UCP can­di­dates posed with Sol­diers of Odin

StarMetro Edmonton - - EDMONTON - FACE­BOOK

Af­ter pho­tos of three United Con­ser­va­tive Party (UCP) can­di­dates pos­ing and smil­ing with mem­bers of an ex­trem­ist hate group cir­cu­lated on­line Sun­day, the party said their event had been “de­lib­er­ately crashed” by a smaller po­lit­i­cal party.

The pho­tos were taken at a UCP con­stituency pub night for West Hen­day on Fri­day. They show UCP Ed­mon­tonWest Hen­day can­di­dates Ni­cole Wil­liams, Leila Houle and Lance Coul­ter pos­ing with mem­bers of Sol­diers of Odin’s Ed­mon­ton chap­ter, who can be iden­ti­fied by their hats and hood­ies marked with “S.O.O.”

The nom­i­na­tion can­di­dates have since stated they were not aware of who they United Con­ser­va­tive Party can­di­date Ni­cole Wil­liams poses with mem­bers of the Sol­diers of Odin, a far-right ex­trem­ist group, dur­ing a pub night on Oct. 5 in Ed­mon­ton.

were pos­ing with. “Had we known at the time, we cer­tainly would not have our pic­tures taken with these in­di­vid­u­als,” said Wil­liams and Houle in a joint state­ment.

StarMetro has reached out to can­di­date Lance Coul­ter for com­ment, but did not re­ceive a re­sponse in time for pub­li­ca­tion.

UCP Leader Ja­son Ken­ney

took to Twit­ter in re­sponse to the back­lash, writ­ing a state­ment that blamed the Al­berta In­de­pen­dence Party, a smaller po­lit­i­cal party in the prov­ince, for crash­ing the event.

“Dis­turbed to learn that a UCP pub night in Ed­mon­ton was crashed by sup­port­ers of the fringe ‘Al­berta In­de­pen­dence Party,’ in­clud­ing mem­bers of hate groups,” Ken­ney wrote. He was not present at the event, ac­cord­ing to a UCP spokesper­son.

A Sol­diers of Odin Ed­mon­ton Face­book page orig­i­nally posted the pho­tos on Satur­day, thank­ing UCP can­di­dates for their sup­port. The group is known for its anti-im­mi­gra­tion sen­ti­ments, and are con­sid­ered a far-right ex­trem­ist group by the Cana­dian An­tiHate Net­work.

The pho­tos were then re­posted by mul­ti­ple users on Twit­ter, in­clud­ing the group Progress Al­berta, crit­i­ciz­ing UCP mem­bers for pos­ing with the ex­trem­ist group. Dun­can Kin­ney, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of Progress Al­berta, said in an in­ter­view with StarMetro he does not be­lieve the can­di­dates were un­aware of who they posed with.

“Their claims are ob­vi­ously un­true,” he said. “If you were a po­lit­i­cally aware per­son in 2018, you should know who the white-su­prem­a­cist, racist, vig­i­lante gangs are in Ed­mon­ton, and you should make sure that you don’t take pic­tures with them.”

READ MORE AT THES­TAR.COM/ED­MON­TON

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