The Al-Soufi family is facing new threats as police investigate individuals responsible for the harassment campaign
Rick Boswick, Lily, and Ed Jamnisek are under investigation after disrupting restaurant re-opening
October 14, 2019
Canadian Anti-Hate Network
Dr. Mohamad Fakih (centre) intercepts Lily (red vest) Rick Boswick (filming) and Northern Guard member Ed Jamnisek (right) as they try to enter Soufi's restaurant. Source: YouTube.
Police are investigating after Rick Boswick, Lily, and Ed Jamnisek disrupted the reopening of Soufi’s Restaurant, a much loved Syrian eatery in downtown Toronto. The restaurant had closed days earlier after a barrage of death threats and abuse, only to reopen with the help of Dr. Mohamad Fakih, owner of Paramount Fine foods.
Boswick, Lily, and Jamnisek went to the restaurant and were intercepted at the entrance by Fakih. Filming the interaction, Lily asserted (without evidence) that the family came as refugees and demanded to know where they got their money. She then started yelling about communism and ‘Antifa’.
Comments on one of Boswick’s videos from that interaction refer to Fakih and the Al-Soufi family as invaders and parasites, and say it’s only a matter of time before they are attacked with a molotov cocktail.
Boswick and Lily are also setting their sights on Mohamad Fakih, who is no stranger to this type of harassment. Earlier this year Fakih won a landmark defamation suit against video blogger Kevin Johnston, who made similar comments and is facing a hate crime charge for his videos which target women, LGBTQ+ persons, and Muslims. Johnston is an associate of Boswick, Lily, and Jamnisek.
The harassment campaign against the Al-Soufi family began on August 22nd with a now-deleted video Lily posted on Youtube. In it she claims the Al-Soufi family is connected to ISIS, that their food is tainted, and she names the restaurant and gives its address. This was in retaliation to their son monitoring one of Rick Boswick’s court dates, who faces a charge of uttering threats towards an anti-fascist. In the now deleted video, she also says they filmed the son within the courthouse, which is illegal.
“They’re fucking ISIS militants. Former militants . . . You come here. You have a plan. You don’t like Christianity. Okay. You want to wipe out Christianity. You want to turn this country into Sharia law . . . we know everything, where you located. And we want Canadian people to know if you order food from [address], you are supporting terrorists. Did you know that they send money back home and Canadian soldiers die in Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq. When you go to that restaurant [address] you’re supporting terrorists.”
This harassment campaign escalated after a video went viral showing the son standing next to anti-fascists who are blocking an elderly woman’s path and shouting at her at a People’s Party of Canada event at Mohawk College in Hamilton, Ontario. The son and the family apologized, but the harassment continued.
Boswick and Lily quickly made more videos identifying the son, publishing information on his family and their restaurant, and calling them terrorists because they are Syrian. For the next week the far-right ecosystem in Canada had one target: the Al-Soufi family. The family started receiving a barrage of death threats; some were posted as comments on Boswick's videos.
After news that the restaurant would close due to these death threats, far-right video bloggers started claiming these threats were made up. In a video dated October 10, Lily says “[the son] is not a good Muslim. He’s a terrorist . . . [the Al-Soufi family] got advice from Muslim Brotherhood . . . to play victim . . .just tell that you’re getting death threats.”
If you have any information that would assist in serving these individuals with legal documents, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
RICK BOSWICK, OTTAWA ON
- Is facing criminal charges for threats towards an anti-fascist
- Rick is a video blogger, primarily targeting anti-fascists, LGBTQ+ and Muslim persons
- Has disrupted various LGBTQ+ events, including the attack on Hamilton Pride
- Participated in the pre-meditated brawl in the Eaton Centre after a PEGIDA rally in Toronto
- Former Vice President of Canadian Combat Coalition, an anti-Muslim group, and associates with most hate groups in Ontario, including those with neo-Nazi ties
- Has claimed mass shootings by right-wing extremists are fake or media spin
- Supporter of Faith Goldy, self-proclaimed “propaganda arm” for the alt-right neo-Nazi movement
LILY, HAMILTON ON
- Video blogger primarily targeting anti-fascists, LGBTQ+ and Muslim persons, and regular demonstrator at Hamilton Yellow Vests Canada and Toronto PEGIDA rallies
- Supports the neo-Nazi Canadian Nationalist Party, whose leader is under investigation for a video in which he calls for Jews to be removed “once and for all” from Canada
- Attended neo-Nazi Kevin Goudreau’s court dates to show her support; Goudreau is now subject to a peace bond for encouraging supporters to murder us, journalists, and government workers.
- Has neo-Nazi merchandise in her home (note the totenkopf)
ED JAMNISEK, MARKHAM ON
- Member of the Northern Guard, a militant anti-Muslim group with neo-Nazi ties and a regular at Yellow Vest Canada and PEGIDA demonstrations
- A regular on conspiracy theorist video streams (such as Duke Willis), including alongside neo-Nazi Kevin Goudreau
Here's How You Can Help
While we don’t have the resources to run an organized volunteer program, there are several ways you can help and stand up to hate groups in your own community and across Canada. The most important thing is to organize with other likeminded people in your own community, collect information, and be ready to respond to hate group activity.
Monitor Hate Groups
We couldn’t do the work we do without dozens of community members across Canada that monitor the public social media pages of hate groups, taking screenshots and documenting examples of:
- Overt bigotry and racism
- Celebrations of violence and incitement to violence
- Death threats and targeted harassment
- Event planning
- Infighting and leadership changes
Read more about this vital and often invisible work done by anti-fascist and anti-racist members of your community and all across the country.
Some groups or collectives primarily monitor one group. For example, Yellow Vests Canada Exposed began by documenting and exposing the hundreds of examples of overt racism, bigotry and death threats shared by Yellow Vests Canada and its affiliated pages. Others, like Halifax Against Hate, focus on local groups, particularly when they plan events. We recommend this level of specificity rather than trying to cover everything at once. Pick a group and individuals (especially if they're active locally) that you find concerning and don't be afraid to switch focus as you learn more.
Archive.org is useful for saving individual pages, but it doesn't work on social media pages. We recommend copy and pasting entire Facebook pages and Twitter feeds into Word documents and taking screenshots of the most important pieces. Make sure what you find is well-documented and can be verified by other observers.
