Sudbury councillor Robert Kirwan is being criticized for comments supportive of the Soldiers of Odin, a militant anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant group originally founded in Finland by Mika Ranta, who has a conviction for a racially-motivated assault and self-identifies as a neo-Nazi, according to The Times of Israel.
In Canada, the Soldiers of Odin have leaders and members with demonstrated ties to white supremacy and neo-Nazism. The organization splintered throughout 2017, but retains a sizable membership in Quebec and several smaller, local chapters are still in operation.
Some Soldiers of Odin chapters have been picking up needles and doing other charitable works, a common public relations tactic used by other far-right groups like Atalante Quebec, which provides meals to white, homeless Quebecois. Councillor Kirwan says he supports the Soldiers of Odin's "good work" in Sudbury.
Kirwan doubled down after being criticized for his comments, calling the Soldiers of Odin "a group of citizens in this city who have done nothing that has caused any harm to our community."
The Soldiers of Odin are a regular presence at anti-Muslim demonstrations in Canada.