A United Conservative Party nomination candidate has been turfed after he and his fellow challengers were photographed with an anti-immigration group linked to neo-Nazis in Europe.
The party has informed Lance Coulter he is disqualified because his actions have harmed its reputation.
READ MORE: UCP clarifies its position after candidates pose for photos with the Soldiers of Odin
Coulter and two other candidates were photographed with members of the Soldiers of Odin at a pub event last week in the constituency of Edmonton-West Henday.
The party said the group, wearing jackets and hats identifying them, crashed the event unannounced, and the other two candidates have since denounced the group and its actions.
Coulter, however, told reporters he chatted with Soldiers of Odin because they were polite and because he believes in free speech.
In a letter to Coulter, UCP executive director Janice Harrington says “a polite racist is still a racist.”
“Our Leader Jason Kenney has been clear that such hateful groups are not welcome at UCP events.
“We disagree with your statement that ‘everybody has the right to attend’ UCP events. Hate and racial intolerance has no place in the United Conservative Party,” Harrington wrote.
View link »
“We strongly disagree with your seemingly sympathetic assessment of Soldiers of Odin and are frankly disturbed with your cavalier attitude taken to a hate group attending a United Conservative Party (UCP) event.”
READ MORE: Far-right Soldiers of Odin members ‘not afraid to use violence,’ intelligence report warns
“This incident has resulted in reputational harm to our party and its many members.
“We are also extremely disturbed to learn that you were knowingly aware that members of a controversial group accused of hate were at a UCP event, yet did not attempt to notify members of the constituency association immediately in order to protect the party’s reputation. What’s more, you declined to note your prior awareness to the party when the matter was raised with you on Sunday, thus further compounding the harm.”
— With files from Global News