The former leader of a U.S. neo-Nazi group, a former Soldiers of Odin member and a Pegida Canada official were among those whose signatures were submitted to Elections Canada last year to officially register the People’s Party of Canada, records show.
All three of their names appear on Elections Canada documents, obtained by Global News, that confirmed a minimum of 250 party members had signed membership declarations. The forms were required to obtain party status for the PPC and its leader, Maxime Bernier.
The Canadian Anti-Hate Network said the revelation that the party’s founding members included associates of extreme far-right, anti-immigrant groups should be grounds for removing Bernier from the televised election debates.
To register as an official political party, the PPC had to submit the names of at least 250 members to the chief electoral officer. Each member had to then sign an Elections Canada “confirmation” form verifying they had signed a membership declaration.
Under Canada Elections Act, parties do not have to disclose information about former or pending criminal backgrounds or investigations regarding those involved with the party, she said.
Among them was Janice Bultje, who is active in Pegida Canada and a group called Fighting Hate in Canada. Pegida, whose slogan is “Patriots of Canada against the Islamization of the West,” denies it is a white-supremacist group.
“As a founding member of both Pegida Canada and Fighting Hate in Canada, I believe in the importance of having a government that keeps the separation between church and state and fights hate regardless its origin, from the far-right to the far-left,” Bultje responded when asked why she had agreed to serve as one of the signatories during the registration of the PPC.
The Canadian Anti-Hate Network describes Pegida as an anti-Muslim group and says that while it isn’t militant or physically dangerous, Pegida’s rallies often attract more violent far-right groups.