Conservative lawyer compares Pride flag to Nazi swastika

John Carpay of the United Conservative Party

A Canadian political party is facing pressure to expel a member who compared the Pride flag to a Nazi swastika.

John Carpay, who heads the anti-LGBT legal group Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, stirred outrage with the remarks at an event on November 11.

At a conference hosted by far-right outlet Rebel Media, Carpay described the rainbow flag as a “totalitarian” symbol akin to the swastika or the hammer and sickle.

He said: “How do we defeat today’s totalitarianism? You’ve got to think about the common characteristics. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a hammer and sickle for communism, or whether it’s the swastika for Nazi Germany or whether it’s a rainbow flag, the underlying thing is a hostility to individual freedoms.

“The underlying thing is a vision where government is the master… rather than allowing us to lead our own lives.”

John Carpay is under fire over his swastika remarks

John Carpay is under fire over his Nazi swastika remarks

Canada’s CBC notes that Carpay is behind a lawsuit seeking to challenge a law protecting gay-straight alliance clubs in schools, which Carpay claims are “ideological sexual clubs.”

Carpay also argued in a court battle that a Christian law school should have the right to refused to admit LGBT+ students.

LGBT+ campaigners have said that Carpay’s comments betray the bigotry behind his activism, and pressed the right-wing populist United Conservative Party (UCP), which is the official opposition in the Alberta’s legislative assembly, to suspend Carpay’s membership.

Duncan Kinney of Progress Alberta told CBC: “To equate the Nazis with the movement for equality for LGBTQ people is abhorrent.

“[UCP leader] Jason Kenney was just in the media last week talking about how he’s going to create a database to keep extremists out of the UCP. This is an extremist in his ranks.”

John Carpay compared a Pride flag to a swastika at a Rebel Media event

John Carpay compared a Pride flag to a swastika at a Rebel Media event

A spokesperson for Kenney dodged calls to suspend Carpay, telling the outlet: “Of course we do not believe the rainbow flag has any equivalency to fascism and communism—ideologies that have been responsible for the deaths of well over 100 million people.

“The UCP is a big-tent party that supports the rule of law, equality of all before the law, and protection of the fundamental rights and freedoms of all. In that light, the UCP hosted Pride breakfasts in both Edmonton and Calgary this year.”

John Carpay claims his swastika comments were taken out of context

In a statement, Carpay claimed his comments had been taken out of context.

He said: “In speaking about the nature of the free society, and attacks on the free society, I referred in the same sentence to the rainbow flag and to the flags representing communist and Nazi ideologies.

“In doing so, I unintentionally drew a broad comparison between the rainbow flag and the flags which bear the symbols of Communism and Nazism. I should not have done so, and I apologise.

He added: “Taken in context, I hope it can be seen that it was not my intent to broadly equate the rainbow flag with the evils of communism and Nazism, and I again offer my apology to anyone who may have interpreted my remarks in such fashion.”