On the same day the Alberta election was called, high-profile United Conservative candidate in Alberta has stepped down after private messages of her echoing white nationalist rhetoric were discovered.
On Monday night , Press Progress reported on messages that Caylan Ford, the UCP candidate for Calgary-Mountainview Caylan, allegedly sent to a Muslim Conservative following the killing of an anti-racist activist by a white nationalist in Charlottesville in 2017. Press Progress say they verified the messages and were provided with them by a whistleblower who believed Ford was “flirting with white nationalism.”
In the messages the 32-year-old candidate, who was hand picked by Jason Kenney, bemoaned the “demographic replacement of white peoples in their homelands” and stated she did not believe it would be “a peaceful transition.” This idea of “demographic replacement” is a cornerstone of white nationalist rhetoric and was echoed by the Christchurch shooter who entitled his manifesto, “the Great Replacement.” Further to that, other messages show Ford also complained about how white people are treated following white nationalist terror attacks.
“When the perpetrator is an Islamist, the denunciations are intermingled with breathless assurances that they do not represent Islam, that Islam is a religion of peace, etc,” read one of the messages. “... When the terrorists are white supremacists, that kind of soul-searching or attempts to understand the sources of their radicalization or their perverse moral reasoning is beyond the pale.”
According to Press Progress, Ford went on to say that anyone who shares beliefs with white nationalists on subjects like immigation and the like are “painted with the same brush” and that western civilization will likely fail if white people aren’t at the helm.
On Tuesday, Ford stepped down and issued a statement on her Facebook page. The 32-year-old didn’t apologize but rather stated she didn’t want to become a “distraction” in the coming campaign. In her statement she said the statements reported on by Press Progress “are distortions and are not reflective of my views.” While she didn’t explain how they were “distorted” she did “strongly denounce extremism, violence, and stand with marginalized communities everywhere.” She also outed the person who provided Press Progress with the statements.
The Alberta Muslim Public Affairs Council tweeted out that while they are “happy with her choice to resign, we are deeply concerned that she seemed entirely without contrition for her actions, and named the source who was concerned for his own safety.” Prior to this, Ford earned glowing reviews by UCP candidate Jason Kenney who described how he met her as “political love at first site,” and appeared in YouTube videos with him. Kenney has yet to issue a statement regarding Ford.
The use of white nationalist rhetoric and subsequent resignation by one of their high profile candidates is but the latest connection the UCP has had to the far-right. In October of last year, they kicked out Lance Coulter, a man running for a nomination in Edmonton after he invited the far-right, anti-Islam group Soldiers Of Odin to a UCP pub night—two of the people invited would later go on to stake out a mosque, intimidating Muslims trying to pray. They also had to kickout Adam Strashok, who ran the call centre for Kenney’s UCP leadership campaign, after it came to light he was connected with an online store that sold Rhodesian propaganda.
Further to that, the party is also dealing with the fallout over allegations that a former UCP leadership candidate ran solely to discredit Kenney rival Brain Jean and make Kenney’s ascension to the UCP throne that much smoother.
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