United Conservative Leader Jason Kenney said his party will consider creating a database of Albertans known to have extremist views in an effort to prevent them from gaining membership.
“What we can maybe do is look into the dark corners of the internet into some of these hate sites,” he told reporters Tuesday, adding it could mean flagging certain party applicants.
His comments followed questions about a former call centre leader on Kenney’s leadership campaign who was kicked out of the UCP after he was reportedly linked to an online store that sells white supremacist memorabilia.
“We had several dozen young people working in our two leadership campaign phone banks and I guess he was one of them,” Kenney said. “I might have seen him at a couple of events but I didn’t have any direct employer-employee relationship with him.
“When we found out about his crazy online anonymous profile we pulled his membership.”
Kenney said it’s not possible to screen social media accounts of all party members, noting some people use pseudonyms.
“We’re a party of over 130,000 members, so I don’t find it surprising that you’re going to find the odd bad apple,” he said.
“One guy does not get to taint all of those people who are engaged in the democratic process.”
Kenney said the UCP is a mainstream party that values ethnic, religious and gender diversity.
“Of course, there is going to be the odd person who doesn’t agree with our belief in human dignity and equality before the law who try to attach themselves to our party,” he said. “If they have truly odious views, we’ll deal with them.”
The call centre controversy was the latest in a series of United Conservative supporters voicing or associating with people expressing hateful and intolerant views.
In October, three nomination candidates in a west Edmonton constituency were photographed with the anti-immigrant Soldiers of Odin group, although two of the candidates later said they were unaware of the group’s notoriety when they posed for pictures.
“There’s no way we can possibly do a screen on everyone who shows up at events, but we try to use our common sense,” Kenney said Tuesday.
With files from The Canadian Press
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