OTTAWA -- Politicians on Parliament Hill reacted with dismay Wednesday to the bizarre news that a severed foot had been delivered to nearby Conservative offices and that a package containing a hand was stopped in the mail system before it reached its destination -- the Liberal party of Canada.
As MPs from all parties circulated throughout the parliamentary halls, they all were confronting the same questions. How? Why?
NDP House Leader Nathan Cullen said the packages are "unnerving" and were sent by someone hoping to impart "a very disturbing and disgusting message."
"You don't imagine there's somebody out there that would do something like this until you see it happen and then you're, you know, constantly surprised by certain people's depravity."
Police have identified Luka Rocco Magnotta as a suspect in the case. He is said to be a stripper and a porn actor.
Cullen said MPs occasionally get "interesting gifts" in the mail such as unusual handicrafts.
"But what's happening now, this is something that none of us ever expected to see and it puts all of our conversations as political figures into a different light."
Liberal MP Denis Coderre said he once received "excrement" in the mail.
"You always have some whackos," he said, adding that while he is "prudent" as an MP in opening his mail, he never wants to "overdo" that prudence. He said he doesn't know what to make of this case.
"It's totally disgusting. It's like in a bad movie and I don't want to associate it to political parties right now, so we'll see what happens. We'll let the police do their job."
When the package was delivered to the Conservative office Tuesday, it was taken to Jenni Byrne, a senior Tory official who was Prime Minister Stephen Harper's campaign manager in last year's election.
"The package was brought to Ms. Byrne because it looked suspicious," said Conservative party spokesman Fred DeLorey. When she saw the blood and smelled a foul odour, she decided to call police.
DeLorey said the staff are "very upset and disturbed."
Interim Liberal leader Bob Rae said there are tragic implications to the crime that no one must forget.
Asked if he was concerned about security, Rae said: "The reality is strange things happen."
Public Safety Minister Vic Toews was cautious in his assessment of what happened.
"I'm not prepared to discuss any security concerns. There are obviously always security plans in place and initiatives in place, but all I can reiterate is that this is an ongoing criminal investigation," he said.
-- Postmedia News