Alberta Politics
UCP nomination candidate Nicole Williams with Soldiers of Odin members at the party’s pub night in Edmonton Friday (Photo: Facebook).

Never mind the RSVP! UCP candidates’ reaction to storm over photos with ‘Soldiers of Odin’: We had no idea!

Posted on October 08, 2018, 12:41 am
7 mins

They crashed the party, did they?

But I wonder why they picked a United Conservative Party affair to crash?

I speak, of course, of the “Soldiers of Odin,” the unsavoury anti-immigrant group founded by a Finnish white supremacist whose Edmonton chapter’s members dress like bikers and have been making a nuisance of themselves by posing as the Edmonton Police Service’s little helpers.

Nomination candidate Leila Houle, left, at the same event (Photo: Facebook).

On Friday, several members of the group showed up in full regalia at a pub night for UCP nomination candidates in the Edmonton-West Henday Riding and were welcomed with big smiles all round.

Before long, photos of the “Soldiers” with beaming UCP candidates Nicole Williams, Lance Coulter and Leila Houle were all over the Internet.

They appeared first on the Edmonton group’s own Facebook page. Soon thereafter screenshots were posted on social media by Progress Alberta, progressive activists who among other things have been tracking the activities of the Soldiers of Odin in Edmonton.

All the candidates were smiling in the pictures from the Edmonton-West Henday pub night. “Edmonton Chapter had a great night at the UCP pub event,” said the Soldiers of Odin’s accompanying post. “Thank you to those who came out and to the UCP candidates for their support.” The pictures and commentary alike have since disappeared from the Soldiers of Odin page.

Once published by Progress Alberta, though, the snapshots went viral in minutes. A lot of voters wondered just what it is about the UCP that makes people like the Soldiers of Odin feel comfortable at their get-togethers, and why for pity’s sake the party of Jason Kenney doesn’t give such characters the bum’s rush the instant they show up?

These are good questions. According to a Tweet yesterday by Mr. Kenney, he was “disturbed to learn that a UCP pub night in Edmonton was crashed by supporters of the fringe ‘Alberta Independence Party,’ including members of hate groups.”

Never mind that, as Progress Alberta soon revealed in a Tweet, with an image of the evidence, that the Soldiers of Odin had RSVP’d the invite on Facebook. Hey! Who actually reads their social media acknowledgments?

“Groups like the Soldiers of Odin are not welcome at UCP events, period,” the Conservative Opposition leader nevertheless said in another Tweet.

Ms. Williams and Ms. Houle posted a joint statement yesterday expressing similar sentiments. “We were unfortunately not aware of what the abbreviation ‘S.O.O’ stood for when these individuals entered the public venue in which the Constituency Association was holding an event, nor were we aware of this group’s disgusting views,” it said in part.

Ms. Williams added to that with a statement of her own, saying, “I was completely unaware of what ‘S.O.O.’ and Soldiers of Odin stood for. … Had I known their views I would have requested that they leave as their hate is not welcome in our party.”

I’m sure as far as the UCP is concerned, this ought to be enough, thank you very much, and could we all please forget about this by Tuesday morning?

Nomination candidate Lance Coulter at the same event (Photo: Facebook).

Still, this is odd, don’t you think? Just for starters, wouldn’t you expect someone at a major political party’s event to have thought to ask one of the visitors in vests with biker-style colours and hats emblazoned “S.O.O.” just whom they represented?

The photos aren’t clear, but the “Soldiers’” jackets appear to have patches on them with additional slogans. Did no one think to read them?

Regardless, we can reach two conclusions with confidence:

  1. No one from the Soldiers of Odin would have shown up in regalia at a meeting of any other Alberta political party running candidates in Edmonton – not the NDP, not the Alberta Party, not the Alberta Liberals, not the Greens.
  2. If they had been inclined to turn up anyway at a beer night organized by any of those other parties, they would have been immediately recognized for whom they were and shown the door.

Alberta voters are within their rights to wonder why the UCP keeps attracting far-right fringe groups, some of them quite unsavoury.

Whatever the answer is, it doesn’t show the UCP in a very good light.

I suppose we can be thankful Mr. Kenney himself doesn’t knowingly pose for photos with white supremacists as his bromantic partner Doug Ford sometimes does.