Keep your files organized, and please send an email to email@example.com if you hear about events, or find death threats or targeted harassment campaigns. Try not to work in silos - flag important information for our attention, but please also connect with others doing this work and share your publicly available findings.
Infiltrate Hate Groups
Some individuals take on the necessary work of infiltrating hate groups online, creating a false persona and posing as supporters to gain access to less public online spaces where hate groups often share the worst and most telling examples of hate and racism, and encourage and plan violence and events.
We will not recruit individuals to infiltrate groups, but will work with individuals already undertaking this necessary work. If you are infiltrating groups you must be responsible for your own safety. You should not attempt this work without first learning deeply about the group over several months and taking a number of precautions, including protecting your identity. We also recommend reading the Anti-Racist Canada blog to gain some insight into the methods used.
Cancel Hate Group Events
Individuals and groups have been very successful in getting hate group events cancelled by convincing venue owners to make the principled decision to cancel events. Be polite but firm. Start by speaking with the venue and providing information on the hate group that has booked their space. If they won’t cancel the event, talk to your friends and family and use local Facebook groups to encourage community members to send emails and make phone calls. It’s always in their best social and business interest to have a good relationship with the community, which you should emphasize. Stand by the venue if they receive any backlash, and be sure to thank and support them in the coming days if they cancel the event.
Events held in public spaces are more difficult to cancel. While no city has an obligation to provide venue space (eg. a library) to hate groups, there’s less they can do when a group is planning an unpermitted event in front of city hall, for example. If you can’t get the event cancelled, the best way to disrupt and demoralize hate groups is to participate in a counter-demonstration with a coalition of anti-fascist and anti-racist community groups that use direct but nonviolent tactics and massively outnumber the hate groups and their supporters. We do not organize demonstrations, so we encourage you to find and connect with your local organizations.
Pitch us a story
We take story pitches that deal with hate groups, often about upcoming events or ones that just occurred, or explainers that will get our audience (and your community) up to speed on local events. Send a short email to firstname.lastname@example.org that explains the story, why it matters, and what information you have to back it up. We can pay $100 for stories from members of the community and $200 for stories from individuals with some kind of professional writing experience, i.e. writers/researchers/journalists.
We Convinced an Art gallery to Cancel a People’s Party of Canada Event in Winnipeg
You can too with a little persistence and the help of an informed and supportive community
Special to the Canadian Anti-Hate Network
August 8, 2019
Neo-Nazi Paul Fromm (left) pictured with Maxime Bernier at Mississauga, Ontario immigration policy announcement. July 24, 2019. Source: Facebook.
On July 25th 2019, the People’s Party of Canada (PPC) was supposed to have their first candidate rally in the riding of Winnipeg Centre.
I contacted the venue and convinced them to cancel the event with the help of Winnipeg’s anti-fascist and arts community.
This peaceful tactic has disrupted hate groups across Canada, forcing them to cancel public events, and can be initiated by any community member. It does, however, require awareness and support. That’s why Winnipeg FF1, an anti-fascist group I’m part of, puts community action and education at the forefront of anti-racist activism.
The People’s Party of Canada, led by Maxime Bernier, attracts supporters and sympathizers of hate groups. Its immigration policy was endorsed by Faith Goldy, a self-proclaimed “propaganda arm” for the alt-right neo-Nazi movement, and neo-Nazi Paul Fromm. Not long after one of its candidates issued a call for more hate speech so that right-wing extremists won’t resort to murder, an argument that was thoroughly debunked by the Canadian Anti-Hate Network. Bernier told journalists he stood by his candidate's comments.
In the past two years FF1 has counter-demonstrated a Manitoba branch of the militant anti-Muslim Soldiers of Odin, which hasn’t been back since, convinced hotels to cancel an event planned by Paul Fromm, and exposed local activity of the neo-Nazi Canadian Nationalist Party, among other victories.
These successes are the result of an entire community that springs into action any time hate groups try to organize in our neighbourhoods.
On July 19, a community member sent us a photo of a poster for a Winnipeg Centre People’s Party of Canada rally at the Cre8ery gallery. They were upset the gallery, known to be an inclusive space, would host an event for the PPC given Maxime Bernier’s anti-trans statements and close proximity to hate groups.
Winnipeg Centre is one of the most ethnically and economically diverse ridings in Canada, with a large indigenous, refugee and immigrant population. It’s also home to our arts community.
Only a week earlier, the entire PPC executive in another Winnipeg riding, Elmwood-Transcona, quit due to concerns about their own members, the sort of people that would have attended this rally at Cre8ery gallery:
"The biggest problem we face locally though, are our own supporters. Racists, bigots, antisemites, and conspiracy theorists have large presence in the public conversation surrounding the People's Party of Canada. Many of these PPC supporters would deny freedoms to Canadians and close our physical and economic borders. Many more spread disinformation and distrust online via their personal, and sometimes official party channels. None of these are things we would have expected you [Maxime Bernier] to stand beside during the leadership campaign. We are appalled to see it encouraged with a wink and a nod now."
We consulted with folks in the art community and we agreed to give Cre8ery the benefit of the doubt and raise our concerns privately, which we’ve done with other venues in similar situations.
I emailed the gallery owner with examples of the PPC’s transphobia, islamophobia and racism from their leaders, candidates and members, and shared with them the resignation letter of the PPC Elmwood-Transcona executive. I suggested it would be in the best interest of the gallery and the community it served to cancel the event and keep the gallery an inclusive place for folks in marginalized communities.
Our exchanges can be found here.
Gallery owner Jordan Miller responded kindly, but said she isn’t into politics, has no interest in the party or its platform, and as a business that rents space, was obliged to keep the $75 booking.
I offered to cover the cost, and promised that we would rally the community to support her and the gallery if there was any backlash from the PPC. We also made it clear that if the gallery decided to host the PPC that we would make that decision public and urge people to boycott the gallery. This is one way we use our free expression rights to counter hate group activity.
We don’t take the promise of a public boycott lightly. As was the case with the Canadian Nationalist Party’s event at the Belgian Club last year, our exposing this kind of activity can lead to financial consequences for organizations that host hate groups. In this case, because the art community for the most part embraces anti-fascist principles, I knew that the gallery would be doing itself a disservice by hosting a PPC event.
