Growing Sovereigntist Youth Movement Led By Former Members Of Ultranationalist Group

A group of young nationalists are proposing a “New Alliance” between left and right-wing Québec sovereigntists. Their leadership is almost exclusively formed by ex-members of a traditionalist Catholic group tied to antisemitism and racist conspiracy theories.

Sébastien Roback
Canadian Anti-Hate Network



Billing itself as a home for a broad political coalition of sovereigntists, Nouvelle Alliance (New Alliance) held its first public event in March 2022, announcing its identity as a separatist group. 

They recently began giving out membership cards, all adorned with pictures of men wearing shirts with slogans like “Québec for Québécois” and “Québec in French.”

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Nouvelle Alliance membership cards. Source: Facebook.
 

Their launch manifesto, published on May 1, celebrates the heritage of those who “colonized the Laurentian valley, took possession of and developed the land through sweat and blood.”

“This manifesto is an open act of bravery against the undermining work of anti-nationals, to whom our political landscape has been left with impunity for too long.”

The document also outlines the group’s objective to mobilize individuals from across the political spectrum, particularly those whose Québécois identities are shaped by the heritage of the French monarchy, pious Catholics, and social democrats. 

Several of Nouvelle Alliance’s founding members – including its president François Gervais – previously formed the leadership of the Front Canadien-Français (French Canadian Front), an ultra-nationalist and radical traditionalist Catholic group.

Founded in 2019, the group began organizing in-person actions at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, including stickering sessions and public commemorations of historical figures such as Lionel Groulx and Maurice Duplessis, both popular within extremist circles in Québec. 

Duplessis was premier of Québec for nearly two decades between 1944 and 1959, during an era known as “the Great Darkness” which was marked by social conservatism, and policies targeting religious minorities and leftists. Groulx, a catholic priest and historian, was a vocal supporter of a movement to boycott Jewish businesses, and accused Jews of spreading communism.

Building much of their brand upon both men’s legacies, the FCF proposed a political agenda in opposition to “individualism,” “mediocre egalitarianism” and communism, while promoting  “order, hierarchy and uncompromising patriotism” and aligning itself with some of Québec’s most prominent hate peddlers. 

 

Overlap In Leadership

 

At least three members of the Front Canadien Français have gone on to become founding members of Nouvelle Alliance. Among them, Nouvelle Alliance’s president, François Gervais, as well as prominent members Jean-Philippe Desjardins-Warren and Suleyman Ennakhili.

 

Jean-Philip Desjardins Warren (front row on the left), Vincent Filteau (front row on the right) Suleyman Ennakhili (Back row on the left) and François Gervais (Back row on the right) pictured at a Nouvelle Alliance event.

 

Since the publication of their names in a Montréal Antifasciste exposé of Front Canadien-Français, these prominent members have locked their social media accounts, leaving little publicly available information about their current political beliefs. However, all three appear to be well-networked within Québec’s far-right movement, with Facebook friends like Patriote Party leader Donald Proulx as well as Nomos-TV hosts Alexandre Cormier-Denis and Philippe Plamondon among others. According to Montréal Antifasciste, Ennakhili was also reportedly a participant in the so-called “Vague Bleue” (Blue wave), an Islamophobic protest attended by a number of hate groups which took place in 2019.

Other Nouvelle Alliance members choose to make their political leanings clearer. 

Vincent Filteau, who was pictured while attending an event held by the group on Patriotes Day (Victoria Day in the rest of Canada), has several social media posts which praise white nationalist streamers, describe immigrants as “threats to Québec’s survival” and refer to politicians in support of transgender rights as “psychotics and degenerates of the worst kind.”

 

“The West is controlled by psychotics and degenerates of the worst kind.”

 

Reached for comments, Filteau denied holding far-right beliefs and called the label “defamatory.” He instead described himself as a conservative and a nationalist.

Founding member Samuel Rasmussen also runs a podcast called “Agora Underground,” described on its Patreon as “podcastically incorrect” and aiming to “frontally attack the deadly cuckébéois incestual circle-jerk.” In March 2021, the podcast hosted Renaud Camus, a white nationalist French writer credited as having developed the “Great Replacement” theory.

The Great Replacement is a white nationalist conspiracy theory according to which there exists a plot to replace the white population of Western countries through immigration. It has been cited as a primary motivation for a number of mass killings, including in Pittsburgh, Christchurch, El Paso, and Buffalo.

