Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre faced pressureThursday to apologize over accusations that he has been trying to reach out to those in the "male supremacy" movement through tags embedded in his YouTube videos.
Global News first reported that a hidden tag that stands for "men going their own way" has been embedded in videos uploaded to Poilievre's popular YouTube page for more than four years.
The Southern Poverty Law Center in the United States says the movement is part of "male supremacy" and advocates for men separating themselves from the perceived toxicity of women.
The Liberals hit hard at Poilievre over the revelation. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau demanded during question period that Poilievre apologize for "purposely using his videos to appeal to far-right, misogynistic online movements."
"These are anti-women movements, and they have had devastating real-life consequences," Trudeau said. "I call on the Conservative leader to stand in this House, take responsibility and apologize."
Poilievre did not do that but said he corrected the problem as soon as he was informed of it and disavowed the sentiment behind it.
"I condemn all forms of misogyny," said Poilievre in response to Trudeau.
Anthony Koch, a spokesman for the Tory leader, said in a statement YouTube records show "the tag in question was added in early 2018 and it has remained there since that time."
"Because Mr. Poilievre has had many staff upload videos who had passwords over the years, including in 2018, his office is unable to determine who exactly added the tag."
Koch says Poilievre confirmed it was not added by any of his current staff though he provided no details on how that was confirmed.
As soon as the leader was made aware of their existence, he had the tag removed and condemned the affiliated group, the statement added.
Poilievre was first elected as an MP in 2004 in an Ottawa-area riding and has heavily used social media to grow his profile, including through dozens of videos posted to YouTube.