Up to this point we were keeping our exchange private, hoping that the venue would cancel on its own. Unfortunately, Miller told me the PPC rally would continue as planned.
We therefore made the decision to inform the community that, despite all efforts made with the gallery owner, they were still planning to host the PPC rally. The community sprung into action and made phone calls, sent emails, and made posts urging the gallery owner to cancel the event for the sake of inclusivity in our community. Community members provided education and made their feelings known.
It worked, as it usually does. The gallery owner cancelled the PPC rally, returned their money, and declared that they won’t do political events and that they are proud of being an inclusive space.We took our post down and replaced it with one informing everyone of the good news. Folks responded with their support, and thanks to Miller and the gallery for making the right decision.
We expected some backlash from PPC members for ruining their day, and later that night they went after me personally.
Monique Choiselat, the head of the Winnipeg Centre PPC riding executive, made multiple posts calling me a “terrorist,” including my picture, address, and phone number. Those posts were removed by Twitter and Facebook, including those posted by the PPC Winnipeg Centre account. To be clear: this is a racist and defamatory accusation that further demonstrates how PPC organizers and supporters target racialized people like myself.
The important takeaway here is that we were successful. All it takes to disrupt hate groups when they are planning events is staying vigilant, sharing research, and asking the community to help convince venues that they don’t want to associate with hate groups. You can do it too, either by getting one of these campaigns started, or by making phone calls and sending emails.
I want to thank my friends at FF1 and this fantastic and active community that has always been there to help keep hate groups out of Winnipeg and make this one of the hardest places in Canada for them to organize. As we say here in the Prairie capital:
Peg City Don’t Play.
Omar Kinnarath is an anti-fascist activist and organizer with FF1, an organization that monitors, exposes, and organizes against far-right activity in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Hate Groups Find Foothold on East Coast
Here's what you need to know
Olivia Boonstra & the Canadian Anti-Hate Network
July 29, 2019
New Brunswick and Halifax members of the Northern Guard. Source: Facebook.
White supremacist and far-right groups have been trying to gain a following in the Maritimes for almost a year now. Their activities are escalating and they’re carrying out ‘patrols’, rallies, and demonstrations.
Three groups are particularly active on the East Coast: The Northern Guard (NG), The National Citizens Alliance (NCA), and the remnants of Yellow Vests Canada (YVC), now producing content under the name 'NL Media'. Stephen Garvey, leader of the NCA, is running in the riding of Cumberland-Colchester, Nova Scotia, in the federal election.
The escalation started about a year ago, when the Soldiers of Odin (SOO) began carrying out so-called patrols in Halifax in late 2018. SOO rebranded as the Northern Guard in NS in early 2019 and continued these ‘patrols’, which sometimes included giving pizza to the homeless.
This kind of hate group ‘volunteerism’ is commonplace and part of a simple public relations strategy. Elsewhere the Soldiers of Odin pick up needles and the neo-fascist, neo-Nazi Atalante Quebec give meals to white people who are homeless, for example.
Fagan has been banned from all Domino's locations in Nova Scotia.
A post from Northern Guard president, Norman English, took umbrage with what occurred, including a statement acknowledging, “yes we are against any ppl that come here to change our way of life”.
A recent video also shows Northern Guard member Tobin Parker threatening people on the street with pepper spray during the a National Citizens Alliance rally on June 22nd.
The National Citizens Alliance (NCA) is a federal party led by Stephen Garvey, who has done events in the past with the explicitly anti-Muslim Worldwide Coaltion Against Islam, a neo-Nazi tied organization which refers to Muslims as vermin and sewage. NCA aims to put a ‘temporary pause’ on immigration and a massive reduction in immigration over time.
The party is working hard to secure a following in Nova Scotia, attending popular festivals and attempting to hold rallies and demonstrations. However, it has now been banned from events and has been met by counter-protests.
On June 22nd, National Citizens Alliance held a rally in Halifax in an attempt to recruit members in the area. The NCA were largely outnumbered by counter protestors organized by Halifax Against Hate (@HFXAgainstHate), a Halifax collective documenting far-right activities in Halifax and organizing against their actions.
During the rally, and shortly following the rally, police arrested two counter-protestors. Video shows a man being arrested after knocking Garvey’s hat off (without otherwise making contact with him).
Following the rally, the Halifax Regional Police arrested another counter-protestor for allegedly damaging an NCA banner. A video appears to show the counter-protestor being attacked by NCA members, ostensibly after damaging the banner, and it’s alleged that they were pepper sprayed by an officer while NCA members attacked them.
Only one National Citizens Alliance member was arrested, allegedly for public intoxication, according to a Halifax Against Hate press release.
The party has rallies planned in cities across Canada, and according to their website, have raised $16,520 dollars in donations.
On July 19th, 2019, NCA announced that leader and founder, Stephen Garvey, would be running in the Cumberland-Colchester, NS federal riding in the 2019 federal election. Eight more NCA candidates were also announced, running in ridings in Saskatchewan, British Columbia, New Brunswick, Ontario, and Alberta.
NCA is planning more rallies across Canada in cities like Hamilton, Kingston, Charlottetown, and Nova Scotia.
Another somewhat recent entry in the East Coast hate scene is the Yellow Vests Canada movement, which began holding regular demonstrations across Canada, primarily targeting Muslims and Trudeau, in late 2018.
The Newfoundland & Labrador chapter of Yellow Vests Canada has been particularly active over the past few months, despite the general decline of the movement across Canada.
The group has organized small demonstrations in the St. John’s and Mount Pearl area. They are more active online where leader Kenny Winsor launched NL Media, one of many far-right, content-producing pages. NL Media primarily targets Trudeau and the LGBTQ+ community, with a particular focus on Liberal candidate Hasan Hai.
Winsor went to Hai’s campaign headquarters in May of 2019 to confront him directly after months of online harassment. Winsor harangued Hai and his staff before eventually leaving. Law enforcement was called but have not laid charges to date.
Winsor works with other content creators like Yellow Vests Canada alumni ‘Rollin with Pat and Jay’ who are touring across Canada, and have had several venues cancel on them after outreach by the anti-racist community.
