Police Chief Paul Pederson is apologizing for taking a photo with local members of Soldiers of Odin while he attended an organ donor monument unveiling.

“I apologize and regret that this photo in any way was an indication of my support for this group.”

(Soldiers of Odin members from Sudbury Chapter at the unveiling of an organ donor monument on August 18TH (Image Credit: Facebook)
(Soldiers of Odin local chapter members at the organ donor monument event on August 18th (Image Credit: Facebook)

The controversial, far-right group started in Finland before making its way to Canada. The founder is a Finnish white supremacist who created the group in 2015, and critics label members “racists” with “anti-immigration beliefs”

The Sudbury chapter say they aren’t connected to those beliefs and are just trying to help out around Sudbury by picking up discarded needles and volunteering at the Blue Door Kitchen.

Police Chief Pederson’s statement:
In response to inquiries about a photo recently posted with me and a number of volunteers who were in attendance at the unveiling of the Organ Donor Monument event I take this opportunity to respond to criticisms and questions being raised. As a non-partisan public official I am often asked to be photographed with members of the community or attendees at events. At times, these could be with individuals with very polarized political views in the view of some. When such requests are made, they are on the spot, and unless there is an obvious reason why I would respectfully decline, I do agree to such photographing. The people in this photo were volunteers for the Blue Door Kitchen and were on hand at this event assisting with the various activities. There was nothing more to their involvement there, nor my picture having been taken. In my role as Chief, I try not to put myself or the organization in compromising situations when people ask for a photo with me, but recognizing that there are those that associate the Soldiers of Odin with far right views, especially with current events being what they are globally, I could have and should have politely declined this request. This photo should in no way be interpreted as support for this group. Be assured that I stand on very high moral grounds, and support all that helps ensure the community safety and well-being of Greater Sudbury. As the child of immigrant parents, I have always supported diversity and inclusion for all and do not support any group that opposes these values. In fact, last week, I had the great honour of being the Presiding Official at the Canadian Citizenship Ceremony that welcomed over fifty new citizens to our community. I apologize and regret that this photo in any way was an indication of my support for this group. These Blue Door Kitchen volunteers were helping at a community event on this day and it was in this context that I stopped briefly for the photo.”

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