Factcheck: CBC misrepresents Yellow Vests Canada movement, makes no mention of death threats
Yellow Vests Convoy leaves today for Ottawa
February 14, 2019
Canadian Anti-Hate Network
CBC interviews convoy organizer Glen Carritt. Source: CBC News: The National, YouTube.
On February 13th, CBC’s The National ran with a story about the Yellow Vests Canada movement and their plans to bring a convoy of trucks to Ottawa.
The CBC misrepresents the group as primarily being driven by legitimate economic concerns and omits the worst examples of the hatred and threats that have come to characterize the Yellow Vests Canada movement. The end result is an sympathetic take on a movement characterized as a public safety threat in a briefing note authored by the Canadian Association for Security & Intelligence Studies – Vancouver.
Reporting on hate movements and hate groups is difficult. Hate groups tend to misrepresent themselves and it requires either deep research and observation of their less public-facing spaces, and/or building on the work of organizations like Anti-Racist Canada or Yellow Vests Canada Exposed and using information that's been collected over months and years of monitoring. Yellow Vests Canada Exposed says a producer from The National "interviewed one of our admins for 40 minutes, and didn't use any of it."
"Four months after yellow vest demonstrators hit the streets of France over taxes and the high cost of living, similar movements have popped up around the world."
Unlike the French Yellow Vests movement, the Yellow Vests movement in Canada has been entirely co-opted by the far-right. Left-leaning individuals aren’t welcome and almost every anti-Muslim extremist group has found a home in the movement. According to CTV News, “Canada's ambassador to France says this country's yellow-vest protest movement bears little resemblance to the ‘gilets jaunes’ who started it all in France . . . the movement in Canada appears to have been appropriated by far-right extremists espousing racist, anti-immigrant views and even indulging in death threats against Prime Minister Justin Trudeau."
“They're focused on the federal government's response to suffering in the oil industry tomorrow a convoy of trucks will drive that message all the way to Ottawa but they aren't the only ones laying claim to those yellow vests. Others want to spread a much different message, less about jobs, more about immigration.” CBC represents them, and allows them to represent themselves, as primarily focused on economic and oil issues throughout the story.
The majority of posts on the Yellow Vests Canada Facebook page are anti-Muslim, anti-UN, anti-immigrant, anti-Trudeau, and deal in conspiracy theories, such as the belief that Muslims are responsible for the Fort McMurray wildfire. There are hundreds of examples of overt racism and documented death threats. Relatively few posts are, in fact, about the oil industry.
The CBC says:
The Clann and Canadian Combat Coalition (C3) are alt-right groups.
While alt-right has been used as a term in the United States to refer to a large coalition of groups, here in Canada there are two distinct hate movements with limited overlap: the anti-Muslim and alt-right neo-Nazi movements. The Clann and C3 are anti-Muslim groups, not alt-right groups.
Update: We received screenshots showing at least one member of the Clann to be an alt-right type.
The CBC says:
“[The Clann has a] provocative message about Islam.”
The Clann is not only critical of the religion, but of Muslim Canadians. For example, the Clann Canada (@ClannOntario on Twitter) liked a tweet two days ago reading “Muslims r not special. I think they r dirty/gross &violent. That is MY opinion. If they come to my place of work. I will be respectful &help them cause it my JOB. Doesn’t mean I like u or want u here. Just like I can feel the hate and disgust flowing from their men. #GTFO”
“More than a hundred thousand members see messages like this targeting Trudeau the media immigration and refugees.” CBC displays a few of the more benign, but still hateful, images.
Yellow Vests Canada Exposed, the Canadian Anti-Hate Network, and Anti-Racist Canada have documented hundreds of examples of overt racism, mostly directed at Muslims, and death threats towards Muslim Canadians and the Prime Minister. None of these death threats have been referenced in the story.
“The site was founded by Tyler Malenfant, since exposed for supporting racist rhetoric in the past.”
He wasn’t exposed as supporting racist rhetoric, but posting antisemitic comments, such as "Show me the 'evils' of the white man and I'll show you yet another Jewish lie."
Yellow Vests Canada attracts Nazis:
Nazis, including Brian Ruhe and Paul Fromm, are also attending (or speaking at) Yellow Vests Canada demonstrations.
