Disgraced pot prince-turned-People’s Party candidate Marc Emery has deleted a tweet suggesting Liberal leader Justin Trudeau should suffer the same fate as Italian fascist dictator Benito Mussolini, who was rather famously executed by his own people.
The ominous comment came after London, Ontario city councillor Jesse Helmer tweeted about a Liberal campaign rally in London Monday where anti-vaccine protesters were screaming at staffers. Later that evening, someone in the crowd of protesters threw gravel at Trudeau as he was boarding his campaign bus—an act condemned by the Conservatives, NDP, and the People’s Party of Canada.
Still, Emery, who is running for the PPC in the London North Centre riding, suggested Trudeau deserved worse than the reception he received in London. “He is a vile leader,” Emery said of Trudeau. “He deserves a much worse fate. I’m thinking Mussolini.”
Emery later deleted his tweet. In a subsequent tweet, he offered an apology of sorts that did not address the implicit threat of his earlier Mussolini tweet.
“At the request of my leader, I offer an apology for comparing our noble & Honourable Prime Minister with Mussolini,” Emery wrote. “Surely this paragon of (Liberal Party) virtue cannot be compared with reviled dictatorship of the past. Just vote him out, that’s what any believer of freedom wants.”
After his fascist regime crumbled in early 1945, Mussolini and Clara Petacci, his mistress, tried to escape to Switzerland. They didn’t get any further than a small village in northern Italy. Anti-fascist partisans captured the couple and shot them. Their bodies were then driven to a square in Milan where locals beat, urinated on, and mutilated them, then hung them upside down from meat hooks above a service station.
VICE World News reached out to the PPC’s media relations team Tuesday with several questions about the incident, but has not yet received a reply. We will update this story if we hear back.
Threats of political violence are becoming more apparent in the lead-up to the federal election on Sept. 20, especially against Trudeau. Over the past few weeks, anti-vax protesters have doggedly trailed his campaign bus, hurled rape and death threats, and carried signs calling for Trudeau to be hanged for “high treason.” (NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and Green Party Leader Annamie Paul are also regularly facing racist slurs on the campaign trail.) PPC Leader Maxime Bernier was hit with an egg at a rally last week.
People’s Party of Canada supporters and a candidate attended the London event on Monday, according to the Canadian Anti-Hate Network and multiple journalists on scene. The party has come out strongly against the use of vaccine passports and other COVID-19 related restrictions. Its platform rallies against multiculturalism, limits immigration, and wrongly claims there is no scientific consensus for climate change. Polling from last week shows the PPC’s support could be as high as 7-8 percent of voting Canadians—beating out support for the Green Party. However, despite winning 1.6 percent of the popular vote in the 2019 election, the fringe far-right party did not capture a single seat.
Emery is a longtime Canadian cannabis activist who founded Hemp B.C. and Cannabis Culture in the 90s. The self-proclaimed ‘Prince of Pot’, he made a reputation as an outspoken cannabis business owner decades before legalization was on the table in Canada. He claims to have seen the inside of 39 jails and prisons due to his cannabis sales and use, including a five-year stint in a U.S. federal prison for mailing three million cannabis seeds to Americans customers. In January 2019, several news organizations, including VICE News, reported on the many allegations of sexual misconduct levied against him by employees and others working in the cannabis space. He denied or attempted to clarify many of the allegations.
A video posted by Chelsea Hillier, the PPC candidate for Elgin-Middlesex-London, shows dozens of protesters—some carrying PPC signs or wearing hats and shirts in the party’s purple—chanting “lock him up” in front of a Liberal campaign bus. “Justin Trudeau had quite the warm welcome tonight in London!” she tweeted.
Hillier later issued a tweet condemning violence against political candidates. “I strongly encourage all Canadians to demand their voices be heard,” she wrote. “This must be accomplished peacefully. Violence diminishes the message and I will not condone that.”
Helmer urged Bernier to rein in his followers. “This is exactly what Trump encouraged in the USA and it led to a deadly riot on Capitol Hill,” Helmer wrote on Twitter.
“Tell them to stop. Now.”
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