FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
As Ottawans are bracing for another weekend of so-called ‘freedom’ protests, Community Solidarity Ottawa, a coalition of residents, community groups and labour unions, is shining a light on the dark underbelly of this anti-democratic far-right movement and the hate groups behind them.
“This so-called ‘freedom’ movement is nothing but a web of far right hate,” said Brian Latour, a spokesperson for Community Solidarity Ottawa. “The fact that they continue to protest vaccine mandates and public health restrictions that have since been lifted exposes them for what we have known from the beginning that they are: a movement of little more than far right cultural grievances and unhinged conspiracy theories.”
Many of the organizers of this latest iteration of the convoy protests have ties to the far right, in particular the accelerationist Diagolon movement led by Jeremy MacKenzie, a notorious far-right extremist currently facing firearms charges in Nova Scotia. Four members of the Diagolon movement are also currently facing charges of conspiring to murder RCMP officers, stemming from their involvement with the Coutts border blockade in February.
James Topp, the figurehead of this iteration of the convoy, has recently made multiple appearances on far right podcasts, including at least two appearances on Jeremy MacKenzie’s “Raging Dissident” podcast. MacKenzie on his podcast has promoted the Day of the Rope, a neo-Nazi fantasy whereby the far right murders their political opposition once they take power through mass hangings, and regularly uses the slogan “gun or rope” to refer to his plans for his political opposition. Topp stated in one of his recent interviews that he is a regular viewer and that he shares MacKenzie’s ideas.
Also in Topp’s entourage are Hold Fast, a Peterborough based anti-vaccine/anti-mask/COVID conspiracy group best known for verbally harassing Jagmeet Singh at a campaign stop in Peterborough in May, including calling for his death. Hold Fast was also present at the attempted reoccupation of Rideau Street on April 29th.
Last week, 20 Members of Parliament met with James Topp and with organizers from Veterans for Freedom, one of the groups which was behind Rolling Thunder Ottawa, where Holocaust denier Chris Sky was invited to speak on Parliament Hill on April 30th.
Other groups planning events in Ottawa also have ties to far-right extremists. Police on Guard for Thee, an organization of former police and military members which is planning what they call a family friendly event in Strathcona Park, lists Jeremy MacKenzie as an official partner on their website.
“Given the role that current and former military and law enforcement personnel have played in the anti-democratic so-called ‘freedom’ movement, as well as the reports we have seen of police officers supporting the convoy, governments need to seriously address the growing issue of far right infiltration into police and law enforcement,” added Sam Hersh of Horizon Ottawa. “Also of concern is the fact that a number of mainstream politicians are legitimizing this movement of conspiracy theories and far right hatred.”
Community Solidarity Ottawa held a virtual community safety briefing on Monday night, sharing resources and information with the community in order to help keep each other safe. CSO will continue to monitor and document the situation as it unfolds.
“The hatred and the far-right anti-democratic politics of the convoy will never be welcome in Ottawa,” added Latour.
For media inquiries:
Community Solidarity Ottawa
For additional background information on the groups behind this latest iteration of the convoy, see our previous press release here: PRESS RELEASE: Community Solidarity Ottawa Rips the Mask Off So-Called ‘Freedom Movement’ - Horizon Ottawa