Canadian Anti-Hate Network
The founder of the People’s Party of Canada is on a tour across Canada, with posters advertising multiple stops across the province of Manitoba this weekend.
One small problem for the former member of parliament Maxime Bernier, some businesses listed on the original posters advertising the event were never informed the PPC planned to darken their doorstep. Thinking quickly, the agile politician pivoted to speaking engagements at local parks and splash pads.
According to The Carillon reporter Nicole Buffie, who was following Bernier’s Manitoba tour, he’s now in the custody of the RCMP.
This was a predictable outcome. Yesterday he tweeted:
I received a letter from Mike Leblanc, manager of the Health Protection Unit with the Manitoba Department of Health.
He says I cannot attend rallies and have to self-quarantine at my hotel for the whole duration of my stay.
I will not surrender my constitutional rights.
Earlier today, he complained of receiving a ticket and a warning: if he held additional events, he would be arrested. Law enforcement followed through on their promise.
A Tour Cut Short
A total of 12 businesses were listed on a poster boasting of the “Mad Max Manitoba Tour,” a three-day onslaught of populist politicking across the prairies. Often surrounded by crowds at anti-mask and lockdown demonstrations, Bernier and a small group of other increasingly fringe politicians are headliners and regular speakers at these marches and rallies.
These events are a hotbed for Canada’s racist right, and often bring out full-blown neo-Nazis.
The most obvious recent examples of this is when a man waving a neo-Nazi flag came to the Saskatoon ‘Freedom Rally’ in which Bernier was a headline speaker.
Bernier and his team apparently didn’t inform most of the businesses listed on their since-deleted flier that they planned to use them as props.
Currently, the Canadian Anti-Hate Network has been able to confirm that four of the businesses were unaware of Bernier’s plans to show up outside. Three others appear to be out of business or closed due to the pandemic, while one tattoo studio -- known for its own public stand against lockdown measures -- seems unimpressed by the party using his shop’s name on its promotional material.
“The People’s Party of Canada have put out the following poster with my shop name on it as if I endorse them. I do not endorse the PPC or any other political party. I did not give permission to have my name used by them in any way,” the account for The Parlor Tattoos wrote in a Facebook post.
“I was contacted and asked if Maxime Bernier could ask me how the lockdowns have affected my business and what protocols I have in place to operate safely.
“That’s it. Nothing more. I’m currently working on having this corrected, and because of this underhanded shit, will not be taking part in any Q and A. Thanks for understanding.”
Follow-up comments indicate that the business has contacted legal representation.
The PPC did not respond to a request for comment. Bernier did however release a tweet the same day with an “updated itinerary for my Manitoba tour.” The business locations have been changed to a series of public parks and splash pads, with Bernier billed to speak at an anto-lockdown protest on Saturday evening.
Other businesses to release public statements include the La Salle River Inn, who reports not being made aware in any way of their alleged involvement.
“It has been brought to our attention that someone is hosting a freedom rally without our permission at La Salle River Inn on Saturday, June 12th. This has nothing to do with The La Salle River Inn or us personally. We have been in contact with as many authorities as possible to try to stop this from happening.”
Bernier founded the PPC after losing a bid for the leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada. From day one the Canadian Anti-Hate Network has been monitoring the PPC because of its dog-whistle rhetoric which earned it the favour of members and supporters of Canada’s hate groups and has deeply entrenched it in Canada’s hate ecosystem.
In the wake of the London attacks that killed four and injured one other, Bernier released a statement of condolences to the “innocent victims of the horrific hateful attack” and the young survivor.
Less than an hour after his condolences tweet came this dog-whistle statement: “While racism towards non-whites is rightly universally condemned, anti-white racism is rapidly becoming fashionable and even taught in our schools and universities.” Days later, he tweeted out “Is it just a coincidence that politicians who have a personal history of racism, intolerance and religious fanaticism are also the ones most likely to exploit racism, intolerance and religious fanaticism for political gains?”
Images featured with the statement included one of the pictures of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wearing Black face and a photo of NDP leader Jagmeet Singh taken during a conference on Sikh sovereignty.
“Like Trudeau, [Jagmeet Singh] is a disgusting race-baiter who is exploiting every tragedy and social tension to divide Canadians and further his career,” Bernier said in another tweet. Each of these messages were later retweeted by the leader’s account, in some cases, multiple times.
Bernier has often claimed that questioning immigration policy in Canada comes with the label of a xenophobe, saying in 2019 that his party cares about shared “values, culture, and identity” that will create a “prosperous and harmonious society ... with well-integrated immigrants.”
However, according to his speech notes, in a section completely dedicated to defending western values, he leads an attack on what he has dubbed “Islamism,” and blames multiculturalism for increasing tensions across Europe.
“Among the threats to our values and way of life is political Islam, or Islamism, the fastest-growing and most dangerous radical ideology in the world today, which is responsible for so much violence in so many countries,” he said. “There is growing evidence that Islamists are pushing their agenda here in Canada, with the support of money from the Middle East.”
In 2019, Bernier refused to condemn the Christchurch terrorist attack in which a white supremacist murdered 51 Muslims. When challenged, he claimed that he, as a rule, doesn’t condemn “tragedies in other countries.” This was simply not true, as journalist Jonathan Goldsbie found several examples of Bernier condemning “jihadist” and “Islamist” attacks.