Winnipeg's Belgian Club has asked a volunteer board member to step down after she allegedly spouted anti-immigrant rhetoric at protesters during a Canadian Nationalist Party meeting.
On Saturday night, Winnipeg Police say they were called to the Belgian Club to settle a verbal dispute between two groups, which ended up being members of the newly formed Canadian Nationalist Party and members of Fascist Free Treaty 1 (FF1).
FF1 organizer Omar Kinnarath says when they arrived, they were met by the Belgian Club treasurer and a few members of the party.
"A few words were exchanged and some debate happened but there was no violence," Kinnarath said. "The treasurer of the club, who seemed like she was part of the meeting as well, called the police and expressed some of her anti-immigrant thoughts and theories about white replacement to us."
"We went to confront them and told them that ethno-nationalism and mono-cultural identity isn't compatible with this community," he continued. "Winnipeg is a multicultural city and we're happy about that."
Although the Belgian Club didn't name the volunteer or reveal what she said, a statement released on their Facebook page said the club has asked a female board member to step down, which she has agreed to do.
"In early July a member of our staff took a booking from an outside organization without fully realizing who or what the Canadian Nationalist Party represents," the statement says. "Regrettably, during the ensuing protest yesterday, one our our board members expressed her personal views that do not represent the history, heritage or values of the Belgium Club."
The statement also noted the club is full of members whose fathers and grandfathers fought in the First World War and Second World War against fascism to defend democracy and human rights.
The Canadian Nationalist Party started in 2017 and takes a hard-line stance on immigration and a variety of other topics.
The group's Facebook page says it has applied to Elections Canada with the hopes of becoming an official federal party.
Kinnarath says the Nationalist Party meeting was small, but he's still concerned that a group with what he calls "far-right leanings" can set up in Winnipeg and try to recruit members.
"It's a very fringe party at this point," Kinnarath said. "Their ideology is pretty much in line with populist groups in the States and in Europe and we're seeing more of those groups pop up. Winnipeg is fortunate that there doesn't seem to be a lot of support for them."
Const. Rob Carver of the Winnipeg Police Service says police successfully separated the two groups and no arrests were made during the incident.