But while Mr. Kenney says the Soldiers of Odin are not welcome at UCP events, he has no problem speaking to a creationist fringe group and forgetting to mention it in his schedule or tolerating a campaign by anti-abortion organizations to assist candidates to win UCP nominations.

Meanwhile, this list of UCP nomination candidate bozo eruptions keeps growing: A Nazi meme scheme here, climate change denial there, a homophobic slur here, an anti-Muslim comment there. Why does the UCP attract these people?

NOTE: This story has been updated to reflect the discovery by Progress Alberta that the Soldiers of Odin had responded in advance to the UCP’s Facebook invitation with an RSVP. DJC

21 Comments to: Never mind the RSVP! UCP candidates’ reaction to storm over photos with ‘Soldiers of Odin’: We had no idea!

  1. Peter

    October 8th, 2018

    In the old days grandma would say birds of a feather flock together..

  2. Mohamed Mahdi

    October 8th, 2018

    I wonder why the third candidate in the nomination race in this riding for the UCP has yet to condemn SOO and their appearance at that event on Friday. Anyway I have a feeling this whole story will damage the UCP a bit.

    • David Climenhaga

      October 8th, 2018

      I just checked to make sure I am being fair to Mr. Coulter. As of Monday morning, no mention of this on his website, none on his Facebook page. DJC

      • Pogo

        October 9th, 2018

        I know you’re likely well set. I’m not. Neither are most I know. This isn’t a game. The losers here pay in real pain! I speak for us all when I say; we wouldn’t really care if we could have security of housing, healthcare, education and future. Right now? We could become accidental enemies of the Ford/Legault/Kenney state! I find it ironic that all three of them are against assisted suicide! Is it that they draw pleasure from pain and suffering?

    • Karyn-Calgary

      October 11th, 2018

      No one condems the NDP for giving money to the the most extreme mosque in edmonton or condems the liberals for having members of the muslim brotherhood working in the house of commons. Why are these extremists paraded around like far left groups who call for violence against their own citizens. I imagine the candidates here had a good conversation with these individuals as I have spoke with some members of the canadian SOO and I tell you. they actually care about the aboriginal rights and all of our rights that are being policied out of exsistence. They mandate nothing as extreme as shariah law. the point is this is not a left or right issue. this is not a race issue. this is a stop the united nations issue.

  3. J.E. Molnar

    October 8th, 2018

    This latest creepy incarnation of a UCP hot mess is either:
    A) Just another in a long-running series of UCP bozo eruptions
    B) Too dumb to be an MLA teachable moment
    C) I don’t give a sh*t UCP mentality

    Looks like another priceless moment—brought to you by Alberta’s alt-right conservatives. Sad.

  4. Bob Raynard

    October 8th, 2018

    Hey David, in the last photo, which one is the UCP candidate Lance Coulter?

  5. David

    October 8th, 2018

    The UC party does seemed plagued by extremists, like a dog plagued by fleas. Despite all the careful efforts to vet candidates they seem to still to find ways to say extreme things, or in this case hang out publically with extremists.

    All the vetting seems to have produced is candidates that are more loyal to Kenney and less inclined to think about the grassroots. In this case the UCP expects us to believe they truly had no idea what those SOO jackets, regalia and patches were? Are those UCP candidates truly that naive or do they just hope voters are the naive ones to believe that?

    Of course what really happened here was the UCP was once again playing footsie with extremists. It was all going according to their plan until they got caught and it was revealed in an embarassing post. They are courting the support of extremists so it is really no surprise this happened. As an old saying goes when you lie down with dogs you get fleas and the the once shiny new UCP has quicly become a very flea ridden party.

  6. Sam Gunsch

    October 8th, 2018

    re: Kenney’s claim they ‘crashed’ the gathering

    That’s not true. Some of the Soldiers had RSVP’d to UCP organizers via Facebook that they were going to the event.

    And their avatars don’t hide that they were SOO.

    My source is the photo shared back to Kenney on Twitter by one of the Progress organizer’s, who posted this tweet below. (the image the SOO’s RSVP’s doesn’t transfer here of course.)

    Jim Storrie @JimStorrie

    Replying to @jkenney

    ‘crashed’? they RSVP’d to it, Jason. the campaign had advance notice.

    • Sam Gunsch

      October 9th, 2018

      The anti-immigrants in their own words…UCP knew they were coming:

      ‘Alberta chapter president Tyson Hunt told CBC News the Soldiers of Odin informed the UCP one week in advance that they intended to attend the pub night.

