Group with controversial immigration views to rally in Halifax park after 3 venues cancel

The National Citizens Alliance marched in the 86th Annapolis Valley Apple Blossom Festival in Kentville, N.S., on Saturday.
The National Citizens Alliance marched in the 86th Annapolis Valley Apple Blossom Festival in Kentville, N.S., on Saturday. National Citizens Alliance/Facebook

A political group with controversial views on immigration and multiculturalism says it has been “forced” to gather at a Halifax public park after three different venues rejected their attempts to book space for a town hall meeting.

The rally is scheduled for 5:30 AT at Victoria Park in the city’s downtown.

The National Citizens Alliance (NCA), based out of Calgary, is not an officially registered party, but has committed to running candidates in the 2019 federal election.

Among the NCA’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.”

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

Their leader, Stephen Garvey, says a Royal Canadian Legion hall, a church and hotel have all cancelled their bookings in Halifax in the span of a day.

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“Now we’re in this situation where we can’t hold a private event. We’re forced to go to Victoria Park, We just don’t have any more options,” he told Global News.

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“This is suppressing freedoms … we didn’t utter any hate speech. We were just expressing what we stand for. That’s another example of being suppressed.”

Garvey and his group first made headlines in Nova Scotia when they marched in last weekend’s Annapolis Valley Apple Blossom Festival in Kentville, N.S., prompting the festival to apologize publicly.

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

The group then booked the legion branch at 6158 Almon St. in Halifax for a town hall-style meeting scheduled for Friday evening.

However, the legion cancelled the booking shortly after Global News made an inquiry on Thursday.

“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,” said a statement from Valerie Mitchell-Veinotte, executive director of the Nova Scotia/Nunavut Command.

The NCA then booked a gymnasium at a Halifax church.

“An hour later, I got a call from the head priest and he said he was reading in the news we were anti-immigrant, which we are not, and their church is pro-immigrant and they were not going to let us hold our private event there,” Garvey explained.

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According to the group’s Facebook page, the venue was then changed to the Cambridge Suites Hotel in Halifax.

But Garvey says that the booking, which he says was confirmed on Thursday, was cancelled on Friday morning.

“I got a call this morning that they were revoking it. They gave some kind of excuse that they were already booked,” he said.

Global News contacted the hotel but has not heard back.

Garvey, who says he is a first-generation Canadian himself with immigrant parents, says mass immigration in Canada has “gotten out of hand” but claims his party “condemns all forms of racism and supremacy.”

He adds he was prompted to visit Nova Scotia because of the support the region has given him.

“We have a lot of support in the Maritimes. We came to connect with our members and to reach out,” he said.

— With a file from Alexander Quon

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