A banner listing the names of the six men killed in a mass shooting at a Quebec City mosque this week was hung from the constituency office of Conservative MP and leadership candidate Kellie Leitch.
Images of Leitch’s office in Collingwood, Ont. surfaced online early Wednesday.
“Hate puts us all at risk,” the banner reads, before citing the six people who were gunned down Sunday night during evening prayers:
- Azzeddine Soufiane, 57
- Khaled Belkacemi, 60
- Aboubaker Thabti, 44
- Abdelkrim Hassane, 41
- Ibrahima Barry, 39
- Mamadou Tanou Barry, 42.
— Ally G (@algibbons) February 1, 2017
Though the banner includes the term "#notmymp," the organizer behind a lawn sign campaign using that hashtag in Leitch’s Simcoe-Grey riding told the Collingwood Connection Tuesday that her group was not responsible.
Leitch has called for immigrants, refugees, and visitors to screened for so-called “anti-Canadian values” and raised eyebrows by lauding the election of Donald Trump last November.
Though she has long denied that the controversial policy is directed at Muslims, fellow Tory leadership rival Michael Chong dismissed it as “dog-whistle politics”and xenophobic.
Leitch not backing down
Leitch told The Globe and Mail’s Laura Stone Tuesday that it is “ridiculous” for anyone try to link her proposal to the attack, arguing her policy could also apply to white supremacists.
Though Leitch’s campaign has been endorsed by two white nationalist groups, she suggested during a previous interview that she was not overly concerned about racists gravitating to her.
“I’m not one [a racist] myself,” she told AM640 in November. “It is not for me to speak about other individuals.”
Statement after mosque attack did not mention Muslims
Like other Tory leadership candidates, Leitch released a statement Monday condemning the shooting, but her remarks notably did not mention that the attack took place in a mosque or that the victims were Muslims.
Colin Walmsley, a University of Oxford student, later took to Twitter with an edited version of Leitch's statement that created a splash on social media.
— Colin Walmsley (@ColinWalmsley) January 31, 2017
Chong also released a fiery statementthis week, saying it was time to root out politicians who are “playing footsie with hate.”
His release did not mention Leitch, but noted that one of his leadership rivals has been endorsed by white supremacist groups.
“Proposals to add an additional screen for immigrants based on anti-Canadian values is not a practical solution, and frankly, is playing to fears and prejudices,” Chong said in the statement.
“Demagogues and wannabe demagogues, playing to fears and prejudices, have created the space for hate to grow. The politicians espousing these policies may do it in a genteel fashion that sounds acceptable, but check out the comments on their social media platforms and you will find cesspools of hate.”
This mosque attack is no accident: It's a direct result of demagogues and wannabe demagogues playing to fears and prejudices 1/3
— Michael Chong (@MichaelChongMP) January 30, 2017
Chong also wrote on Twitter that, yes, he was angry: "This is Canada. This was an attack on real Canadian values enshrined in the Charter: religious freedom."
The Huffington Post Canada has reached out to Leitch for comment.