In different posts publicizing the episode, Rasmussen describes Camus as “irreplaceable” and as a “hyperborean dandy.” Other episodes of Rasmussen’s podcast feature anti-LGBTQ2+ streamer Yann Rushdy and Alexandre Cormier-Denis.

The members of Nouvelle Alliance mentioned in this article did not return our individual requests for comments, instead electing to respond collectively.

While denying the extreme nature of the rhetoric of some of its members online, a representative for Nouvelle Alliance claimed the positions expressed are not those of the group, but of individual members. They then called for the Canadian Anti-Hate Network to look at the positions of its left-leaning members, though they did not follow up on CAHN’s offer to speak directly with these members, even under the condition of anonymity. 

Further, the group denied the existence of links between Nouvelle Alliance and the FCF, noting that the former does not share the latter’s "confessional vocation."

Despite this claim, Nouvelle Alliance’s only public advocacy effort to date sought to stop what they believed was a plan to demolish a Catholic monastery in Trois-Rivière. They later apologized after realizing the plan in question sought to deconstruct a gantry built on the premises in 2015. The group also displays the Carillon Sacré Coeur, a Catholic-nationalist flag featuring the Sacred Heart of Jesus, during events, and once described Lionel Groulx, the controversial religious figure lionized by FCF, as "the man who gave french-Canadian youth a national conscience."

 

Front Canadien-Français

 

Most members of FCF hid their faces during group activities, though the speech and actions of its few unmasked members leave little doubt as to the group’s beliefs.

In late 2019, Vincent Benatar - easily one of the most prominent members of Front Canadien-Français - contributed to an open letter critical of Québec’s catholic leadership. This earned him an interview with E. Michael Jones, a virulent antisemite and a main proponent of sedevacantism – the belief that the current pope is invalid due to his alleged embrace of heresy, leftism and homosexuality.

During this hour-long conversation, Benatar makes it clear he was acting as a representative of FCF, saying the group "decided to contact" Jones to "make links," asking questions on behalf of fellow members about the so-called ‘racial question’, and providing insights into the group’s activities.

"We have tried to create a community of every single traditional catholic in Québec. We have regular contact, we have regular meetups, we work out together, we try to do activities together."

Benatar also joined Jones in mocking Jews who attempted to cancel a book tour organized by the latter in Poland.

In 2020, members of FCF were banned from Mouvement des jeunes souverainistes (Movement for Young Sovereignists), a Facebook page boasting thousands of members which facilitates exchanges between politically-inclined nationalist youth. In a post explaining their decision, the group’s administrators condemned comments by FCF members which “promoted the Great Replacement conspiracy theory” and argued for the superiority of the white race.

In the same post, administrators alleged these comments were part of a broader strategy to flood the group with hateful content.

“We observed that members of this group published an enormous amount of content subtly appealing to the ideals they put forward. Dog-whistling which bothered many of our members. The uncompromising defense of historical characters. Reminders of the importance of the Catholic Church in Québec. They alternated posting duties, to avoid warnings over the multiplicity of their posts.”

Screenshots from an Instagram group chat in which Vincent Benatar was a member published by Montréal Antifasciste later provided some insights into the FCF’s attempt to replicate the tactics of the Groypers, a white nationalist movement seeking to infiltrate mainstream political organizations in order to push them to adopt more radical views. 

“We tried the Groyper strategy. We got banned. It ended with us getting doxxed,” he told a group of meme page admins. “We tried.”

Despite its short tenure, the FCF still managed to receive endorsements from prominent actors of Québec’s white nationalist movement. An event held in front of Lionel Groulx’s grave site in the town of Vaudreuil, Québec, notably featured the host of the virulently racist Nomos-TV web-tv platform Alexandre Cormier-Denis as a keynote speaker. Pictures from the event show that Nouvelle Alliance founding member Jean-Philip Desjardins-Warren was in attendance.

 


Alexandre Cormier-Denis at a commemoration event organised by Front Canadien Français. Source: Odysee 
 

On Instagram, the group once praised Cormier-Denis, who believes "ethnonationalism is the only political position that makes sense," once sharing a meme describing him as a "modern patriot."

Following the publication of an article by Montréal Antifasciste naming many of the group’s active members and tying them to a number of hateful meme pages, the FCF drastically reduced its public activities, and eventually disbanded.

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