‘Rollin with Pat and Jay’ hosts Pat King and Jay Riedel share anti-immigrant, anti-muslim, and anti-semetic sentiments, including Holocaust denial. King and Riedel were planning on touring Newfoundland & Labrador, however that leg of the tour has been cancelled due to the “great possibility they will face fierce opposition.”
The Northern Guard (NG) is a militant anti-Muslim group with neo-Nazi ties that is active across Canada. Their members have engaged in premeditated assaults targeting anti-racist, anti-fascist demonstrators.
The Northern Guard is an off-shoot of a similar group called the Soldiers of Odin (SOO), which disbanded in Nova Scotia and was reformed as the Northern Guard. The SOO were founded in Finland by a self-proclaimed neo-Nazi who has been found guilty of multiple racially motivated assaults. SOO chapters have been active in Canada since 2016.
There is some dispute over what motivated this ‘rebranding’ in Nova Scotia. Some sources say that there was internal conflict within the NS chapter of SOO about letting women join the group, which led to the creation of the ‘men only’ group, the Northern Guard. Women interested in being a part of the Northern Guard are encouraged to join their ‘sister’ group, the Northern Maidens, which works as a support group for the Northern Guard.
A statement from the Northern Guard insists that the split was due to financial conflicts within the group, with one post alleging that the president at the time, Billy Rushton, was stealing from the group.
National Citizens Alliance
The National Citizens Alliance (NCA) is a small federal party that was accepted by Elections Canada in January of 2019. Their website boasts that they will put a moratorium on all immigration, reduce foreign aid by 75%, reduce ‘bureaucracy’ by 50%, and make 9 amendments to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Their overall platform is anti-immigration, anti-globalization, and climate emergency denial.
Much like the Northern Guard, there is a specific anti-Muslim focus. The party itself walks a fine line so as to not portray itself as openly racist. It betrays itself, however, by it’s past associations with anti-Muslim and neo-Nazi groups such as the Worldwide Coalition Against Islam, and by its actions. Garvey attended the Arab Festival in Calgary last weekend where he livestreamed himself asking attendees where they came from and their immigration status.
Yellow Vests Canada
Yellow Vests Canada (YVC) is a far-right movement and Facebook page that has come to be characterized by hundreds of documented examples of death threats and overt racism, primarily targeting Muslims. At its peak it included members and supporters of virtually every anti-Muslim hate group in Canada. YVC is, by and large, a spent movement that can no longer carry out any significant demonstrations, however there is a particularly stubborn faction in Newfoundland & Labrador that remains active.
Today, it’s not so much a movement with any organizational capacity, but rather a Facebook page and a collection of content creators, including NL Media, Rollin with Pat & Jay, Rick Boswich (currently charged with uttering a threat), and Derek Storie.
Olivia Boonstra is a Masters student currently working in the areas of Harm Reduction and countering Right-Wing Extremism. She is completing a placement with the Canadian Anti-Hate Network as part of the Criminology and Social Justice MA program at Ryerson University.
Time for the Canadian Armed Forces to Investigate and Remove Hate Group Members
Canadian Armed Forces aware of hate group members and others engaging in "racist/hate motivated behaviour" in their ranks
June 20, 2019
Those of us who are monitoring hate groups in Canada could hardly believe our eyes.
This week, a 2018 report titled, “White Supremacy, Hate Groups, and Racism in the Canadian Armed Forces” written by Canadian Military Police Criminal Intelligence Section was made public through the Access to Information Act.
It raises serious concerns but you wouldn’t know it from the report’s conclusions. Despite finding that between 2013 and 2018, there were 53 Canadian Armed Forces members connected to hate groups or hate activity, apparently there’s no reason for worry.
“At this time hate groups do not pose a significant threat to the CAF/Department of National Defence,” reads the MPCIS report. “Less than 0.1% of the total CAF population were identified as part of a hate group or engaging in racist/hate motivated activity.”
Say what now?
This at a time when government and police authorities are saying they recognize right-wing extremism as a serious threat and Canadians are calling on them, and waiting on them, to take meaningful action. Tragically, recent events in North America and around the world have once again demonstrated that white supremacy isn’t just hateful words, but murder and terrorism.
We know how potentially dangerous even a single well-trained person can be when radicalized to violence. In 1995, Timothy McVeigh, an American white supremacist and a Gulf War veteran with explosives training, planted a bomb at the Alfred P. Murrah Building in Oklahoma City, which led to the murder of 168 people, amongst them 19 children in an adjoined daycare centre. Another 680 others were wounded.
More recently, American Coast Guard Lieutenant, former marine, and white supremacist Christopher Hasson was arrested this past February for plotting the assassination of politicians and journalists. This came after research and information undertaken in the United States indicating the real presence of white supremacists and neo-Nazis within its military.
In Canada in the early 1990s an investigation by the Security Intelligence Review Committee against white supremacist leadership in Canada showed, Eric Fischer, a former corporal in the Canadian Airborne Regiment who became a security chief in the violent neo-Nazi Heritage Front was “actively recruiting within the military” for recruits to white supremacy.
The investigation further revealed ‘that leading racists believe that the military is good recruiting ground.’”
In 1993 a special government commission was called after soldiers from the First Airborne Regiment (the same division that Eric Fisher was a part) tortured and executed 16-year-old Shidane Abukar Arone, during a 1993 peacekeeping mission in Somalia. In the end it led to the disbandment of the division.
From research undertaken at the Canadian Anti-Hate Network, we know that Canadian neo-Nazis encourage their fellow travellers to join the military to “learn to kill” and take that skillset back to teach their comrades. Other respected researchers of Canadian white nationalism such as Dr. Ryan Scrivens agree noting that “…right-wing extremists have historically joined the Canadian military and…they are currently in the ranks.”
It’s time for some urgent questions.
Why are 30 of those members identified in the military document still reportedly serving in the Canadian Armed Forces?
On what basis were members of hate groups within the CAF determined not to be a threat?
Is the report stating they aren’t a threat to the combat readiness of the CAF, or towards Canadians in general?
Does the CAF find it concerning that they are training and providing access to military weaponry to members of hate groups?
