That’s nothing new -- to imply that we’re not immune to the problems of the USA ignores the fact that we are already sick.
By Peter Smith
Canadian Anti-Hate Network
Screenshot of a Canadian flag captured in Washington D.C. on Jan 6, outside of the Capitol Building. Source: Twitter
Terms like “coup,” “insurrection,” and “siege” are being tossed around to describe the actions of Trump supporters in Washington, DC on Wednesday. And while Americans are having a reckoning with their democracy, Canadians are already looking for parallels.
The phrase “Canada is not immune” is one that often is trotted out after events occur as we saw in Washington DC on Wednesday. It’s meant to remind Canadians that whenever a large scale event around race occurs south of the border, we shouldn’t look down our noses at that republic, as the same thing could happen up here.
To imply that we’re not immune ignores that we are already sick. Not with the same virus as we saw parade over Capitol lawns and batter down doors, but our own unique and pervasive mutation, bred in our ecosystems, but spread in similar ways.
Online, Canadians account for up to 6% of all users on the 4chan /pol/ board - one of the largest representations. The UK think tank Institute for Strategic Dialogue also found 6,600 online channels where Canadians posted hateful content.
Veteran and Canadian Rangers member Corey Hurren was arrested after he drove his truck through the gates of Rideau Hall. On the morning of July 2, 2020, he allegedly carried four firearms and a note addressed to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
He was taken into custody by police after a long standoff. Hurren is now facing 22 charges.
Reporting by Vice News revealed that Hurren’s business’ Instagram account contained telltale signs of conspiratorial beliefs. Some of including tags with one of the Qanon myth’s most common slogan -- “where we go one we go all” -- in its abbreviated form “WWG1WGA,” as well as other phrases common to the belief system including “The Cabal,” “The Storm,” and “FrazzleDrip” -- the last being the name given to a video where Hilary Clinton is said to ritually murder a child.
“Has anyone else been following ‘Q’ and the ‘White Rabbit’ down the rabbit hole and how this all relates to the coronavirus/COVID-19 situation?” he wrote in the caption to one post.
On Jan. 7, it was reported that Kevin Michael Hollman of Saskatoon had been charged with second-degree murder and attempted murder for allegedly killing his mother in their family home. Another 65-year-old man was taken to hospital.
The Canadian Anti-Hate Network identified the accused as a QAnon adherent and conspiracy theorist from his social media. In videos uploaded to YouTube, Hollman states he is a Trump supporter and anti-masker.
The motive for the killing is unclear at this time.
A QAnon adherent has been charged with first degree and attempted murder in Saskatoon.— Canadian Anti-Hate Network (@antihateca) January 7, 2021
Kevin Michael Hollman allegedly killed his mother on January 6th in their home. Another man has been taken to hospital. /1 https://t.co/JXxArUDs5z
Accelerationists and anti-government factions with heavy crossover into hate groups, like the boogaloo movement, have always advocated for burning the system down, but this sentiment has been bleeding out and pooling among other groups. Far-right podcast host Adam Blainey recently took to his show’s forums and proudly admitted to being a white supremacist, made dozens of racist and homophobic comments, and went as far as to encourage white Canadians to attack Parliament.
“That was one bloke, we need an army. Stay weak and pathetic like a goy is what they expect,” Blainey said while discussing the 2014 shooting at Parliament Hill. “They revel in the fact that goyim are weak and pathetic and won’t stand up for their race. The bible is very clear that they will be destroyed in the end."
“Do something for fuck sakes.”
In the last two years, numerous failed attempts have been made by the Canadian “patriot” movement to “storm the hill.” According to social media, numerous events were planned over 2019 and 2020 calling for people to rally and take Parliament Hill while protesting the “New World Order.” Many attendees of these events waved QAnon flags and imagery.
On May 13, 2020, a post to the Proud Canadian Deplorables Facebook group reads, “#CanadaDay2020 we storm the Hill and begin the battle to #TakeBackCanada.”
Referencing the same planned Canada Day event, a post to the Canadian Freedom Fighters Facebook group on June 1, 2020 states, “One month to go and before we storm the hill and watch all hell break loose.”
Another post promoting the same event reads “Flag of CanadaFlag of United States.:.”Eyes”.:.Flag of United StatesFlag of Canada#WWG1WGA #WWG1WGAWORLDWIDE #InItTogether #InItTogetherWorldWide #SilentMajority #SilentMajorityCanada.”
Signs calling to “hang Trudeau,” and accusations of treason were commonplace.
A Twitter account known for pushing QAnon and conspiracy rhetoric and which had heavily promoted “storm the hill” protests has since announced its departure to Parler.
