Lion’s Club bars anti-im­mi­gra­tion event

Right-wing Na­tional Cit­i­zen’s Al­liance spins the can­cel­la­tion of its event as “cav­ing into fas­cism.”

The Coast - - THE CITY - BY NOAH LIN­TON

The Na­tional Cit­i­zen’s Al­liance has had its “Pub­lic Dis­cus­sion on Mass Im­mi­gra­tion” event can­celled due to con­tro­versy sur­round­ing the anti-im­mi­gra­tion party.

The NCA, an un­reg­is­tered right-wing party, has been gar­ner­ing con­tro­versy over the past year, hav­ing been banned from the An­napo­lis Val­ley Blos­som Fes­ti­val after pro­mot­ing its plat­form in the fes­ti­val’s pa­rade. The group also had a fol­low up meet­ing and rally in Hal­i­fax can­celled after protest.

This lat­est event, which was planned for Satur­day, Novem­ber 24, was can­celled after the Hal­i­fax Lion’s Club with­drew from the NCA’s con­tract to serve as a venue. The event was an open dis­cus­sion on mass im­mi­gra­tion where, ac­cord­ing to the event de­scrip­tion, “All points of view [were] wel­comed.” Stephen Gar­vey, the founder and leader of the NCA, held a live-stream to ad­dress the can­cel­la­tion, in which he claimed that the Lion’s Club re­ceived ap­prox­i­mately 70 emails and phone calls threat­en­ing to protest the event.

Gar­vey also had harsh words for the Lion’s Club. He ac­cused the club of “cav­ing into fas­cism.”

“What this Lion’s Club board de­cided was com­pletely dis­re­spect­ful, and dis­hon­or­able to Cana­dian vet­er­ans that sac­ri­ficed their lives for our free­dom.” How­ever, Lion’s Club mem­ber Wal­lace Thomp­son has a dif­fer­ent story. He said the Lion’s Club orig­i­nally had no idea who the NCA were. When they learned about the party’s rhetoric, they with­drew from their con­tract.

“We don’t af­fil­i­ate with any pol­i­tics or re­li­gion,” says Thomp­son. He also says there were no di­rect threats of protest made to the club.

The dis­cus­sion’s lead or­ga­nizer, John Evans, says he be­lieves the NCA was tar­geted be­cause it’s not a reg­is­tered party—yet. He also de­scribes the protests of his group as “some­thing for a bunch of peo­ple to do be­cause they can get away with it.” One group whose mem­bers are al­ways protest­ing the NCA is the In­dus­trial Work­ers of the World—a sol­i­dar­ity union that’s been op­er­a­tional since the 1900s. Daniel Whitten, a mem­ber of the IWW’s Hal­i­fax branch, says the IWW op­poses groups like the NCA be­cause of the party’s “pseudo white­na­tion­al­ist rhetoric.”

The NCA party has been af­fil­i­ated with a white na­tion­al­ist group called the Coun­cil of Euro­pean Cana­di­ans, which is ded­i­cated to pre­serv­ing “Euro-Cana­dian” cul­ture. The group is listed as an as­so­ci­ated or­ga­ni­za­tion on the NCA’s web­site. Gar­vey has echoed sim­i­lar views in his speeches, where he stokes fears about the “ex­tinc­tion” of Euro­pean Cana­di­ans.

The NCA says it plans to con­tinue or­ga­niz­ing events and is plan­ning a con­ven­tion for the spring.

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