A political firestorm has been ignited after Conservative leadership candidate Pierre Poilievre was photographed shaking the hand of Jeremy MacKenzie, the leader of the Diagolon movement..On Saturday, Global News reporter Rachel Gilmore retweeted a photo of Poilievre shaking hands with MacKenzie, who has been referred to as an "accelerationist" and "far-right extremist" by anti-hate groups..The photo was taken during a meet and greet in Nova Scotia, after which Mackenzie and Poilievre briefly spoke..MacKenzie had posted the photo to his Telegram channel, with the caption, "Sometimes you just gotta' tell them what's up.".He later added, "To my face, Pierre confirms he’s committed to pulling the plug on all government funding for news media in Canada.”.The group Diagolon is based around a fictitious country that stretches from Florida to Alaska, which MacKenzie jokingly created during a livestream years ago..But anti-hate groups have characterized Diagolon as a far-right, accelerationist militia group. They have pointed to instances of racism, antisemitism, and anti-government rhetoric that have taken place on MacKenzie's streams and in chats as evidence of the group's danger..During the blockade at the Coutts border back in February, patches bearing Diagolon's flag were also found alongside a cache of weapons seized by the RCMP. Four men were charged with allegedly plotting to assassinate RCMP members. But MacKenzie maintains it was a "false flag" event, and that the design of the flags were different from those he has been selling..Mackenzie, who is a military veteran, has also faced charges for protesting outside the home of New Brunswick's chief medical officer, as well as 13 firearms-related charges..MacKenzie told the Western Standard that Canada's security and intelligence agencies have been "chasing around a fictitious country that doesn't exist."."Diagolon is just an amalgamation of conservative Canadians and Americans that think a certain way. It's a meme," MacKenzie said..Following the photo's release, Poilievre was denounced by Conservative leadership candidate and former Quebec premier Jean Charest, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, and Liberal MP Mark Gerretsen..In a statement released Saturday, Poilievre said he has met with "literally tens of thousands" of Canadians and can't vet every single person before each event. Poilievre denounced racism and all who spread it, "as I always have."."I didn't and don't know or recognize this particular individual. Likewise, I can't be responsible for Justin Trudeau's many racist outbursts just because I've met with and shaken his hand.".On Sunday, Poilievre's campaign manager Anthony Koch said the Liberals will give free advertising to racists and extremists if they "think they can use it to smear a Conservative politician, even when they know it’s dishonest.."They don’t care about fighting the bad guys, they care about power," he added..In a video posted to Instagram on Sunday, MacKenzie said he chose to met with Poilievre because he was visiting the area and wanted to hear what he had to say.."But that's not allowed in this new Canada that these authoritarian communists want you to live in," MacKenzie said.."There's only one way to think and one way to be. And you can only hear from the right people, those selected and curated by the Liberal-funded media.".MacKenzie added that the "best part" of the situation was that he "did it on purpose."."I did it because I knew what would happen. You're welcome Pierre. Anytime bud."