October 7, 2018 7:19 pm
Updated: October 9, 2018 11:54 am

UCP clarifies its position after candidates pose for photos with the Soldiers of Odin

UCP Edmonton-West Henday candidate Leila Houle, left, poses with members of the Soldiers of Odin at a UCP pub night on Friday, Oct. 5, 2018.

Credit: Facebook: Soldiers of Odin Edmonton

In a Twitter post Sunday, Alberta’s United Conservative Party says it does not share the “hateful views” of the Soldiers of Odin.

The party attempted to distance itself from the far-right group, which Canadian border officials have described as “members that adhere to extreme right-wing ideology and are not afraid to use violence.”

READ MORE: Edmonton protesters confront far-right group that CBSA report suggests is ‘not afraid to use violence’

It comes after three UCP candidates appeared to pose for photos with members of the extremist hate group at a UCP function at an Edmonton pub Friday night.

In the photos, UCP candidates Leila Houle, Nicole Williams, and Lance Coulter pose along side people wearing clothing branded with the letters ‘S.O.O.’

WATCH: Soldiers of Odin members arrested

Several members of the Soldiers of Odin are visible in the photos, all wearing clothing and hats with the letters ‘S.O.O.’ on it.

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UCP Edmonton-West Henday Constituency Association president Terry Howlett took to Twitter Sunday to clarify what happened, explaining that “Our UCP constituency association was not immediately aware of what the abbreviation ‘S.O.O.’ stood for.”

Howlett went on to explain the “Soldiers of Odin and their hateful views are not welcome in our organization.”

Candidates Leila Houle and Nicole Williams also took to Twitter to clarify their stance.

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In 2017, Global News obtained a declassified Canada Border Services Agency intelligence report about the Soldiers of Odin that said “the group’s nature has raised concerns of anti-immigration vigilantism.”

“Members of the SOO are generally Caucasian males between the ages of 20 and 40 who adhere to right-wing politics and ideology – some members adhere to extreme right-wing ideology and are not afraid to use violence to achieve objectives,” the CBSA report said.

READ MORE: Far-right Soldiers of Odin members ‘not afraid to use violence,’ intelligence report warns

UCP leader Jason Kenney said the event was “crashed” by the “hate group.”

The SOO were founded as an anti-immigration group in Finland in 2015. The Canadian group formed the following year and its members have said it is independent of the European group and that it is not racist. Instead, it has presented itself as a community volunteer group.

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