Stephen Garvey, who was then with the National Advancement Party of Canada and is now leader of the National Citizens Alliance, speaks with an RCMP officer in front of Lindsay Thurber high school in 2017. (Advocate file photo).

Group with controversial views on immigration returning to Red Deer to hold public meeting

Pro-diversity proponents are concerned misinformation will incite hatred

An anti-“mass-immigration” group that has been banned from two Nova Scotia venues will speak today in Red Deer.

The Calgary-based National Citizens Alliance had members travel to a rally in front of Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School over an incident involving Syrian students in 2017.

Now, it’s holding an idea exchange on “mass immigration” from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday at 5233-54th Ave.

The meeting was supposed to be held at the Sheraton Hotel in Red Deer, but a NCA organizer said he was notified on Thursday the hotel had “overbooked,” so the event had to be moved to an “overflow location.”

While some local pro-diversity proponents are appalled the NCA will be “spewing their rhetoric” in our city, local immigration and multicultural groups were invited to come and share their ideas at the meeting, said NCA founder Stephen Garvey.

His group’s Facebook page states: “Mass immigration is putting a severe strain on the welfare system and contributing to the erosion of Canada’s traditional identity, heritage, and cultural norms.”

As well, the alliance states that large-scale immigration is contributing to the financial demise of this country.

These points are disputed by Central Alberta Refugee Effort, which maintains that Canada’s immigration system is controlled, with most immigrants and refugees either having to stand on their own financially upon arrival, or have help from relatives or private sponsors for the first year.

Frank Bauer, executive director of CARE, said relatively few people who emigrate to Canada for the safety and opportunity this nation affords are unemployed or on welfare.

NCA is alarmed the Canadian government has a target of allowing in 450,000 newcomers annually by 2025, calling this “mass immigration.” But Bauer noted that 250,000 to 300,000 immigrants a year are needed now to sustain Canada’s economy because of low Canadian birthrates and an aging population.

Earlier this year, the Calgary-based group was banned from Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley Apple Blossom Festival, as well as from holding a public meeting at the Halifax Legion. Garvey blamed this on too much political correctness.

Bauer upholds the NCA’s right to free speech. But he said he would not like to see the group using incorrect information to incite feelings against refugees, immigrants and the people who work with them.

Garvey insists racism will not be tolerated at the meeting. He noted his group — a registered political party that plans on running candidates in the next federal election — isn’t planning to be inflammatory. In fact, he said NCA will hire its own security staff to kick out anybody who’s hateful or violent.

Garvey said his extended invitation to people of different viewpoints was accepted by a committee of 20-some people of different Asian backgrounds, who will attend the meeting.

“I think it’s healthy… When you don’t talk about issues, they simmer… hopefully we will have a responsible, balanced discussion.”

Although some NCA members were among those who had travelled to Lindsay Thurber high school, days after a fight broke out between Syrian-born students and other students last year, Garvey said his group members were not there to protest, but to gather information.



lmichelin@reddeeradvocate.com

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