UCP candidates posed with Soldiers of Odin
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.”
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