After months of pressure to denounce members of a far-right group, the newly elected leader of Canada’s Conservative Party has lashed out at them after they made comments about sexually assaulting his wife.
In a statement Pierre Poilievre, a longtime mainstream politician who openly embraced the anti-COVID-measure trucker convoy this year, called the members of the far-right group Diagolon “dirtbags” and “losers.”
“These men are dirtbags. Frankly, like most Canadians, until about a month ago I had never heard of Diagolon and these losers. They are all odious,” he said. “The kind of garbage has no place in Canada. No one should face this abuse.”
Jeremy Mackenzie, a far-right influencer and founder of Diagolon, said in a livestream that he and his partner would “rape” Poilievre’s wife as they “just want to show people we can do things to you if we want to.”
Mackenzie has gained infamy in Canada for being a key figure in the far-right anti-government Diagolon, which experts believe could be dangerous. Two members affiliated with the group were arrested at an Albertan Trucker blockade for allegedly stockpiling weapons they planned to use against police officers who tried to break up the protest. Mackenzie himself has had some trouble with the law, including being charged with assault last month.
According to reports, the RCMP are investigating the threats.
Prior to this, Poilievre has resisted distancing himself from the fringes of the Canadian far-right.
Mackenzie’s comments were caught by anti-fascists monitoring the group’s livestream and eventually found their way in front of Poilievre, who released a statement Monday morning saying “threatening my wife and family is appalling and I will not tolerate it.”
Poilievre, 43, rode to a massive CPC leadership election victory partially on the back of riding the existing wave of anger and anti-Trudeau sentiment largely born from the pandemic. In courting this audience, the career politician—he was elected at the age of 25— came into contact with several people connected to Diagolon and refused to denounce the group. A photograph showing Poilievre shaking hands with Mackenzie at a photo-op recently came out, although he likely didn’t know who he was. However, he had taken part in a debate in the House of Commons back in February where Diagolon was mentioned several times. The group’s connection to the plot to attack police officers was also extensively covered in the national media over the winter as well.
This summer Poilievre generated significant harassment against a female reporter who asked if he would distance himself from anti-democratic groups. In response, Poilievre put out a press release calling her a “so-called journalist” and saying she was generating a “disingenuous trap.” The same reporter is one of the central targets in a harassment campaign being conducted by Mackenzie and his online cohorts.
Speaking to the Toronto Star, Mackenzie apologized if he offended Poilievre’s wife but chastised the leader for not having a thicker skin. Diagolon is staunchly anti-Trudeau but also rejected Conservative Party, which they view as yet another corporate party. However, the group seemed to be warming to the idea of voting Conservative with Poilievre taking the reins of the party.
In a diatribe on Telegram, Mackenzie hinted that is no longer the case.
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