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Alberta Premier Rachel Notley calls on UCP Leader Jason Kenney to stop ‘dog-whistle’ politics

Notley calls on Kenney to publicly condemn racism
WATCH ABOVE: Alberta's premier is calling on Opposition Leader Jason Kenney to "do more than tweet" his objection to racism and discrimination after a weekend controversy involving an alt-right group.

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley says Opposition Leader Jason Kenney must stop the “dog-whistle” politics she says is making hateful extremists believe they have a home in his United Conservative Party.

But Kenney is accusing Notley of exploiting a one-off event orchestrated by a “kooky” organization against the UCP and its candidates.

Candidates running for the UCP nomination in the constituency of Edmonton West Henday posed for pictures at a pub event last Friday with the Soldiers of Odin, an anti-immigration group that originated in Finland and has been linked to neo-Nazis in Europe. The Canadian branch says it is not racist but more of a neighbourhood watch.

“Why are these folks showing up at these events and feeling as though they are welcomed?” Notley said at the legislature Tuesday.

“If you use dog-whistle politics enough, eventually soon enough people are going to respond to the whistle.”

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

Notley described such politics as a “subtle embracing of issues that are designed to attract people with fairly extreme opinions to your movement. That’s something that we’ve been seeing on the right more and more.”

Watch: Alberta Premier Rachel Notley is calling on UCP Leader Jason Kenney to “stop approving candidates for nomination who espouse hate.” It comes after three UCP candidates appeared to pose for photos with members of the extremist hate group Soldiers of Odin at a UCP function at an Edmonton pub Friday night.

Alberta premier calls on UCP leader to address candidates who ‘espouse hate’ in any form
Alberta premier calls on UCP leader to address candidates who ‘espouse hate’ in any form

Two of the candidates, Kenney, and the riding association say the Soldiers of Odin crashed the event and the candidates didn’t know who they were with when they posed for photos. They unreservedly denounced the group’s views.

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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.
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
UCP Edmonton-West Henday candidate Nicole Williams poses with members of the Soldiers of Odin Friday, Oct. 5, 2018.
UCP Edmonton-West Henday candidate Nicole Williams poses with members of the Soldiers of Odin Friday, Oct. 5, 2018. Credit: Facebook: Soldiers of Odin Edmonton
Members of the Soldiers of Odin pose for photos at a UCP event in Edmonton Friday, Oct. 5, 2018.
Members of the Soldiers of Odin pose for photos at a UCP event in Edmonton Friday, Oct. 5, 2018. Credit: Facebook: Soldiers of Odin Edmonton
Members of the Soldiers of Odin pose for photos at a UCP pub night in Edmonton Friday, Oct. 5, 2018.
Members of the Soldiers of Odin pose for photos at a UCP pub night in Edmonton Friday, Oct. 5, 2018. Credit: Facebook: Soldiers of Odin Edmonton
Members of the Soldiers of Odin pose for photos at a UCP event in Edmonton Friday, Oct. 5, 2018.
Members of the Soldiers of Odin pose for photos at a UCP event in Edmonton Friday, Oct. 5, 2018. Credit: Facebook: Soldiers of Odin Edmonton
Members of the Soldiers of Odin pose for photos at a UCP event in Edmonton Friday, Oct. 5, 2018.
Members of the Soldiers of Odin pose for photos at a UCP event in Edmonton Friday, Oct. 5, 2018. Credit: Facebook: Soldiers of Odin Edmonton

Notley said what happened highlights a trend in right-wing politics and Kenney’s party. She noted that others running for candidacy in the UCP in recent months have either been rejected or allowed to run despite expressing bigoted comments.

“This is not an isolated incident,” said Notley.

“We also look at this pattern that we see developing with respect to the proliferation of candidates with that (UCP) party that also appear to hold views that are rooted in hate.”

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She said such views must be challenged loudly and repeatedly, and called on Kenney to do more than send out statements on social media.

“He needs to speak directly to it … and very definitively declare, not only his position, but what they will do to stop it from happening in the future.”

Watch below: Alberta Premier Rachel Notley says the UCP needs to take more leadership when it comes to approving candidates for nomination. Notley said there is a “troubling trend” that needs to be addressed and that hateful views will not be accepted in government.

Kenney, speaking in Calgary, noted that one of the people seeking the nomination in West Henday is Cree and another is Metis.

“It’s unfortunate but I’m not entirely surprised the premier is going into gutter politics,” he said.

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“It would be nicer if the premier were actually to stand in solidarity with our Aboriginal nomination candidates, who were obviously the targets of political mischief.

“This has nothing to do with our candidates.”

WATCH: Alberta UCP Leader Jason Kenney says he is sad to see the NDP playing into “political mischief” when it comes to claims involving his party and the Soldiers of Odin.

Kenney sad to see NDP playing into ‘political mischief’ involving Soldiers of Odin
Kenney sad to see NDP playing into ‘political mischief’ involving Soldiers of Odin

Since taking leadership of the UCP, Kenney has made it clear in speeches and statements that those who foster hate have no place in his party and that they will not be allowed to run in the spring election.

There have been controversies with some UCP candidates.

Todd Beasley was disqualified as a candidate in Brooks-Medicine Hat in the summer after making anti-Islamic comments on social media.

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READ MORE: Todd Beasley defends anti-Muslim Facebook posts after removal from Brooks-Medicine Hat UCP nomination

Also in the summer, Sandra Kim was allowed to run for the nomination of Maskwacis-Wetaskiwin despite homophobic social media comments from 2015.

READ MORE: UCP candidate apologizes for comments opposing Fort McMurray mosque

Cindy Ross, a one-time nominee for Calgary Fish Creek, apologized last month for online comments she made years ago opposing the opening of a mosque in Fort McMurray.