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News

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer Defends Heckler Affiliated With Far-Right Anti-Immigrant Groups

Conservative leader Andrew Scheer hitches his wagon to a far-right extremist who heckled the Prime Minister in rural Québec

August 21, 2018

Conservative leader Andrew Scheer is defending an individual with documented links to far-right anti-immigrant extremist groups who recently disrupted a speech by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in rural Quebec.

Monday night, Scheer’s official account referenced the heckling incident when it issued several tweets criticizing Trudeau for “demonizing his critics.”

“This is how you can tell when Liberals are losing,” Scheer said. “Concerned about illegal border crossers? You’re a racist.”

“Instead of demonizing his critics, Justin Trudeau should confront the problem.”

Except by all indications, the heckler not only holds racist views – she’s actually a far-right activist connected to a number of anti-immigrant groups.

Video from an event in Sainte-Anne-de-Sabrevois, Québec last week shows a woman repeatedly interrupt the Prime Minister’s speech to demand a “refund” on money spent on “illegal immigrants.”

“Ok, Madame,” Trudeau responded. “This intolerance towards immigrants has no room in Canada.”

“Your racism has no place here,” he added.

Diane Blain has publicly identified herself as the heckler who appeared in the video.

Blain previously made headlines in 2015 when she refused to be seen by a Muslim woman at a dental clinic at the Université de Montréal.

According to her social media activity, Blain not only appears to hold racist views but is connected with a number of far-right extremist groups, including groups called the Front Patriotique du Québec and Storm Alliance.

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According to Le Troupeau and independently verified by PressProgress, multiple members of far-right groups were in the crowd during the Prime Minister’s speech last week – researchers suggest it was a coordinated effort to disrupt the event.

Joining Blain in the crowd was the leader of the far-right Front Patriotique du Québec, described Radio-Canada as a “separatist anti-immigration group.”

Postings from the group’s leader Mario Dallaire “confirm” he was nearby in the crowd. Dallaire previously mused about staging a “fake terrorist attack to wake up people” about immigration.

The next day, Blain was photographed with the lead organizer of an “extreme right” anti-immigration protest who also has apparent ties with Dallaire.

Facebook

Blain is also notably a member of the Storm Alliance of Québec’s Facebook group.

Storm Alliance is an offshoot of the Soldiers of Odin, an “extremist vigilante group”  designated as an “anti-Muslim hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Centre.

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For over the last year, Storm Alliance, along with another group called La Meute (or “the wolfpack”), have been a presence at the Canada-US border, holding vigilante patrols looking for terrified refugees fleeing Donald Trump’s United States.

Over the last year, far-right extremist groups like the Front Patriotique du Québec, Storm Alliance and La Meute have increasingly collaborated and discussed merging.

ARC Collective

Despite her clear extremist connections, multiple Conservative MPs and Senators have actually spoken out in defence of the far-right activist.

Conservative MP Michelle Rempel rushed to the defence of Blain, criticizing the Prime Minister for calling the far-right extremist “intolerant” and “dismissing the concerns of Canadians.”

Meanwhile, Conservative MP Tony Clement mocked the idea of using the “R word” to describe a member of an anti-immigrant vigilante group.

Steven Blaney, former Public Safety Minister under Stephen Harper and the main spokesperson defending Bill C-51, expressed concern for the “lack of respect” shown to a far-right extremist who merely asked “a legitimate question about migrants”:

Conservative MP Luc Berthold said the “hatred” expressed to a member of a far-right anti-immigrant group was “pathetic.”

And there was Conservative Senator Linda Frum, who took issue with the “elderly woman” being called “intolerant and racist,” despite being a far-right extremist.

However, Senator Frum later attempted to walk back her unqualified support for the far-right extremist.

“If social media reports are true,” Frum tweeted, “the (Parti Québécois) woman who confronted Trudeau on illegal border crossings is poor spokesperson for any issue.”

Frum went on to reiterate she still agrees with the far-right extremist’s facts.

 

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Analysis

Here’s a List of Conservatives Who Have Gone Completely Off the Rails This Summer

It’s the dog whistle days of summer for Andrew Scheer’s Conservatives

August 20, 2018

Has Conservative leader Andrew Scheer lost control of his caucus?

From xenophobic dog whistles to daily bozo eruptions on Twitter, if you thought the Conservative Party of Canada was behaving a little more unhinged than usual this summer, it isn’t your imagination.

Let’s take a quick…