The venerable Calgary Petroleum Club has expressed regrets about an event held in its facility that featured the controversial, far-right German politician Christine Anderson.
“Although we provided the facility for that event, we did not host the event, but we still acknowledge the concerns that have been raised,” the private club said in a statement on Tuesday.
Club general manager Toni-Marie Ion-Brown said Tuesday night the club will assess how it reviews event requests in the future.
Ms. Anderson was presented with a white cowboy hat during a gathering at the 74-year-old club in February while she was on a cross-country tour that included Ms. Anderson talking about her concerns about the management of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ms. Anderson sits in the European Parliament as a member of Alternative for Germany, a right-wing populist party that has espoused anti-immigrant views and has at times trivialized the Nazi dictatorship and the Holocaust. She has opposed vaccine mandates and voiced her approval of the truckers’ convoy in Canada last year.
Ms. Anderson chronicled her visit to Canada on her Twitter account. One post referenced a Feb. 18 visit to Calgary, and she noted having received a white cowboy hat, but did not provide details. Such hats are often presented to dignitaries who visit the city.
Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek took note of the ceremony. “I think it’s pretty clear that I don’t endorse her views in any manner,” Ms. Gondek said in a weekend tweet. “It’ll be interesting to see what [the club] has to say about hosting the event.”
The club replied Tuesday that it has never and will never tolerate any form of discrimination, and encourages respectful freedom of expression.
The club did not commit to new approaches to screening events, but said any new guidelines would be “transparently communicated and responsibly applied.”
Allison Bates, communications adviser for the mayor’s office, said in a statement that Ms. Gondek did not have any further comment on the matter.
Ms. Anderson’s tour of Canada, which included stops in Calgary, Hamilton and Toronto, has caused political ramifications, with questions raised about three Conservative MPs who had a three-hour lunch with Ms. Anderson in Ontario on Feb. 21, then posed with her for a photo that has made its way to social media.
The gathering has caused alarm among Jewish groups and others concerned about Ms. Anderson’s party, also known as Alternative fur Deutschland.
The three Conservative parliamentarians who met Ms. Anderson are Haldimand-Norfolk MP Leslyn Lewis, Oshawa MP Colin Carrie and Niagara West MP Dean Allison.
Federal Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre said in a statement that the MPs met with Ms. Anderson without knowing much about her. But that view has been disputed by organizers of the gathering, Stacey Kauder and Bethan Nodwel, who note the MPs went into the lunch meeting knowing what they were getting into, and that they spent about three hours with Ms. Anderson.
Mr. Poilievre said Ms. Anderson’s views are “vile” and have no place in Canadian politics. “Frankly, it would be better if Anderson never visited Canada in the first place. She and her racist, hateful views are not welcome here.”
Mr. Carrie expressed regrets in a tweet for attending the meeting without a “fulsome vetting” of the individuals and organizations he was meeting.
The MP’s tweet also referenced a statement from the three MPs saying they were not aware of the views and associations of her party and do not share her views, and condemn racist or hurtful views.
On Monday, Ms. Anderson responded directly to Mr. Carrie in a tweet.
“This statement says more about you that it could ever say about me!” said Ms. Anderson, who has since left Canada.
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