      “So they knew we were there. We weren’t hiding. We never snuck in,” Hunt said on Tuesday while awaiting a tour of the Alberta Legislature.

      Hunt said the Soldiers of Odin colours are emblazoned on the backs of their jackets “clear as day,” and the group sought prior approval from the bar to show their colours before attending the Edmonton event.’

  7. Bob Raynard

    October 8th, 2018

    Is this what Jason Kenney means when he says the UCP is a big tent party?

  8. Jerrymacgp

    October 8th, 2018

    The Soldiers of Odin, and other hate groups, are clearly attracted to UCP events, but not to other parties’ events. Kenney et al. can deny it up & down, and loudly proclaim their disavowal of such groups, but the evidence is undeniable. If you are judged by the company you keep, the UCP has been so judged and found wanting.

  9. Political Ranger

    October 8th, 2018

    Kenny is just another smarmy acolyte of the criminal, harper. Their playbook is to lie, prevaricate and obfuscate. Why anyone would publicly align themselves with these low-lifes is beyond me.
    As a tip towards the general level of intelligence of these types, why on earth would anyone vote for someone who professes not a clue about the people in their neighbourhood? What else don’t they know about?
    Or as I surmise, they are just lying!

  10. Helen

    October 8th, 2018

    Shame UCP!

  11. brett

    October 8th, 2018

    Perhaps they were former Wild Rose members.

  12. Albertan

    October 9th, 2018

    “At the heart of all right-wing extremism is hatred and fear,” “CSIS wrote in an analysis obtained by the Star under access to information law.”
    This quote is from a “three-part series, where the Star looks at the rise of white-nationalist and right wing extremist groups in Canada and what authorities are doing to identify and suppress these threats.”
    This is to do with CSIS “seeing a significant jump in far-right activity online.” “Searches focused on neo-Nazi and white supremacist websites; David Duke former leader of the Ku Klux Klan in the United States; neo-Nazi phrases and code words; extreme right bands; and tattoos of swastikas or other white supremacist imagery,” tracked by Moonshot.
    The most far-right searches “relative to the population” in Canada have been in Ontario tracked in September of this year.
    Will Alberta folks, particularly the self-identified christian community, vote for the politics which appears to be attracting these radical hate groups?

  13. Pogo

    October 9th, 2018

    In an informal poll, conducted yesterday in Levis PQ, most respondents that would talk to me (yah enjoy yourselves) expressed admiration for the suffering of Albertans trapped under the jack boots of the socialists! They were also 100% in support of free everything for only the real ones (no joke, the demonize the other is gaining traction)! But I digress! Are Canadians as tragically illogical as their American and Mexican partners? Certainly Quebecois seem to be! What to do? Well, My advice is that for once (in it’s proven to be pitiful strategy), we have near a fete accompli, or bete noir occurrence that tells us our party should pour everything it has into your election campaign. A Stalingrad. Alaberta! Who knew? I guess when you have the best leader in Canada, maybe we should give up our fantasies and get behind a real good woman!

  14. brett

    October 9th, 2018

    Two comments.

    First of all for me, it is an indication of the intelligence of the UCP candidates and their advisers. One would have to be oblivious to the news events of the past 18 months not to realize who and what the SOO is all about. They are either very ignorant or they are poor liars. In either case, they should not be candidates.

    Secondly, to say that I find Jason Kenney’s response acceptable would be a gross understatement. Instead of mumbling something I would have preferred him to come out very strongly against this and also take some action to replace those candidates as a clear message to others who may be so inclined.

    It is long past the time when UCP need to stand up and take a very public stand on this type of nonsense. They are depreciating their brand by not doing so.

  15. Bob Raynard

    October 9th, 2018

    The UCP’s response to SOO attendance at their pub night makes it sound like they are accusing the SOO of trying to embrass them, and that the SOO isn’t really part of their base. The fact that SOO were willing to take down the photos as soon as the UCP complained about them, however, would suggest that they are, in fact, part of the UCP fold.

  16. Farmer Dave

    October 9th, 2018

    I wonder if those soldiers of odin who attended the UCP pub night were disciples of Stephen Harper/Preston Manning the self-identified school of the Christian community with Kenney as their supporter.


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