...and has the support of the alt-right neo-Nazi movement:
The first rally in Toronto was led by Faith Goldy, a self-proclaimed propagandist for the alt-right neo-Nazi movement, and she is promoting the convoy. Other Canadian alt-right neo-Nazi accounts have tweeted in support of the movement on Twitter.
Yellow Vests Canada supporter threatens to kill law enforcement, claims to have cache of weapons
Gregory McNeil of Kamloops, BC was charged in 2010 after drawing a gun on RCMP officers
February 12, 2019
Special to the Canadian Anti-Hate Network
Greg McNeil's Facebook profile. Source: Facebook.
Yellow Vests Canada Exposed has documented dozens of death threats on the Yellow Vests Canada Facebook page directed towards Muslims, the Prime Minister, and others; hatred directed at Muslims, left-leaning individuals, government, the mainstream media, and, occasionally, law enforcement; conspiracy theories; and support for the Conservative Party of Canada and Bernier’s People’s Party of Canada. Its main Facebook group has over 100,000 members and one of its main organizers has a history of posting racist and antisemitic comments.
Regardless of what the gilet jaunes movement represents in France, the Canadian Yellow Vests movement has been entirely co-opted by the far-right and includes almost every anti-Muslim hate group in Canada. It is characterized as a public safety threat in a briefing note authored by the Canadian Association for Security & Intelligence Studies – Vancouver.
In response to a post about storming parliament, Yellow Vests Canada supporter Greg McNeil suggests they carry out mass arrests, shooting anybody that gets in their way. McNeil posts, “Time to start killing all the protectors…Police, security…etc.” He also claims to have a cache of weapons and friends who are similarly armed.
The pictures on Greg McNeil's Facebook profile appear to match a picture of Gregory Warren McNeil, who was arrested in 2010 and charged with multiple firearms offences and harassment. McNeil threatened to kill bank employees, prompting a visit by the RCMP. He drew a handgun and the officers shot him. McNeil told investigators that he’s a better shot than most police officers and could have shot the officers if he wanted.
The RCMP searched his home and found a hidden room full of weapons, ammunition and bullet resistant vests, as well as a B.C. sheriff uniform and a custom officer’s badge.
McNeil was sentenced to over 5 years in prison and has a lifetime ban on owning firearms.
The RCMP tells the Canadian Anti-Hate Network that they respect “[The Yellow Vests movement’s] right to peaceful, lawful, and safe protest. Should someone have concerns about their activities online or in person, we would encourage them to contact the police in the jurisdiction they live in, to report. The RCMP takes complaints of threats seriously.”
Greg McNeil is no longer a member of the Yellow Vests Canada Facebook group.
According to an article in the Vancouver Sun, law enforcement seized over 100 guns from Green’s home including a Bren machine gun, “homemade silencers, zip guns, prohibited over-capacity magazines, and untraceable firearms,” as well as explosive materials.
The Yellow Vests Canada movement have been holding demonstrations across the country every Saturday to protest immigration policies, what they believe is the United Nations takeover of Canadian sovereignty, and a host of other issues popular among the far-right. Now, they are planning to run a convoy of trucks from Alberta to Ottawa, which Tony Green promoted.
The ‘United We Roll’ convoy departs on February 14th and arrives in Ottawa on the 19th. Originally branded as a Yellow Vests event, organizer Glen Carritt claimed that the United We Roll convoy is no longer affiliated, citing “philosophical differences.” However, organizers of the convoy are also members of the Yellow Vests Canada group, and he has says his group still "identifies with the yellow vests" and they are welcoming them to the convoy.
Several of the organizers are also supporters of other hate groups such as Canadian Combat Coalition, Soldiers of Odin, and Worldwide Coalition Against Islam.
Both Yellow Vests Canada Exposed and the Canadian Anti-Hate Network have encouraged supporters to report the United We Roll GoFundMe page on the basis that the fundraiser supports the Yellow Vests Canada hate movement. Yellow Vests Canada Exposed has also encouraged supporters to contact the hotels where convoy participants intend to stay.
Yellow Vests Canada Exposed documents the overt racism, hate speech, death threats and calls to violence posted by members of the Yellow Vest Movement in Canada. Their work can be found on Twitter and Facebook.