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Poilievre dismisses claims he spoke to controversial German politician as 'categorically false'

Conservative Party of Canada Leader Pierre Poilievre is denying he ever spoke to a controversial German politician who recently claimed she spoke to him at least a "couple of times."

Christine Anderson, a member of the European Parliament with the far-right Alternative fur Deutschland (AFD) or Alternative for Germany party, made the comments in a video posted to Twitter by the Western Standard media outlet.

In the video, Anderson is asked about her opinion of Poilievre, to which she responds, "I have spoken to him a couple of times, he seems to be a decent guy, and we need people that actually do think and go back to what democracy is all about and what elected representatives should do. It's to be elected by the people and then represent and act in their best interests."

Asked whether Poilievre has spoken to Anderson, Sebastian Skamski, director of media relations for the Opposition Leader's Office, said in a statement, "Mr. Poilievre has never spoken to Christine Anderson, and any suggestion that he has is categorically false."

CTVNews.ca has reached out to Anderson by email to clarify when she spoke to Poilievre or if she misspoke in her comments. A response has not been received.

Poilievre denounced Anderson last week after she met with three Conservative MPs during her recent tour of Canada in support of the "Freedom Convoy" movement.

Her tour included stops in Calgary, Toronto, Montreal and Whitby, Ont.

The three Ontario MPs — Colin Carrie, Dean Allison and former Conservative leadership candidate Leslyn Lewis — were pictured with Anderson, a meeting the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs said it was "deeply concerned" about.

The centre specifically pointed to the German AFD party Anderson belongs to as being "known for Islamophobic and anti-immigrant views."

Skamski, Poilievre's spokesperson, said in a previous statement that the MPs were unaware of her "vile" views and said they regret meeting with her.

"Frankly, it would be better if Anderson never visited Canada in the first place. She and her racist, hateful views are not welcome here," he said.

The three MPs, meanwhile, released their own statement saying it is not uncommon for MPs to meet visiting elected officials and denied being aware of Anderson's views or those of her party.

Skamski did not respond to a question from CTVNews.ca asking if any action would be taken against the three MPs.

Responding to Poilievre, Anderson said in a video posted by the right-leaning media platform True North that she is "very sorry" he feels this way.

"All I can say: I had a lovely time meeting with the members of his party and at no point do I see where I expressed hateful and racist views, as he puts it," she said.

Anderson added "no one gets to define me and not even Mr. Poilievre."

"You do not get to define me. I know what I stand for, I know what I fight for and I know that I will never cater to any democratic leader or any elected government that does not act in the best interest of the people," she said.

Asked about Anderson on Friday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said, "Canadians need to stop being treated like fools and the Conservatives need to own up and really dissociate themselves from hateful, vile, intolerant rhetoric, or tell the truth and explain that they actually have room for (that rhetoric) and intolerance within their party."

Lori Williams, a political science professor at Mount Royal University, says the meeting with Anderson shows "poor judgment" as the Conservatives look to court moderate voters ahead of the next federal election and disassociate themselves from radical views.

"Many people in the party, many of their supporters, many who voted Conservative Party, do not endorse (Anderson's) views," she told CTV National News last weekend. "But that association has been a problem for the Conservatives in the past, and you would think they'd be doubly careful about associations that could revive those concerns.”

On Saturday, Lewis said she stands by her record of "defending immigrants, religious minorities and the vulnerable, not mocking and dividing them as the PM does."

"The PM wore Blackface, denigrating Black people; throws minority women under the bus. Now he suggests I'm racist for meeting a sitting EU MP?" Lewis said in a post on Twitter.

Meanwhile, conservative strategist Jamie Ellerton says Poilievre should look into whether the MPs that met with Anderson should face consequences.

"Meeting at public events with far-right German politicians -- that really undercuts the values pitch that Pierre Poilievre is making to voters. It makes it harder for every other single member in that caucus to do their job," he told CTV National News last weekend.

Anderson made headlines for openly criticizing Trudeau's handling of the Freedom Convoy protests last year, calling him a "disgrace for any democracy."

The comments came after he addressed European parliamentarians in Brussels in March 2022.

"A prime minister who openly admires the Chinese basic dictatorship, who tramples on fundamental rights by persecuting and criminalizing his own citizens as terrorists just because they dared to stand up to his perverted concept of democracy, should not be allowed to speak in this house at all," Anderson said.

During her tour, Anderson appeared with convoy organizer Tamara Lich and two of her lawyers. She also posed for a photo with the flag of Diagolon, an online protest movement considered by some to be an extremist group.

In a video posted to Twitter on Friday, People's Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier appeared with Anderson and called her an "honourary member" of the party.

With files from CTV National News Senior Political Correspondent Glen McGregor, CTV National News Ottawa Correspondent Judy Trinh, former CTVNews.ca Producer Sarah Turnbull and The Canadian Press.

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