Maxime Bernier talked about his plan to limit immigration in an interview with two members of the controversial Yellow Vest movement on Thursday.
The Peoples’ Party of Canada leader was interviewed by Derek Storie and Rick Boswick, who have ties to Tim Keizer, the man arrested on Wednesday for uttering threats during a small Yellow Vest protest at a Mississauga fundraising event for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Video footage shows the pair present at the time of Keizer’s arrest.
In Canada, the Yellow Vest movement is a loose network of people who promote a general sense of anger toward the Liberal government, and a range of other views from pro-oil to anti-immigration sentiments.
Storie and Boswick filmed the five-minute conversation with Bernier at a People’s Party of Canada event at a bar in Toronto and posted it on their Facebook pages. It was also shared on YouTube by Rise Canada, a group that purports to “defend Canadian values.” Rise Canada’s website features a video showing a march against what’s described as “radical Islam.”
A spokesperson for the RCMP confirmed to Global News that Keizer was arrested at the Mississauga event and charged with two counts of uttering threats to cause bodily harm, but did not say whether he was involved with the Yellow Vest protesters.
“We have no information in regards to the Yellow Vest movement,” the spokesperson wrote in an email. “We can confirm that no other individuals were arrested at the same time.”
Storie and Boswick’s Facebook profile photos show a man behind bars with the hashtag #imtimkeizer.
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Global News spoke over the phone with Storie and Boswick on Friday. They said they were speaking from the Brampton courthouse, where they were supporting Keizer, a fellow Yellow Vester, during a court appearance.
Storie and Boswick said they denounce such comments.
They added that they will decide whom they will vote for closer to the Oct. 21 federal election. Boswick said that Bernier offers a platform that is “most in line” with their values.
“What the Yellow Vest movement offers is an umbrella identifier to every citizen that hates the current government,” Boswick said.
In their interview with Bernier on Thursday, Storie and Boswick asked the party leader questions, many of which were related to immigration.
“So happy to meet you again,” Boswick told Bernier in footage taken on a mobile phone. The audio quality is compromised frequently as the phone vibrates repeatedly.
In response to Boswick’s question about whether he would “address” members of “violent antifa” or anti-fascists, Bernier responded that he will not try to please “every special interest group.”
“All the other leaders and politicians, they’re afraid. It’s always more and more and more immigrants,” Bernier continued. “For us, you need to look at it and have a real discussion, national discussion, and that’s why we want fewer immigrants to be sure that the people who are coming here share our Canadian values and they will be able to work and participate in our society.”
Global News emailed Bernier for comment on Friday but did not receive a reply prior to publication. The PPC hosted a “pub night” at Shoxs in Toronto on Thursday, according to the party’s website.
Bernier and Conservative leader Andrew Scheer have faced criticism for addressing “United We Roll” protesters with ties to the Yellow Vest movement during a demonstration on Parliament Hill in February.