An MP of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party slammed protests in his city directed against returning Islamic State fighters, calling the protestors “racists” and “white supremacists.”
Liberal Party MP for St. Catherines Chris Bittle took to Facebook earlier this week to condemn a protest against Islamic State fighters returning from the Middle East to Canada in front of his office.
When white supremacists schedule a protest at your office you know you're doing something right.
— Chris Bittle (@Chris_Bittle) January 2, 2018
For Mr Bittle, the four or so people who carried signs reading “Jail ISIS Fighters” were, in his words, “white supremacists”, using the issue of Islamic State fighters to “promote their hateful, racist views.”
Since making the post Bittle has received over two thousand comments, with many asking Mr Bittle to point out the protesters’ links to white supremacist movements or ideologies. While Bittle did link to an post allegedly made by a person who he claimed led the protest which contained anti-Muslim imagery, many were not satisfied.
When one user asked Bittle to “put Canadians first” and refuse entry for returning Islamic State fighters, Bittle said “returning fighters are Canadians who have not been charged with a crime”. He added that most returnees had come back to Canada under the previous conservative government.
Returning Islamic State fighters have become a major issue in Canada, with many seeing the Liberal government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau being incredibly weak on the issue.
Many slammed Mr Trudeau when he insisted that returning fighters would be deradicalised with podcasts and poetry, and that many of the returnees would be “an extraordinarily powerful voice for preventing radicalization.”
— Conservative Party (@CPC_HQ) September 28, 2015
According to official Canadian statistics, around 60 Islamic State fighters have returned to Canada, although the Liberal government refers to them as “extremist travellers.”
One of the biggest critics of Trudeau has been Conservative leader Andrew Scheer, who in November got into a heated exchange in the House of Commons with the Prime Minister, questioning why he is “so focused on reintegration and not putting these people in jail.”