At a time when North America has seen an extraordinary increase in white supremacist activity and innocent people have been murdered by right wing extremists on our streets and in our houses of worship, it’s incumbent on the Canadian military to not ignore or diminish the potential danger we face. How is it possible that government leaders and military authorities have remained so passive in the face of these threats?
If we were talking about ISIS supporters within the ranks, surely we would see immediate action by the Minister of Defence and the Chief of the Canadian Defence Staff.
It must be crystal clear by now that all such groups are a threat to public safety, and that individuals who are connected to extremists, hate groups and hate activity should be dishonourably discharged.
This is not a time for inaction. Our Veterans fought the scourge of Nazism and hatred. Failure to act devalues their heroic efforts and leaves Canadians vulnerable to violent acts of terrorism and hate.
Editor's note: The 2018 report acknowledges that members of hate groups go to some length to hide their views. The sources of the data in the report seem to suggest that the reported numbers are based on incidents and information brought to the attention of the Canadian Military Police Criminal Intelligence Section, rather than proactive investigation to identify members of hate groups within the ranks. In short, the real number is likely higher.
Bernie M. Farber is the Chair of the Canadian Anti-Hate Network.
Hamilton Becoming Front Line of Ontario Hate Group Activity
While Yellow Vests Canada street activity is disappearing across Canada, a Hamilton group is escalating the violence.
Canadian Anti-Hate Network & Yellow Vests Canada Exposed
June 10, 2019
Soldiers of Odin speaking with a passerby on June 8 at Hamilton City Hall. Photo credit: Christine Krahelska.
On Saturday, a Yellow Vests Hamilton rally at City Hall brought out a crowd of between 30 and 50, including the Soldiers of Odin, Proud Boys, the Canadian Nationalist Party, the leader of which recently released an antisemitic video about the “parasitic tribe,” and others.
Two hate group members were arrested, one for attacking a photographer taking pictures the Canadian Anti-Hate Network commissioned for this article and another for headbutting a counter-demonstrator, according to witnesses.
Street-level Yellow Vest activity has declined across Canada following their convoy to Ottawa in February. The anti-Muslim groups, which often played a large role in YV demonstrations, have gone back to organizing under their own banners.
Hamilton is an outlier to this trend. The Hamilton Yellow Vests are now holding regular demonstrations again that bring out the most militant anti-Muslim hate groups and both the rhetoric and violence is escalating.
Yellow Vests Canada Exposed has documented hundreds of calls to violence on Canadian Yellow Vest pages. Several YV supporters are facing charges of uttering threats, such as video blogger Rick Boswick. Others have been arrested and found with, or claim to have, stockpiles of weapons. YV Facebook pages are full of conspiracy theories, anti-Muslim bigotry, and calls for the public officials to be executed.
After the June 1st rally, Yellow Vest Hamilton’s Justin Long bragged that “one of the antifa people was shoved after pushing someone n [sic] had her glasses broken because we took her face covering off to get a picture of her . . . police were there and nobody was charged.” YV Hamilton’s Lisa Thompson of Dundas, Ontario posted a picture of a mask, which she took as a trophy.
A Hamilton anti-fascist tells Yellow Vests Canada Exposed that they were attacked by Soldiers of Odin and Yellow Vests. This is corroborated by a video posted by Long on June 9th which says that the Soldiers of Odin and others were invited to do ‘security’ and “antifa was waiting for us and they took chase after antifa.” Another video, posted by Proud Boys Canada on June 2nd, shows a counter-demonstrator standing on their own when Thompson runs up, hits them in the face and removes their mask, and then taunts and follows the individual as they try to leave.
Lisa Thompson did not respond to a request for comment.
Commenting on a post by Justin Long in the lead up to the June 8th rally, supporter Steve Stapleton from Lake County, British Columbia suggested they follow the counter-demonstrator’s leader home and “beat the shit out of him.” Andy Taylor from Saint John, New Brunswick added, “Ensure no cameras or witlesses [sic].”
Photographer Christine Krahelska was approached by three Soldiers of Odin when she left the body of the June 8th rally to take a picture from a different vantage point.
“They crossed the street, somewhat surrounded me and blocked my way back to the group. They approached quickly and they said things like, ‘so you like taking pictures of us? Well how about this? We won't be letting you go back to your friends,’ . . . I put the camera up to my face to start filming the encounter and the biggest man immediately punched the camera, and consequently my hand, trying to knock it out of my hands to break it, he successfully knocked a piece (the lens hood) off. The camera was strapped to me so it just fell to my side. One of the other SOO ran to my lens hood and stomped on it . . .
The individual who punched me was immediately arrested and another individual was cautioned and then later arrested [when] he head-butted one of the counter protestors and broke their nose.”
This is the latest in a series of premeditated attacks by far-right hate groups. On March 30 in Edmonton, for example, a Soldiers of Odin member was arrested after a collection of hate groups found and attacked counter-demonstrators after a Worldwide Coalition Against Islam rally.
In a June 9th video, Justin Long says it’s his goal to clear anti-fascists out of Hamilton and then move on to another city, maybe Niagara Falls. They are holding another rally in Hamilton next Saturday.
We have made the editorial decision not to provide links to the videos, which the Canadian Anti-Hate Network has saved, to protect the privacy of the victim.
Quebec Far-Right Hold Rally in Support of Government’s Law Against Religious Symbols - Canadian Anti-Hate Network
Quebéc Far-Right Hold Rally in Support of Government’s Law Against Religious Symbols
Far-right organizers and hate groups are trying to use support for the law, widely characterized as discriminatory and unconstitutional, to gather new supporters
April 9, 2019
Canadian Anti-Hate Network
Far-right supporters gather for the vague bleue demonstration in Montreal on May 4.
For over a month in the leadup to May 4, Québec’s far-right had been excited. There was a wave coming, they said. A “vague bleue;” a blue wave - a sea of blue and white Québec flags.
The vague bleue was initially meant to be a demonstration in favour of a “citizen’s constitution,” the primary demand of the Québec Yellow Vests. The group is characterized by racism and conspiracy theories and led by Pierre Dion, who was recently arrested for inciting hatred towards Muslims. Vague bleue, like the weekly, dozen-strong Yellow Vests demonstrations, was held on a Saturday outside Québecor-owned television station TVA.
