NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh called the security breach at the U.S. Capitol an “act of domestic terrorism,” and warned Canada is not immune to the same kind of hate paraded by supporters of outgoing President Donald Trump.
Singh’s initial statement Wednesday, released shortly after rioters stormed the halls of Congress, blamed Trump by name for inciting the day’s violence. The outgoing president, who repeatedly has made baseless claims of voter fraud after losing to Democrat Joe Biden, encouraged supporters at a so-called “Save America” rally to march to the Capitol, telling them “you’ll never take back our country with weakness.”
Watch: Inside the Capitol after a day of mob violence. Story continues below video.
The NDP leader released a lengthy statement Thursday calling leaders and politicians to “end divisive rhetoric and end the flaming of hatred.” The chaos caused by a pro-Trump mob “was a direct result of dangerous, divisive speech,” Singh said, adding that Canadians are also at risk.
“While we may be quick to say this is a problem that exists only in the United States – hate knows no borders,” he said, pointing out how “over 300 white supremacists groups are operating in our country.”
The number references a statistic from University of Ontario Institute of Technology researcher Barbara Perry, cited in the Toronto Star during a 2019 interview.
Singh specifically mentioned the Proud Boys, a neo-facist, male-only political group co-founded by Canadian Gavin McInnes. The NDP leader called the group an “extremist” organization that “promotes white supremacist views,” and found additional international attention after Trump told the far-right group to “stand by” during a presidential debate.
“And since then, they’ve escalated their hatred. Armed with deadly weapons yesterday, they joined the group that led the assault on the U.S. Capitol,” Singh said.
He called on the government to immediately ban and “dismantle all hate organizations operating in Canada” starting with designating the Proud Boys as a terrorist organization.
In the U.S., the Proud Boys are categorized as an “extremist” group by the Federal Bureau of Investigation due to their ties with white nationalism.
Canada has a list of terrorist groups, but does not have a system to classify “extremist” groups similar to American authorities.
Singh’s extended statement comes 24 hours after a rioting crowd stormed through the U.S. Capitol building, forcing lawmakers and their staff to flee and shelter in place for their safety.
Conservatives say Trump ‘incited’ violence
On Wednesday, Singh and Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet both took to Twitter to call out the outgoing U.S. president by name, blaming him for the chaos in Washington.
“The horror unfolding in Washington is frightening and it was incited by Donald Trump,” tweeted Singh, who in November publicly urged Americans to vote Trump out of office.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole both released tweets condemning the attack on democracy, without directly criticizing Trump. The prime minister has long avoided directly commenting on Trump’s actions, often telling reporters he has a responsibility to work with whoever is in the White House
Roughly 24 hours later, Conservative foreign affairs critic Michael Chong released a statement that noted Trump stirred up the rioters ahead of the attack.
“The violence of an unruly mob incited by outgoing President Trump that attacked America’s national legislature in Washington, D.C., that was meeting to certify the results of the recent U.S. election, is an affront to the shared principles that both Canada and the United States have had in common for more than a century,” Chong said in the release.
“Principles such as a belief in democracy and the rule of law, and in the peaceful transition of power based on democratic elections.”
Chong said Conservatives are calling on Trump and his supporters to “respect the will of the American people, respect the will of states who have confirmed these results, and respect the will of American courts that have reaffirmed these results.”
While O’Toole retweeted Chong’s statement without any comment, Deputy Conservative Leader Candice Bergen posted that she strongly condemned “the violence incited by outgoing President Trump yesterday in and around the Capitol Building.”
But at least two Liberal MPs took to social media to criticize O’Toole for having run in last year’s Conservative leadership race on a promise to “take back Canada.”
Mark Gerretsen, MP for the Ontario riding of Kingston and the Islands, shared a split-screen photo of O’Toole’s tweet condemning the riot in the U.S. Capitol and a screengrab of a video from his leadership campaign invoking the slogan and asking supporters to “join the fight.”
Iqra Khalid, the MP for Mississauga—Erin Mills, shared a similar photo, saying O’Toole “borrows from Trump’s messaging.”
Khalid tweeted that U.S. politicians thought they could “play with the radical right” and borrow their language without getting burned.
“Yesterday, we saw the consequences - you can’t control the fires you help to light and stoke,” she said. “Erin O’Toole needs to learn that lesson before the fires he is currently lighting come back to burn us all.”
In September, O’Toole told CBC Radio’s “The Early Edition with Stephen Quinn” that the slogan was in the “same vein” as Trudeau’s proclamation that Canada was “back” after Liberals won government in 2015.
It was meant to invoke “getting things back on track,” he said at the time. “In my case, after four and a half years of Mr. Trudeau, we’re more divided as a country.”