In September, after a long period of inaction by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, a Mi'kmaw community in Nova Scotia declared a new “moderate livelihood fishery.” Even though the fishery was affirmed by Ottawa and a fact-based analysis found there would be a negligible impact on Lobster stocks, environmentalism and sustainability were used as a primer to whitewash a series of violent race-based attacks against indigenous fishery workers and supplies.
Law enforcement and government inaction allowed not one but two of Sipekne'katik band’s Lobster pounds to be ransacked, with both the catch and equipment destroyed. According to The Star, 200 non-Indigenous fishermen and supporters gathered to form a blockade on the roads, trapping around 30 members of the Sipekne’katik and preventing them from removing their catch.
Actions continued against the ships, crews, supporters, escalating steadily.
Nor is this the only instance this year of indigenous Canadians facing violent force for exercising their treaty rights.
Protesters have faced police and court orders to leave an area now known as 1492 Land Back Lane. Located between Six Nations and Caledonia, according to the CBC, the property is part of the Haldimand Tract granted to Six Nations of the Grand River during the 1800s.
As of Jan. 5, 2020, 32 people have been arrested and 16 warrants remain outstanding for Land Back Lane supporters
Pandemic confusion, fear, and no small measure of misinformation has led to the rise of the anti-lockdown movement both in Canada and across the globe.
Far from being a criticism of any actual policy related to COVID-19, the Canadian anti-mask movement is dominated by familiar conspiracy theories that paint the majority of world leaders as cannibalistic pedophiles, have made the medical consensus around wearing masks a plot in an Orwellian system of control, and continues to float a vast litany of antisemitic rumours about currency trader George Soros.
From the jump, new faces and old members of Canada’s racist sphere have been jumping on the bandwagon. Neo-Nazi and Hitler cosplay enthusiast Brian Ruhe was an early member and organizer of the BC-based No More Lockdowns group. He eventually left the group, though recently appeared on video giving the Nazi (or “Roman”) salute with other anti-mask attendees in a re-enactment of a Nazi-style book burning.
Ontario has given rise to a new breed of incredibly vocal public influencers, but instead of pastel hued lifestyle advice, these would be more at home among Pastel-Anon. The recently Instagram-verified Chris “Sky” Saccoccia has become a vocal frontman for not just his organization Mothers Against Distancing, but the collection of groups that have gathered weekly in Toronto.
Besides drawing notable other hate spreaders like anti-Muslim live streamer Kevin J Johnson, white nationalist power couple Leigh Stuart and Chris Vanderweide, and more, Saccoccia, as well as anti-lockdown member of provincial parliament Randy Hiller both made separate appearances on the antisemitic Plaid Army live stream.
Hosted by Derek “Rants” Harrison, previous episodes of the show include debates over the “JQ” or “Jewish Question” -- the antisemitic concept that deals with how to handle and treat Jewish people -- and the “Kalergi plan,” a racist conspiracy theory that alleges that a plot to mix white Europeans with other races through immigration would diminish white identity, and create a society controlled by Jewish elite.
Red Deer, Alberta became a flashpoint for tensions and violence as organizers of a then weekly Anti Racist Rally attempted to hold a community discussion about inclusivity, combating racism, and personal experiences. With a last minute venue change, counter-protesters, including Wexit founder and former Yellow Vest Pat King, arrived to confront attendees who King accused of bringing in “truckloads'' of people to disrupt the community.
When the groups collided, things escalated quickly.
Counter protestors shouted over megaphones and as JP Mornin, an anti-racist protestor, approached King and asked his name, a man jumps through the crowd and strikes Mornin in the head forcefully, shouting “I remember you from last time.”
While still live streaming, King would later tell police that he had been shoved and “this guy, for sure, came right at me out of the crowd.” It's not clear in the video who he is talking about, but Morin, who is nearby reacts strongly.
The angle of his camera during the incident makes it hard to verify King's story, however, in another video posted by Taylor McNallie from Rural Alberta Against Racism, Morin is seen making no contact with King or his camera before he is assaulted.
"Canada Black Lives Matter and Antifa are planning a huge rally to disrupt our community," King said ahead of the event, adding that "truckloads" of people were being brought in from out of town to support the anti-racist rally.
Since the events in DC, Canadian media has become a bouncing ball of opinion and commentary that warns of extremists heading north, with questions about if this can happen in our country, and no small measure of condescending “meanwhile in Canada” memes.
If the last four years have taught us anything, it’s not just that we aren’t immune, but that we are an active player in the global rise of hate.
Canada has exported some of the biggest names in far-right extremist propaganda in Lauren Southern, Stefan Molyneux, Gavin McInnes, and Faith Goldy, among others. The Proud Boys who marched on DC didn’t come out of the US -- they came from our own backyards.
The time for warning is over. Now we have to take stock of what we’ve contributed to the hate ecosystem, and get serious.