Vague bleue was set to be Québec’s largest far-right demonstration in a very long time. Over 2,000 people were listed as attending on Facebook and far-right internet personalities filmed themselves putting up posters around the city, expecting a massive turnout.
While it was being organized, vague bleue became a rally in favour of Bill 21, the governing Coalition Avenir Québec party’s proposed secularism law which would ban individuals who wear religious symbols from working in large segments of the public service, including as police, judges, and teachers. Far-right organizations loudly support the law with the anti-Muslim group La Meute even briefly switching the banner photo for their public Facebook group to a picture of Premier François Legault.
Making the vague bleue rally about Bill 21 led to significantly more interest, and exploded the reach of its Facebook event, which made no direct mention of any of the extremist groups involved.
Despite their attempts to mask the nature of the rally, far right groups were very much on the scene, and wearing their colours. Photos of the demonstration show members of Storm Alliance, La Meute and other militant anti-Muslim groups in paramilitary gear acting as “volunteer security.” Organizers explicitly asked that participants not fly the flags of their groups, but instead use Québec flags (as well as the Patriots flag, which is popular among nationalists).
At around 500 attendees, vague bleue was larger than most previous far right demonstrations—the last major one being La Meute’s incursion into Montreal on July 1, 2018, which was prevented from marching by anti-fascist activists surrounding the demonstration.
Vague bleue was also met by an anti-racist counter demonstration which peaked at 250 persons. Some left after police began firing tear gas at the counter-demonstrators, shooting one anti-racist in the face with a canister. The counter-protest dispersed, but later regrouped. Separated by a police line, the two demonstrations faced off until the vague bleue contingent marched back to the buses which had brought many of them in from out of town.
Previously, the largest far-right demonstration had occurred in November 2017, when La Meute and Storm Alliance—as well as neo-Nazi aligned Atalante Québec and Soldiers of Odin—formed a coalition against the already-cancelled provincial inquiry into systemic racism, drawing around 500 people to the streets of Québec City. However, the far-right’s capacity to mobilize people onto the streets started to stagnate and decline as a result of concerted anti-racist organizing and far-right infighting. By summer 2018, their demonstrations would only bring out one to three hundred supporters.
Now, the far-right is picking up steam again, using vague bleue as a way to ride on the very real wave of online Islamophobia that has become more visible since the government’s announcement of Bill 21. Organizers believe they can use Bill 21 to draw Quebecers beyond (but still including) the usual cohort of far-right groups into their fold.
A “Vague Bleue Part 2” is currently being planned for the end of June, in Trois-Rivieres, about an hour and a half away from Montreal.
The Canadian Anti-Hate Network would like to thank a contributor from Montréal for their help in researching and authoring this article.
Un rassemblement d'extrême droite québécoise en faveur de la loi du gouvernement contre les symboles religieux
Des organisateurs d'extrême droite et des groupes haineux tentent d'utiliser le soutien à la loi, largement qualifié de discriminatoire et inconstitutionnel, pour réunir de nouveaux partisans
April 9, 2019
Canadian Anti-Hate Network
Depuis plus d’un mois, jusqu’au 4 mai, l’extrême droite du Québec était excitfée. Il y avait une vague à venir, ils ont dit. Une vague bleue; une vague bleue, une mer de drapeaux bleus et blancs du Québec.
La vague bleue devait au départ être une manifestation en faveur d’une «constitution de citoyen», revendication première des gilets jaunes du Québec. Le groupe se caractérise par des théories du racisme et du complot et est dirigé par Pierre Dion, récemment arrêté pour incitation à la haine envers les musulmans. Vague bleue, comme les démonstrations hebdomadaires d'une dizaine de manifestants, a eu lieu un samedi devant la station de télévision TVA détenue par Québecor.
Vague bleue devait être la plus grande manifestation d’extrême droite au Québec depuis très longtemps. Plus de 2 000 personnes étaient inscrites sur Facebook et des personnalités d'extrême droite de l'internet se sont filmées en train de poser des affiches dans toute la ville, dans l'attente d'une participation massive.
Pendant qu’elle était organisée, la vague bleue devenait un rassemblement en faveur du projet de loi 21, le projet de loi sur la laïcité proposé par le parti au pouvoir de la Coalition Avenir Québec, qui interdirait aux personnes portant des symboles religieux de travailler dans de larges secteurs de la fonction publique, notamment en tant que policiers, juges, et les enseignants. Les organisations d'extrême droite soutiennent la loi avec force. Le groupe anti-musulman La Meute a même brièvement basculé la photo de la bannière de leur groupe Facebook public sur une photo du premier ministre François Legault.
Faire le rassemblement de la vague bleu autour du projet de loi 21 a suscité beaucoup plus d’intérêt et a fait exploser la portée de son événement sur Facebook, qui ne mentionnait directement aucun des groupes extrémistes impliqués.
Malgré leurs tentatives pour masquer la nature du rassemblement, les groupes d'extrême droite étaient très présents et portaient leurs couleurs. Des photos de la manifestation montrent des membres de Storm Alliance, La Meute et d'autres groupes militants anti-musulmans en tenue paramilitaire jouant le rôle de «sécurité volontaire». Les organisateurs ont explicitement demandé que les participants n’apportent pas les drapeaux de leurs groupes, mais qu'ils utilisent plutôt des drapeaux du Québec ( comme le drapeau des patriotes, qui est populaire parmi les nationalistes).
Avec environ 500 participants, le vague bleu était plus grand que la plupart des manifestations précédentes d’extrême droite - la dernière en date étant l’incursion de La Meute à Montréal le 1er juillet 2018, qui avait été empêchée par les activistes antifascistes qui avaient entouré la manifestation.
Vague bleue a également rencontré une contre-manifestation antiraciste qui a culminé à 250 personnes. Certains sont partis après que la police ait commencé à tirer des gaz lacrymogènes sur les contre-manifestants, tirant un antiraciste au visage avec une cartouche. La contre-manifestation s'est dispersée, mais s'est ensuite regroupée. Séparés par une ligne de police, les deux manifestations se sont affrontées jusqu’à ce que le contingent vague bleu se dirige vers les bus qui en avaient fait venir beaucoup d’autres villes.
