It is not shaping up to be another full-scale occupation, but Ottawa residents are bracing for the continued presence of far-right demonstrators, many if not most of whom were part of February’s convoy.
Canadian Anti-Hate Network
In a feature-length rant on his personal Facebook page, the leader of the anti-lockdown group The Line makes an overture to the “remaining patriots of Canada,” throwing his ailing group’s support behind the recent push for Palestinian independence, but not without pushing extremely antisemitic conspiracy theories.
Moncton, New Brunswick-born Lamont Daigle lives in Toronto, and by his own telling owns a variety of small businesses including a home water filtering company that makes various health claims. He is the owner of a company called Mentra World Service Corporation, linked to a new age men’s support group called the ManKind Project.
He is also the founder of The Line, once one of the largest and most visible anti-lockdown groups on the Canadian scene.
Over the course of the pandemic infighting and accusations -- specifically around Daigle and comments made during his time with the ManKind Project -- made by other prominent members of the conspiratorial anti-lockdown and anti-mask movement have driven a wedge between The Line and other groups in the same space.
Notable for their prolific flyering, stickering, banner drops, and flag production, The Line’s signature black circle cut through by a red line continues to be a feature at many protests, despite the animosity from other anti-lockdown groups. The Line has continued to hold small actions by waving its slogans and banners at traffic from highway overpasses as well as organizing short protests made up of convoys of cars on its own.
As first reported by antifascist researchers, on Wednesday, Daigle recently released an over 1,400 word Facebook post calling for his group to support pro-Palestinian independence movements, even drawing a distinct comparison between the anti-mask and anti-lockdown movement with what is happening in Gaza.
Daigle also managed to squeeze in more than ample references to conspiracies about global Jewish domination.
“The Israelis who are oppressing the Palestinians are (Z)-ionist Rawthchildrens who own 75% of Israel, the World banks and the World Health Organization,” he wrote as part of his spanning declaration. “The Globalist Elites are the ones responsible for the Palestinian occupation ‘testing ground’ for how they propose to ‘Occupy’ and ‘lockdown’ the rest of the World.
“If someone, such as yourself, is truly about ‘Freedom’ and ending the lockdown, then you should stand for ending and lending your voice about the Oppression of Palestine.”
Drawing a straight line from the conflict in the Middle East to the public health orders impacting Canada and much of the world, he lays the blame for both at the feet of the “same occupiers.”
“It's the same fight and even if it's two different countries, it's the same occupiers doing this and people don't understand,” he said. “For over a year, the ‘woke’ patriots in Toronto and Canada have been yelling for the media to ‘Tell the Truth,’ yet when the media is lying about Palestine and covering the media about JDL (Jewish Defense League) insurgents causing fights against old people and pregnant women, you believe them.”
The JDL took credit for a recent counter protest to pro-Palestinian demonstrations in Toronto and there was violence between people who identified as members previously, a member of a motorcycle club with ties to the JDL, and demonstrators. However, Daigle takes the conflict a step further, propagating conspiracies about Jewish-controlled media.
“The (Z)-ionist [sic] media who labelled the ‘freedom movement’ as right-wing, racists and violent, is the same media labelling Hamas as terrorists. Now the media is telling the truth?”
Adding later, that those resisting the Government of Israel’s occupation “and then be labelled by the government media as terrorists and Israel. Palestinians are fighting for their lives and their land, that the Globalists have taken over and pushed them from.”
The message was released the same day as another live stream from a member of The Line who attended a protest in Mississauga, Ontario.
The Canadian Anti-Hate Network has requested comment from Lamont Daigle and The Line, but did not receive a response by time of publication. We will update accordingly.
The Line Looking To The Muslim Community
This is not Daigle’s only attempt to make inroads to marginalized communities with his movement, nor Muslim causes.
Recently the group attempted to mobilize its followers during the Eid-el-Fitr celebration using an offshoot called Muslims Against Lockdowns.
MAL was created last month with two administrators, both of whose Facebook profile pictures bear the logo of The Line.
The MAL page is also filled with posts referencing the group, including links to its social media pages and even a call for donations to be sent to Daigle, all part of a recent effort to gather Muslims together in an outdoor congregation, flouting Ontario’s lockdown rules and drawing a stiff rebuke from mainstream Muslim community groups.
The Line is also trying to organize an outdoor congregational prayer for the annual Islamic celebration of Eid-el-Fitr, which marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan for Muslims.
The group even made a poster for the event, taking place in Mississauga, Ontario, on May 13. The lockdown in Ontario has severely limited religious facilities, including mosques, from convening gatherings. Many mosques, out of caution, have already discontinued all services during the lockdown.
The Line, on the other hand, attempted to organize a “Proper Eid Prayer,” and MAL has posted a request for donations going towards the event.
“Islam prohibits the slightest gaps during prayer,” the event’s poster says. “Traditionally, Muslims are required to stand shoulder to shoulder for prayer.”
Then it goes on to say how gaps between congregants while praying is associated with Satanic energies, a claim peddled before by fringe preachers like Imran Hosein. The poster also commands Muslims to abandon “fraudulent narratives” such as socially distanced prayers.
Assertions like this prompted a stern statement and rebuke from the Canadian Muslim COVID-19 Taskforce, which rejected any theological justifications for violating social distancing rules. The task force is backed by a handful of major national Muslim organizations, and called out The Line for “non-Muslim leadership” and for having no credibility in any Muslim communities.
In addition to dozens of posts that push anti-vax and anti-lockdown conspiracy theories, the Muslims Against Lockdowns page also posts talks by two fringe Muslim preachers known for their own forays into antisemitic rhetoric both during and prior to the pandemic.
The MAL page is filled with posts featuring Trinidadian Muslim preacher and self-described “Islamic scholar” Imran Hosein, who used to be known for his work on Islamic finance and related issues.
More recently, however, Hosein’s sizable online presence (247,000 YouTube subscribers) has been devoted more to freelance preaching on a wide range of topics, but often about Jewish people and the state of Israel.
In at least one previous talk, Hosein casually speculates that “Israel has to extend its territory” via “big wars” in order to bring about the Second Coming — the clear goal of all Jews around the world as far as Hosein is concerned.
Hosein’s talks are filled with such convoluted, wild, and baseless theories that align with more alt-right ideas of how “the Jews” conspire to orchestrate major world events at the expense of the rest of humanity, or with Alex Jones-like tropes of “globalists” controlling the world while killing millions of people.
Moreover, Hosein also asserts on multiple occasions that Islam “firmly prohibits” Muslims from forming “friendships or alliances” with Christians and Jews.
With files from Steven Zhou.