There has been a spread of misinformation, confusion and misrepresentation of what happened around the cancellation of the Maxime Bernier event booking in Guelph — this provides a timeline of information for what took place and will be updated as the story develops.
It is announced that People’s Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier will be coming to the riding for a town hall-style event at the Guelph Youth Music Centre, hosted by local candidate Mark Paralovos.
Just past midnight, the Revolutionary Communist Party of Guelph, which is not an actual federal party, posts an image depicting a knife stabbing a swastika of Nazi infamy and implying the PPC is made up of fascists.
On Friday evening, Mark Paralovos brings the poster — which was advertising a counter-rally to the Bernier event — to the attention of The Post and says that he has informed the police.
A petition comes to the attention of The Post that asks the Guelph Youth Music Centre to cancel the PPC visit. There was some confusion over whether the GYMC had invited Bernier and his party to their facility, so the GYMC had to clarify on Twitter that it was simply an event booking:
The petition was updated by the individual who started it, Jamie Gibson, requesting the GYMC to “nullify” Bernier and Paralovos’ booking for Friday.
The Post reached out to the Revolutionary Communist Party — not a federally registered party — regarding the graphic image and, though they receive the message, there is no response.
Later on Saturday, Mark Paralovos and the PPC riding association send out a press release that says the GYMC has cancelled their booking due to “safety concerns and the potential for property damage.” A full refund is issued.
Those who had bought $20 tickets for the event would be sent an email, Paralovos wrote in the release. It was not immediately clear at the time if the party leader would still be coming to Guelph.
In response, Maxime Bernier in a Facebook post wrote “communist thugs manage to get a PPC event in Guelph cancelled after threatening violence”, criticizing what he calls the “far left”.
The Revolutionary Communists page called the booking cancellation a “huge win for the Guelph working class” and incorrectly states that “Maxime Bernier and his fascist goons have been shut out of Guelph”, as there has not been confirmation Bernier’s visit has been cancelled.
Mayor Cam Guthrie also weighed in.
“I thought we were to be a society that embraces freedom of speech and respectful discussions in the arena of ideas, no matter how contrary they may be to your own,” Guthrie wrote on Twitter.
“Our democracy compels us.”
The Post has reached out to Mark Paralovos and the other Guelph federal election candidates for comment.
Jamie Gibson says this in response to the booking cancellation: “I am unsatisfied with the GYMC’s initial response to the petition and their attempt to deflect any sort of blame or social accountability.”
“I also challenge the People’s Party of Canada to produce one piece of evidence to suggest that violence would have ensued.”
The People’s Party riding association announced on Tuesday morning that Mark Paralovos’ Twitter account was locked out, and The Post found it was “temporarily restricted” when visiting his profile.
Mark Paralovos says that the Bernier event location will only be revealed to ticket-holders and journalists on Friday.
The anti-fascist rally is moved to city hall and a new advertisement posted by the Facebook page “Revolutionary Communist Party – Guelph” has no mention of Maxime Bernier or the PPC.