Pierre Poilievre is denouncing the "white replacement theory" believed to be a motive for a mass shooting in Buffalo, N.Y., as "ugly and disgusting hate-mongering."
In a statement today, the high-profile contender for the Conservative party leadership condemned the attack, in which police say a white gunman shot up a supermarket in a majority black neighbourhood, killing 10 people and wounding three others.
U.S. law enforcement is investigating the shooter's online posts, which include the conspiracy theory that there’s a plot to diminish the influence of white people.
Believers say so-called "white replacement" is being achieved both through immigration and demographics, with white people having lower birth rates than other populations, and some claim this has been orchestrated by Jews.
Poilievre was responding to a tweet by fellow leadership contestant Patrick Brown pointing out that Pat King, one of the leaders of the February "Freedom Convoy" that Poilievre supported, has spread the conspiracy theory online.
Brown called on his rival to "condemn this hate."
"For Patrick Brown to use this atrocity is sleazy — even for him," Poilievre said. "I supported the peaceful and law-abiding truckers who protested for their livelihoods and freedoms while simultaneously condemning any individuals who broke laws, behaved badly or blocked critical infrastructure."
Interim Conservative leader Candice Bergen also issued a statement Monday calling racism repugnant.
"The ‘white-replacement’ conspiracy theory is peddled by racists and bigots, Conservatives unequivocally condemn this kind of thinking," she said.
Bergen went on to say that "while Canadians are free to protest and demonstrate, that does not include illegally blocking or occupying infrastructure, nor does it include illegal hate-speech.”