The leader of the People’s Party of Canada says the tweets by one of his candidates calling Islam “pure evil” and calling for the religion to be banned in Canada were racist but says she will not face consequences for her statements.
In several social media posts made earlier this year, Sybil Hogg, the People’s Party of Canada (PPC) candidate for Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook, said Islam is “not compatible with Canadian values of democracy,” that the religion “has no place in Canadian society” and that Islam “should be banned in Canada.”
She came under fire for the comments this week. In a Facebook post on Thursday, she said she had failed to distinguish between Islam and what she called “radical Islam.”
Bernier addressed her comments on Friday at a rally in Halifax, where supporters applauded promises to cut down on “mass immigration” and to balance the federal budget in two years.
“She did a mistake,” Bernier said. “She’s not against Islam, she’s not against Muslims, she’s with us. She was speaking about radical Islam and political Islam and she’s still part of our party. I appreciate her explanation on that.”
Hogg didn’t attend the rally at the Halifax Marriott Harbourfront Hotel and did not respond to requests for comment.
Bernier said she will not face consequences as a result of the tweets.
His answers didn’t satisfy protesters outside, who say the PPC isn’t welcome in Canada.
Isabelle Reynolds was one of more than a dozen protesters outside the event.
“Really, it’s incumbent on community and Canadians to denounce that kind of thing, not only politically and publicly, but also in our classrooms and private conversations. I think it’s really important,” said Reynolds.
John Grant, who runs the Urban Halifax blog and exposed the Islamophobic tweets made by Hogg, says he was shocked when he read them.
“Some of them are just absolutely insane and completely off the deep end,” Grant told Global News in a phone interview earlier this week.
“To see a candidate in Halifax for the party say explicitly that Islam is a pure evil religion with no place in Canada, that’s a slap in the face to the 10,000 or so that live in Halifax.”
With files from Graeme Benjamin