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PPC critic demands apology, takes legal action against party over 'doxxing'

Last Updated Sep 18, 2019 at 8:51 am MST

FILE - Maxime Bernier speaks at a People's Party of Canada rally in Gatineau, Que., Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Patrick Doyle
Summary

A man who was apparently called a 'terrorist' by the CEO of a PPC riding association is taking legal action


Omar Kinnarath's lawyer has sent a demand letter to Maxime Bernier, two PPC candidates, and a third party member


A tweet by the Winnipeg Centre riding association posted Kinnarath's address, phone number and email online


WINNIPEG (NEWS 1130) — Maxime Bernier and his party are at the centre of legal action after a riding association apparently called an anti-fascist activist a ‘terrorist’ on social media, and posted his private information.

Omar Kinnarath’s lawyer sent the demand letter Tuesday morning, naming the party’s leader, Winnipeg PPC candidates Yogi Henderson and Steven Fletcher, and former CEO of the Winnipeg Centre riding association Monique Choiselat. The letter demands a public apology from Bernier, and statement of retraction by the two candidates over comments they made to the Winnipeg Free Press after the social media post was first reported.

“I want Maxime to formally apologize from his entire party about the comments his former [Electoral District Association] made, also to acknowledge that there is rampant white supremacy and racism in the PPC,” he says.

A screenshot of a tweet by PPC Winnipeg Centre obtained by NEWS 1130 says “Terrorism is not Free Speech. Just saying…” It includes Kinnarath’s former home address, phone number, and email. The image was also apparently shared on Choiselat’s private Facebook page.

Kinnarath says the post was made after he lobbied a Winnipeg art gallery to cancel a PPC rally this summer.

“The only thing I can say is, it was pettiness, and they weren’t thinking properly, and they wanted to get at me for some reason,” he says. “The interesting thing is they picked the picture […] with a Palestinian flag in the background, but they didn’t pick a picture of me, you know, being a regular person with my son or at the Jets game.”

RELATED: PPC ousts candidate who asks Bernier to denounce racism in ranks

While he says as an activist he faces a lot of attention and criticism, that doesn’t mean this kind of behavior is okay.

“Just because I have the physical and emotional capacity to handle […] the situation doesn’t mean it should happen. Because there are other folks who wouldn’t be able to handle this, who would affect their physical health or mental health,” he says.

“I was visited by a couple of right-wing Youtubers who are PPC supporters — I do have pictures of them with Maxime Bernier — who came into my store and accosted me, and I had to get security to remove them because I didn’t want to engage with them.”

The legal letter says his privacy was violated and it amounts to ‘the tort of intentional infliction of mental suffering.’

Former riding CEO, candidate responds

Monique Choiselat, the former CEO of the Winnipeg Centre riding association, is not backing down from her comments.


In a request for comment on the legal action, Choiselat wrote in an email that she has been harassed since she “exposed this abomination,” and hasn’t been supported by the party.

“I simply don’t care who it is. If someone commits a vile act, terrorizing a vulnerable person to fulfill his or her own agenda, even if the victim will not stand up for her or himself, I will call it out. All Canadians must, if we want to preserve our civilized, law abiding country.”

PPC Candidate Steven Fletcher, formerly MP for the Conservatives and Independent MLA, says while he completely disagrees with the social media posts, he stands by the comments he made to the Winnipeg Free Press that led Kinnarath to name him in the demand letter.

“In the context with that particular story, the quote is true. All the other stuff around the quote and in the letter, have nothing to do with me, or my comment,” Fletcher wrote in a Facebook message.


Fletcher told the Winnipeg Free Press in July that “The original sin is this person (Kinnarath) threatening a free and democratic activity and a business.”

NEWS 1130 has reached out the PPC and the Henderson for comment, but has not received a response.