A Penhold councillor has come to the defence of a far-right German politician, who represents a party that’s under surveillance as a suspected extremist group.
Shawn Hamm, who was elected as a Penhold town councillor in 2017, posted on Facebook on Feb. 24 that he “had the privilege to attend a meeting” with Christine Anderson, who represents the Alternative for Germany party, which has been accused of downplaying Nazi crimes, opposing immigration and pushing anti-Muslim ideology.
“She is an honourable and respected leader as a member of the European Parliament that stands for truth,” Hamm wrote in his Facebook post.
Anderson visited Canada in February as part of a tour organized by supporters of last year’s “Freedom Convoy” protests around Parliament Hill, which she publicly supported. She made two tour stops in Calgary on Feb. 18 at separate locations: the Calgary Petroleum Club and Southside Victory Church.
Conservative Party of Canada leader Pierre Poilievre’s office recently released a statement condemning Anderson’s views as “vile,” after three conservative MPs from Ontario met with the German politician.
In Hamm’s Facebook post, he criticized Poilievre for his comments.
“This statement from a ‘Conservative’ leader is disappointing, off base and frankly it’s cowardice. If you think he will stand for your rights and freedoms, you are mistaken,” the Facebook post said.
“The truth always comes out and it’s plain to see that Pierre Poilievre is no different then [sic] Justin Trudeau.”
In another media release, the Conservative Party of Canada stated it does not endorse Anderson’s views and “strongly condemns any views that are racist or hateful.”
Leader of the Independence Party of Alberta Artur Pawlowski gave Anderson a white hat at the Calgary Petroleum Club event on Feb. 18.
On Twitter, Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek stressed Tourism Calgary and the Calgary Stampede were not involved in giving Anderson the white hat – the two organizations have gifted the symbol of hospitality to honoured guests in the past.
“And I think it’s pretty clear that I don’t endorse her views in any manner. It’ll be interesting to see what (Calgary Petroleum Club) has to say about hosting the event,” Gondek said on Twitter.
—With files from The Canadian Press