May 31, 2018 4:09 pm
Updated: May 31, 2018 11:56 pm

Canadian Legion cancels town hall planned by National Citizens Alliance in Halifax

The National Citizens Alliance marched in the 86th Annapolis Valley Apple Blossom Festival in Kentville, N.S., on May 26, 2018

National Citizens Alliance/Facebook
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A political party with controversial view on immigration and multiculturalism have been left scrambling after the Royal Canadian Legion cancelled a town hall it planned to hold at a legion building in Halifax on Friday.

The National Citizens Alliance (NCA) — which was recently banned from participating in the Annapolis Valley Apple Blossom Festival due to its political statements and platform — was set to host its meeting at the legion branch at 6158 Almon St. at 5:30 p.m.

But that’s no longer the case.

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READ MORE: Nova Scotia festival bans group with controversial views on immigration

The NCA

The National Citizens Alliance (NCA) is a political organization that is not an officially registered party but has committed to running candidates in the 2019 federal election.

It’s headquartered out of Calgary, Alta., and it says it stands up for “Canada’s traditional identity, heritage [and] culture.”

Among the group’s core tenants is the goal of implementing a “strong no nonsense immigration policy that puts the well-being and safety of the Canadian people first and implementing a temporary pause and substantial reduction in immigration.”

Stephen J. Garvey, leader of the National Citizens Alliance, said that it wanted to host a town hall to clear up the confusion that has plagued the group since it made headlines with its role in the apple blossom festival.

Legion event

Global News contacted the legion on Thursday to verify that an event was being hosted by the political organization at one of its properties.

Valerie Mitchell-Veinotte, executive director of the Nova Scotia/Nunavut Command, said that she would check. About 30 minutes later, Mitchell-Veinotte emailed the following statement.

“The original booking was made by an individual for a private function. When RCL Branch 27 learned that the booking was intended as a town hall meeting for the National Citizens Alliance, the booking was cancelled,” she wrote.

Attempts to clarify when the legion was alerted about the nature of the town hall meeting and when the booking was cancelled have gone unanswered.

Garvey told Global News that he was disappointed with the development — organizers had called on Thursday morning to confirm the booking.

“They had actually confirmed it with us,” Garvey said.

“Then someone higher up said no.”

The group was alerted only 20 minutes before receiving a call from Global News — approximately the same time Mitchell-Veinotte responded to our inquiries.

Garvey says despite the issues, the group will now meet at the Cambridge Suites Hotel.

Controversy at parade

The Annapolis Valley Apple Blossom Festival apologized on Sunday after it let the NCA walk in its parade.

“We apologize to anyone who may have felt unsafe at the Grand Street Parade because of this political party’s attendance and derogatory messaging,” organizers of the week-long festival in Kentville, N.S., said in a statement.

“Our Festival strives to be inclusive … and is dedicated to reconciliation.”

Garvey said on Thursday that he rejects the characterization of the party, adding that no one in his party made hateful comments or uttered any hate speech.

He argued that his organization was taking part in the parade just like many other political parties were.

“They’re the ones dividing people,” he said.

“If we offended people, that’s their problem, not ours. As far as we’re concerned, we probably added some nice spice to the festival.”

Garvey added his party doesn’t tolerate racism or supremacy.

 WATCH: Government documents reveal debate over threat from right-wing extremists

National Citizens Alliance

Other planks in the NCA’s proposed platform include the”integration” of new arrivals into the “basic cultural norms of Canada” and a belief that political correctness threatens Canada’s identity and culture.

The party’s website displays statements that are anti-Islam, including a belief that the burka or niqab is not part of Canada’s cultural norms and a claim that there are “no-go zones” and immigrant ghettos in Europe.

The idea of no-go zones holds that there are lawless Islamist neighbourhoods in Europe where Sharia law is imposed, and non-Muslims aren’t permitted.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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