NDP leader Jagmeet Singh listens to a question as he speaks with reporters on Parliament Hill, Wednesday, May 5, 2021 in Ottawa. Singh says he believes there’s a connection between anti-mask and anti-lockdown protests and far-right extremism. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh listens to a question as he speaks with reporters on Parliament Hill, Wednesday, May 5, 2021 in Ottawa. Singh says he believes there’s a connection between anti-mask and anti-lockdown protests and far-right extremism. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Jagmeet Singh says link exists between anti-maskers and far-right extremism

Singh’s comments come as rallies against COVID-19 health orders are being staged across the country

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 many provincial doctors 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.

These demonstrations have been met with frustration from some in the public over what they say appears to be a lack of police enforcement, and a few premiers have promised stiffer fines for COVID-19 rule-breakers.

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

He says 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.”

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

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi earlier called such demonstrations “thinly veiled white nationalist, supremacist anti-government protests” to Global’s “The West Block.”

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

Stephanie Taylor, The Canadian Press

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