Conservative leader Andrew Scheer is doubling down on his support of a convoy of pro-pipeline protesters with ties to Canada’s Yellow Vest movement, which has become notorious for its racist and anti-immigrant rhetoric.
Last week, Scheer addressed the United We Roll protesters, who drove from Red Deer, Alberta to Parliament Hill in Ottawa ostensibly to protest the carbon tax and federal legislation to overhaul the process of environmental assessments for energy projects.
“The events of last week were organized by people who have lost their jobs, who are facing tremendous anxiety about what the future will bring,” Scheer told reporters outside the House of Commons Monday.
Prior to the protest, organizers rebranded the movement to “United We Roll” from its original name, “Yellow Vest Convoy,” in an attempt to distance themselves from allegations of racism and social media posts by some members on the Yellow Vests Canada Facebook group who called for violence against politicians like Justin Trudeau and Alberta Premier Rachel Notley.
But many of the protesters in Ottawa wore yellow vests and “Make Canada Great Again” hats, railed against “open borders,” and campaigned against Canada signing onto the UN’s non-binding global migration pact.
Some of their signs called for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to be charged with treason.
Scheer insisted on Monday that his speech to them was about supporting energy workers, and not the “other elements that tried to associate themselves with the event.” White nationalist YouTuber Faith Goldy and People’s Party of Canada leader Maxime Bernier gave speeches to the same crowd.
“My message was very clear,” urged Scheer. “I was there to support energy sector workers, those who support our natural resource sector and promising hope for the future come October when a Conservative government will stand up for our energy sector and champion Canada’s oil and gas across the world.”
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