Politicians make enemies all the time, it’s an occupational hazard. Whether it’s the legislation they introduce or the controversial things they say and do, it’s simply unavoidable. But in a democratic society that values the rule of law, being a politician should not be inherently dangerous. So why does it seem like it is here in Canada?While Canadian politicians at both the provincial and federal level have to face the occasional protesters, they’re usually able to leave their event venues or places of work relatively easy. Yet that wasn’t the case Tuesday night when more than 100 police officers were required for Prime Minster Trudeau to safely leave a restaurant at which he had been dining.The restaurant, located in Vancouver BC, was surrounded by a rioting pro-Hamas mob, chanting for a cease fire in Palestine. Two people were arrested and one officer was injured and taken to hospital while trying to disperse the crowd.Crowds are volatile and unpredictable and it is very good news that local law enforcement and the PM’s protection detail were able to safely extract the Prime Minister — but now what? Are we to expect more of these types of incidents. How do we keep our nation’s leaders safe at a time when a great number of people in this country are angry, or hurting, and acting irrationally?As it is, the cost of keeping the prime minister safe has exploded. Government data analyzed and reported on by CBC this October showed the cost to protect the PM and his family was roughly $30 million over both the last two fiscal years. While that number is influenced by a great number of factors, the overall trend is up, regardless of who is prime minister or their political affiliation. As an example, the average monthly cost for the RCMP to protect the PM and his family in 2003/04 was $865,666. But that has ballooned to $2,618,179 per month for the 2023/24 fiscal year. The only significant dip was in 2020/21 during COVID.Yet we must protect our prime minister, regardless of the cost or how intensely you may disagree or dislike the incumbent. Because while we may gripe and groan about the expense of their protection, it’s better than the alternatives which range from a simple injury, to being a hostage, or assassinated.Thankfully we’ve had a relatively good run in Canada avoiding any of those alternatives. Not that there hasn’t been close calls or cause for concern.If you recall, three years ago Corey Hurren, a Manitoba man and former Canadian Ranger, crashed his truck into Rideau Hall grounds and set off with loaded weapons and a knife to ‘arrest’ the Prime Minister. He was angered over COVID-19 restrictions and amendments to Canada’s gun laws. He was sentenced to 6 years in prison.Then there was that incident at a campaign stop in London, ON during the 2021 election, when rocks were thrown at Prime Minster Trudeau. Thankfully the PM wasn’t hit, but Shane Marshall, the perpetrator, still received 90 days of house arrest and one year’s probation for his anti-democratic actions.Further back, in 1995 Andre Dallaire broke into 24 Sussex Drive in what is thought to be an attempt to murder then-Prime Minister Jean Chretien. It was only by good fortune and the actions of his wife Aline, that tragedy was avoided. Dallaire was later found guilty of attempted murder and other charges but deemed not responsible due to mental health related factors.Thankfully, unlike the United Kingdom or the US, Canada has never had a sitting prime minister assassinated. It’s a remarkable testament to our democracy that Canadians prefer to vote out unpopular leaders than take violent action against them. In fact, there’s only ever been one Canadian politician to have fallen victim to assassination: Thomas D’Arcy McGee.McGee was an Irish-Canadian politician and a Father of Canadian Confederation. He was assassinated on April 7,1868 by a Fenian sympathizer named Patrick J. Whelan. Whelan waited for McGee outside his boarding house and shot him in the head with a pistol as he returned from a late sitting of the House of Commons. Whelan was found guilty and hung for his crime.Now, I’m not saying we need to break out the death penalty for those who protest the Prime Minister. Far from it. But nor is it reasonable for our politicians to require a small army to safely extricate them from a restaurant.The right to protest, must be balanced with the right for our politicians to live and work safely. If not, no one will ever want to run for politics, and while politicians may evoke strong feelings in us, both positive and negative, they are necessary to help a country maintain order.That said, when a government is no longer maintaining order, or has lost the confidence of the electorate, then in properly functioning democracy an election is called. The angry, scared and hopeless citizenry are able to vote.This small, but fundamental democratic action grants a person to have a say in how they are being governed and acts as a pressure relief valve. It allows people to vent their anger and frustration in the ballot booth, instead of in the streets.It’s time for Canadians to head to the polls and let off this head of steam that threatens to scald us all.