Politics

Jagmeet Singh says there's a link between anti-maskers and far-right extremism

Federal New Democratic Party Leader Jagmeet Singh is the latest to say he believes there's a connection between anti-mask and anti-lockdown protests and far-right extremism.

Refusing to listen to COVID-19 health orders is dangerous and needs to be called out, says NDP leader

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh says 'there is a connection' between anti-maskers and the far right in Canada. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)

Federal New Democratic Party Leader Jagmeet Singh is the latest to say he believes there's a connection between anti-mask and anti-lockdown protests and far-right extremism.

Singh's comments come as rallies against COVID-19 health orders are being staged across the country while health professionals battle a deadly third wave of the pandemic.

"To brazenly not follow public health guidelines puts people at risk and that is something that we've seen with extreme right-wing ideology," he told reporters Monday.

Some Canadians say they're frustrated with what they see as a lack of police enforcement in response to anti-lockdown demonstrations and a few premiers have promised stiffer fines for COVID-19 rule-breakers.

Singh said some of the people being drawn to recent protests are affiliated with far-right groups. 

Anti-lockdown and anti-mask protesters take part in a rally outside the Alberta Legislature in Edmonton on Monday, April 12, 2021. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press)

He said he sees a link between those refusing to follow public-health advice and the ideologies of the extreme right because both show a disregard for the well-being of others and put people at risk. 

"There is a connection, certainly," he said.

Singh said refusing to listen to COVID-19 health orders is dangerous and needs to be called out. 

In an interview with Global News, Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi recently called such demonstrations "thinly veiled white nationalist, supremacist anti-government protests."

And last month, a deputy director of the Canadian Anti-Hate Network noted more conspiracy theorists and far-right groups were attaching themselves to the anti-lockdown and anti-mask movement.

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