Auparavant, la plus grande manifestation d'extrême droite avait eu lieu en novembre 2017, lorsque La Meute et Storm Alliance, ainsi que les groupes Atalante Québec et Soldiers of Odin formaient une coalition qui a attiré environ 500 personnes dans les rues de la ville de Québec contre l'enquête provinciale déjà annulée sur le racisme systémique. Cependant, la capacité de l'extrême droite à mobiliser les gens dans les rues a commencé à stagner et à décliner à la suite d'une organisation concertée antiraciste et des querelles internes d'extrême droite. D'ici l'été 2018, leurs manifestations ne réuniraient que de cent à trois cents sympathisants.
Maintenant, l'extrême droite reprend son élan, utilisant la vague bleue comme moyen de tirer parti de la véritable vague d'islamophobie en ligne qui est devenue plus visible depuis l'annonce par le gouvernement du projet de loi 21. Les organisateurs pensent pouvoir utiliser le projet de loi 21 pour attirer les Québécois en plus de (tout en incluant) la cohorte habituelle de groupes d'extrême droite.
Une «Vague Bleue 2me partie» est actuellement prévue pour la fin juin à Trois-Rivières, à environ une heure et demie de Montréal.
Le réseau canadien anti-haine aimerait remercier un contributeur de Montréal pour son aide dans la recherche et la rédaction de cet article.
Royal Canadian Legion Investigating Grande Prairie Branch Association with Soldiers of Odin
Legion also promises new policy against associations with groups not consistent with its values
April 5, 2019
Canadian Anti-Hate Network
Soldiers of Odin member arrested in Edmonton on March 30th following premeditated attack on anti-racists.
On April 22nd, the Soldiers of Odin (SOO) held an Easter dinner at the Grande Prairie branch of the Royal Canadian Legion in Alberta. A CBC story revealed that some SOO members are also members of the Legion. In an interview with the CBC, the Grande Prairie legion’s branch manager and past vice-president defended the event and the SOO, respectively.
In response, the Royal Canadian Legion is introducing new policy against “any form of association” with hate groups like the Soldiers of Odin. In social media posts, the RCL also promise they “will be investigating the issue further with the Grande Prairie Legion Branch to determine what corrective action must be taken.”
The Soldiers of Odin are an anti-Muslim hate group founded by a self-identifying neo-Nazi in Finland who has been found guilty of racially motivated assault. The first generation of SOO chapters in Canada were led by and included overt white supremacists and neo-Nazis. Since then the SOO has fractured into several groups, including the Sons of Odin, Wolves of Odin, Storm Alliance, and Northern Guard.
The Grande Prairie Soldiers of Odin leader, Wade Reimer, tells CBC that their reputation as a hate group is “unearned.”
Less than a month earlier, Edmonton Soldiers of Odin and other hate groups attended a Worldwide Coalition Against Islam rally. At the event, one speaker shared the 14 words, an infamous neo-Nazi slogan, to cheers from the crowd. Afterwards, they engaged in a premeditated attack on anti-racist and anti-fascist activists that was caught on video. One SOO member was arrested.
Three things the government can do to fight far-right extremism
Comments by Prime Minister and Cabinet suggest government considering meaningful actions
April 2, 2019
Canadian Anti-Hate Network
Top left: III%ers; top right: La Meute; bottom left: Northern Guard; centre: Darren Jones, former Saskatchewan VP for the Northern Guard posing in front of Nazi flags; bottom right: the Soldiers of Odin
The Canadian government is currently considering legislation to address the problem of far-right extremism and far-right terror. While legislation is only one part of a larger solution that must include anti-racist activism, quality journalism, and social and legal consequences, we are cautiously optimistic about the prospect of any new tools to counter hate groups.
Here are three things the government can do to fight far-right extremism.
1. Bring back Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act so that the worst of the worst individuals and groups can be held accountable for authoring and sharing hate content.
Section 13 made it possible for any Canadian to make a complaint to the Canadian Human Rights Commission regarding individuals or groups communicating hate online. If the CHRC found the complaint to be reasonable, it would go to the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal, a semi-judicial body which could order a cease and desist and a small fine. If the individual refused to stop, they would be in contempt of court and may face jail time.
This legal tool to address the spread of hatred was found constitutional by the Supreme Court, but removed by the Conservative government nonetheless in 2013. There are relatively few tools to address unrepentant hate propagandists in its absence.
This will only be useful if the CHRC and Tribunal are sufficiently resourced.
2. Enforce the Canadian Human Rights Act regarding social media companies
While we welcome the news that Facebook will begin removing white nationalist content from their platform in the wake of the Christchurch terrorist attack, social media companies have a demonstrated track record that they are unwilling to sufficiently self-regulate and will only act on hate if compelled by extreme public outcry or legal tools.
The Canadian Human Rights Act prohibits discrimination or harassment in the delivery of a service in Canada to members of the public.
In allowing overt racist and bigoted discrimination and harassment to exist on their platforms, social media companies provide a service that exposes some individuals to materials that dehumanize, demean, and endanger them on the basis of prohibited grounds of discrimination. Under Canadian law these companies already have an obligation to remove hate content but the Canadian Human Rights Commission has failed to enforce the law. We need to see this enforced and billion-dollar social media companies need to respect the domestic laws in Canada and other countries in which they operate.
Additional legislation introducing significant financial penalties for social media companies that fail to quickly review and remove content designed to expose a person or persons to hatred or contempt on the basis of a prohibited ground of discrimination would add teeth to this preexisting obligation.
3. The RCMP and CSIS should invest a significant amount of resources towards monitoring right-wing extremism and undertake proactive interventions in the community.
All available information suggests that the RCMP and CSIS are not investing resources to properly monitor right-wing extremism. In October 2018, a RCMP spokesperson went on record to say that the Soldiers of Odin aren’t a threat - despite evidence, including a report from the Canada Border Services Agency, which states the SOO are “not afraid to use violence to achieve objectives.”
Another spokesperson told a reporter that they don’t know who or what the Proud Boys are. CSIS stopped investigating right-wing extremism in March 2016, and only started again after the Quebec mosque shooting in January, 2017.
Former CSIS analyst Jessica Davis echoes these concerns, calling for "resources [to] be assigned proportionally and in line with those that have been assigned to combat the al-Qaeda and Islamic State terrorism threat."
