A right-wing extremist group in Quebec has disavowed one of their own members who joined white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia and appeared in a VICE News documentary about the violent demonstration that resulted in three deaths and dozens of injuries.
Even though the group, La Meute, is known for espousing xenophobic and anti-Muslim views, it has booted one of its main recruiters and MMA fighter, Shawn Beauvais-MacDonald, because the group says it disassociates itself from white supremacy.
“It’s a profound error to confuse nationalism with racism.”
“In light of recent information, Shawn has been excluded from our group,” La Meute spokesperson Sylvain Brouillette told VICE News. “La Meute is a nationalist group but our nation includes canadians of all race and origins. It’s a profound error to confuse nationalism with racism.”
“I can live with the erroneous label of ‘alt-right’ that we’ve been given, but not with accusations of violence and racism, that’s an insult.”
Beauvais-MacDonald was among at least two — and as many as five — men from Quebec who traveled south for the white supremacist gathering, a sign of the willingness of the Canadians to participate in the extremist movement in the US. Quebec has been a breeding ground for a number of right-wing extremist groups and has been the scene of several clashes with anti-fascist groups.
“I don’t represent anyone but myself.”
An opening scene of the VICE News film shows the men in a group with American white nationalist leader Christopher Cantwell. “Twelve hours from our car — we’ve been driving from north of the border,” one of the men believed to be from Quebec tells Cantwell. “In Canada, hurting people’s feelings is basically illegal.”
Vincent Bélanger-Mercure, A Montreal-based biology student who travelled to Charlottesville who claims to have no affiliation with La Muete, told La Presse he had gone to the rally by himself. “I met them over there,” he said of the other Quebecers present, “I don’t represent anyone but myself.”
He also told the Quebec newspaper that he did not have links to neo-nazis nor did he participate in the violent riots. He also denied any ties to James Fields, the man charged with murdering one of the anti-racism protesters, with whom he was spotted walked during the march
Since the weekend, anti-racist groups including Anti-Pegida Quebec have been trying to track down the Canadians to out them.
This post has been updated with a new Facebook post from Anti-Pegida to reflect that Shawn Beauvais-MacDonald does not work at Tokyo Bar.