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Community advocate calling on Canadian politicians to dismantle extreme right-wing groups

Citynews 1130 Vancouver

Last Updated Jan 16, 2021 at 3:05 pm PDT

FILE - Parliament Hill is viewed below a Canada flag in Gatineau, Quebec, Friday, Sept. 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Law enforcement agencies across the U.S. are preparing for threats of possible violence by extremists Sunday

One Vancouver observer is reminding Canadians white supremacy exists here too

Markiel Simpson with the B.C. Community Alliance says Canadian leaders should do more to prevent similar movements

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — An observer in B.C. wants to see politicians do more to curb the threat of white supremacy in the province and across Canada.

Markiel Simpson with the B.C. Community Alliance says white supremacy exists within the country and governments haven’t been doing enough to dismantle those groups these past few years.This comes as the eyes of the world are on the United States, where several extremist right-wing marches are reportedly planned for Sunday at U.S. state capitols ahead of Joe Biden’s inauguration next week.

“I think that politicians are only now developing a language at which to use when confronting white supremacy,” said Simpson. “So, they’re catching up to the language that’s coming from the grassroots level.”

Last week, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said it’s time Canada put the Proud Boys on its list of designated terrorist groups. The organization believes in white and male supremacy while openly advocating for violence as a solution to political problems.

“Domestic terrorism fueled by ultra-right-wing groups are the most pressing and real threat to not just Canadian security, but in the U.S., and around the world,” Singh said.

The group was founded by a Canadian and is banned from certain social media sites.

Members of the Proud Boys took part in the attack on the U.S. Capitol building last week. The Canadian flag was even spotted among the crowd storming the building.

An NDP petition to add the group to the Canadian terror organization list has racked up tens of thousands of signatures.

Singh’s announcement followed Canadian Department of National Defense reports that right-wing extremism is likely to grow in Canada and around the world.

The federal government said it is weighing whether to add the Proud Boys and other right-wing groups to the country’s list of terrorist organizations. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the government is serious about right-wing extremism, pointing to recent additions to Canada’s list of designated terror groups.

Simpson tells NEWS 1130 he doesn’t see an insurrection at the same level of the U.S. He says violence created by these groups are mislabeled when reported.

“Instead of calling it extremism – like it truly is – we’ve used terms like the ‘alt-right’ and the ‘far-right’ … I think that we already are witnessing what can happen when they mobilize their signs going up,” he said.

Apart from politicians, Simpson says the only way communities can attempt to counteract white supremacy in forms of extremism is to try and cancel it with “radical love and radical solidarity” and show up for marginalized communities.

“I think it’s really important that people get involved in trying to counteract, or just trying to get involved in improving their communities as best they can. If they think that something needs to be improved at their school board, contact the school board and go and talk to them, then write to their MLAs, and to their members of parliament, and take accountability as far as we can in our own community, to try and improve it and not wait for somebody else,” he said.

“I think the more that we reflect on the privileges that we hold, we can start to try and empathize more with the marginalized groups that are most affected by hate in our society. And we can try and find ways to help those marginalized groups.”

Meanwhile, in the U.S., the FBI is warning law enforcement about extremists’ possible violence during Sunday’s planned protests.