By Louise Egan
OTTAWA, May 30 (Reuters) - The gruesome discovery of body parts in two big Canadian cities, including a severed foot mailed to the governing Conservative Party's headquarters, has shocked politicians and unsettled residents in the law-abiding capital.
A blood-stained package containing a decomposing foot arrived on Tuesday at the Conservatives' 12th floor offices in downtown Ottawa, a few blocks away from Parliament in the country's safest city.
Police confirmed on Wednesday that they intercepted a second suspicious package on Tuesday at an Ottawa postal depot. It contained a human hand.
Meanwhile in Montreal, a janitor, curious about a maggot-infested suitcase in a pile of garbage, opened it to find a headless torso inside. Montreal police, who are now leading the investigation into all three cases, said the body was male. They hoped to name a suspect shortly.
Police said the parts probably belong to the same body, but DNA tests needed to determine that could take at least two days.
The hand and foot had both been mailed to Ottawa from Montreal, said Montreal police spokesman Daniel Fortier.
"Montreal police and Ottawa police are working together on those cases," he said.
Lawmakers were careful not to speculate about the perpetrator. "I'm not prepared to discuss any security concerns," said Public Safety Minister Vic Toews.
Peter Julian, from the opposition New Democrats, called the incidents disgusting and horrible.
"Can you imagine an employee opening a box like that? That would certainly leave scars," he said.
There was no indication as to motive.
"I've never seen anything in Canada or the West that's been analogous to what we've seen," said David Harris, a security expert with Insignis, an intelligence and counter-terrorism consultancy.
"It does seem to be organized enough that one suspects at least some serious level of premeditation and twistedness."
Harris said someone may have wanted to intimidate the government or individuals involved in it.
Homicides are rare in Ottawa, which has the lowest crime rate of any Canadian city, according to the latest statistics. It is known as a quiet, even boring, town.
Montreal, on the other hand, is home to a notorious mafia ring and an inquiry there is probing allegations of corruption involving the construction industry, organized crime, political parties and the awarding of public contracts. (Additional reporting by Alex Paterson; Editing by Philip Barbara and Janet Guttsman)