On March 28, foreign affairs minister Chrystia Freeland told the UN Security Council that “neo-Nazis, white supremacists, incels, nativists, and radical anti-globalists who resort to violent acts are a threat to the stability of my country and countries around the world,” and that it "need[s] to be at the top of our agenda when we talk about confronting terrorism.”
Ralph Goodale has said more than just research needs to be done to address right-wing extremism in Canada, which may include legislation targeting social media companies.
The Prime Minister acknowledged that right-wing extremist, white nationalist and neo-Nazi terrorist groups are “alive in Canada” in his remarks following the Christchurch terrorist attack.
Sault Ste. Marie Yellow Vests organizer Dave Selvers calls immigration minister Ahmed Hussen an “ugly n***** . . . responsible for flooding Canada with useless n***** muslim terrorists.”
Yellow Vests Canada convoy (aka United We Roll) about to arrive in Sault Ste. Marie
February 17, 2019
Canadian Anti-Hate Network
Dave Selvers of Sault Ste. Marie. Source: Facebook.
Content warning: Selvers’ blog posts are not censored in the body of the article.
According to Sault This Week, Dave Selvers started organizing Yellow Vest demonstrations in Sault Ste. Marie in mid-December, bringing together a half dozen others for Saturday protests. He supports the Yellow Vests Convoy (aka United We Roll) and is telling supporters when and where to meet the convoy later today. He is an active member of the Yellow Vests Rebellion Facebook group, a Canadian Yellow Vests Movement page which has 18,000 members and shares a moderator with the United We Roll! Official Convoy For Canada! Facebook group.
In 2017, Selvers was part of an anti-M103 demonstration organized by the Canadian Coalition of Concerned Citizens, an anti-Muslim group. M103 is the government’s motion condemning Islamophobia, that acted as a lightning rod for a fledgling street-level anti-Muslim movement that today is part of the Yellow Vests Canada movement.
Selvers, who has been blogging since at least 2011, targets Muslims, Blacks, women, LGBTQ+ persons and others. He has called for Trudeau, those close to him, and Obama to be hanged.
Update 2019-02-18: A picture uploaded to Selvers' Facebook profile indicates he (or at least one of his branded vehicles) attended the United We Roll convoy meetup in Sault Ste. Marie. Selvers is the President of Millenium Crane Rental Ltd.
On January 19th, 2019 he posted to his blog:
“thanks for the post of your support for our yellow vest movement. I spoke with the media this morning and was told that they are getting a lot of phone calls from people who want to join in and were requesting my phone number...they asked permission to give out my number and I told them yes.
. . .
I'm fighting for the re-instituting of the cultural norms and the Conservative values that Canada once shared so closely with America prior to 1970...I'm fighting against the MARXIST IDEOLOGY that the NWO has polluted our country and our minds with and used subversive dupes, like PIERRE ELLIOT TRUDEAU and his TWERP SON JUSTIN TRUDEAU, to propagate the MARXIST SOCIALIST AGENDA.
. . .
WE'RE OVERRUN WITH MUSLIM TERRORISTS, SUBHUMAN AFRICAN TRASH, MEXICAN FILTH, MIDDLE EAST SWINE AND HAITIAN SCUM, MEANWHILE WHITE CANADA, MAINLY WHITE HETRO MEN, ARE TARGETED FOR GENOCIDE...WE ARE BEING KILLED OFF SLOWLY, AND TRUDEAU, THE DEGENERATE TWERP IN OTTAWA AND USEFUL IDIOT FOR SOROS, IS FACILITATING THIS GENOCIDE.”
On January 1st, 2019 he posted to his blog:
“NO WOMEN IN POLITICS
. . .
Not too many women have qualified for the position of leadership and authority. Those women who have are along the lines of Joan of Arc, Queen Boudica, Margaret Thatcher, Benazir Bhutto and maybe one or two more. The fact is that none of these female character types exist today
. . .
Women do not belong in politics, at least not today's women. I cringe whenever I hear the filthy drivel and incoherent musings of imbicilic wenches like Nancy Pelosi, Maxine Waters, Barbara Boxer, Elizabeth Warren, Hillary Clinton, and so many more in the political world. Even in media. So many female journalists are indoctrinated into the MARXIST IDEOLOGY and they're ultimately sickening to listen to...as are their predominantly queer male counterparts.”
On July 27, 2018 he posted to his blog:
“FAGGOTS, QUEERS, LGBTQ CIRCUS FREAKS and a prime minister who's the illegitimate son of a psychotic circus whore ( who was no doubt banging Fidel Castro and his communist comrades ) have destroyed this once great country....we are overrun with muslim terrorists, our landfills are overburdened with Chinese trash, our educational system is an indoctrination camp for progressive marxism ( aka liberalism ) and the demented fruitcake who thinks he's prime minister is nothing more than a FAGGOT TWERP and " USEFUL IDIOT " for George Soros, the UN and the " CLUB OF ROME " .”
On November 13, 2017 he posted to his blog:
“TRUDEAU MUST BE ARRESTED AND TRIED IMMEDIATELY FOR TREASON AND UPON BEING FOUND GUILTY EXECUTED....I DESPISE THIS FAGGOT TWERP AS MUCH AS I DO THAT BLACK MUSLIM NIGGER TERRORIST OBAMA, BOTH ARE OF THE SAME RETARDED MIND
. . .
CANADA'S LIBERAL GOVERNMENT IS COMMITTED TO KILLING OFF THE WHITE PEOPLE WHO BUILT THIS COUNTRY, LIBERALS ARE THE ENEMY."
On November 23, 2018 he posted to his blog:
“ALL OF THIS COULD BE FIXED TOMORROW IF SOMEONE IN THE MILITARY WAKES UP AND REMOVES trudeau AND HIS FILTHY LIBERAL PARTY FROM OTTAWA. DRAG HIM OUT INTO THE STREET AND PUBLICLY HANG HIM FOR TREASON , AND THOSE CLOSEST TO HIM....OR WE'LL HAVE A CIVIL WAR ON OUR HANDS THE LIKES OF WHICH HAS NEVER BEEN SEEN ON THE NORTH AMERICA CONTINENT.”
With files from a supporter in Sault Ste. Marie. Thank you for the information.