Mayor Dale Bumstead
MLA Mike Bernier
MP Bob Zimmer
Dawson Creek RCMP
We represent the Canadian Anti-Hate Network (antihate.ca), a non-profit organization which monitors hate groups and their activities in Canada. We deliver information to the public and media and we provide information and evidence to law enforcement, and have done so on several criminal investigations across Canada.
Our advisory group is made up of Canada’s leading experts on hate groups and hate crimes, including human rights lawyers, academics, journalists, court-recognized experts, and leaders in targeted communities.
We are writing you this public letter today because we are deeply concerned by reports that the Soldiers of Odin are active in your community, engaging in volunteerism and participating in civic events, seemingly with the tacit acceptance or support of some public officials.
The Soldiers of Odin are an anti-Muslim hate group. They were founded in Finland by a self-identifying neo-Nazi who has been found guilty of racially motivated assault. It’s well documented that the Canadian organization has attracted white supremacists and neo-Nazis.
Several political parties and figures in Canada have disavowed the support of the Soldiers of Odin, like the United Conservative Party in Alberta. Others have found associating with the Soldiers of Odin to be a setback to their political aspirations. There is a growing recognition of what the group represents.
The statement by the RCMP that the Soldiers of Odin are not a concern is incorrect. The Canadian Anti-Hate Network and others have documented overtly racist statements targeting Muslims and other groups, and posts celebrating or encouraging violence.
Whether the local chapter engages in these behaviours is besides the point – you wouldn’t welcome a chapter of the Ku Klux Klan in your backyard even if they were doing garbage pickups and promised never to burn a cross. By using the same name, engaging in volunteerism, and finding the tacit acceptance of prominent figures in your community, they are whitewashing the Soldiers of Odin brand Canada-wide.
We call on you to send a strong message that you do not support hate groups such as the Soldiers of Odin operating in your community, and that they will not be part of any community policing plan.
Bernie Farber, Chair
Richard Warman, Board Member
Amira Elghawaby, Board Member
Evan Balgord, Executive Director
Large coalition of far-right, anti-Muslim groups in Ottawa this weekend
They are holding a protest against the UN agreement on migration, the newest cause célèbre of the far-right
December 4, 2018
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
On December 8th, a collection of far-right groups are going to hold a rally on Parliament Hill in Ottawa to protest against the United Nation Global Compact for Migration. The compact, which aims to promote human rights and make conditions safer for migrants, is not legally binding. However, the far-right have labeled it, among other things, a ‘suicide pact’, and have made it their cause célèbre of the past few weeks.
A petition against the Compact sponsored by Maxime Bernier and shared by far-right and alt-right neo-Nazi figures has garnered nearly 35,000 signatures, led by Ontario which has contributed 11,000.
On November 24th, Faith Goldy, a self-proclaimed propagandist for the alt-right neo-Nazi movement, held a similar, but only 40-strong, rally in Toronto. They were counter-demonstrated by an equally large crowd of anti-racist and anti-fascist demonstrators who were loud enough to ruin Goldy and her supporters’ livestream broadcasts.
Two different event pages are promoting the far-right rally on December 8th - one in English hosted by the Canadian Coalition of Concerned Citizens, and one in French hosted by representatives of several far-right and anti-Muslim groups.
One of the organizers claims to have an event permit, which would require approval by the Committee for the use of Parliament Hill.
According to the French Facebook event page, fifteen far-right groups are involved and have convened a ‘round table’ including a leader from each group. While La Meute says they aren’t organizing the event, they are arranging for transportation and sending a ‘security team’. The rally plans to include groups such as Storm Alliance, Northern Guard, the Canadian Coalition of Concerned Citizens, Le Meute, “Patriote” (likely Patriotes du Québec) and the III%ers.
All of the above groups are a regular feature of anti-Muslim demonstrations. While the anti-Muslim movement and its associated groups claim to only be critical of Islam, in both their public, but especially their private, online spaces, they have been exposed as overtly racist. Many celebrate or promote violence towards Muslims. Some, like the III%ers, are proudly militant. The III%ers are an armed militia-style group that have stockpiled weapons, conducted paramilitary training, and staked out mosques. Several groups also have ties to neo-Nazism, like the Northern Guard, an anti-Muslim group with a biker aesthetic.
Last week La Meute denied any association with Patriotes du Québec following revelations that a member of ‘Patriote’, who may also be a member of La Meute, was discussing creating “a fake terrorist attempt” to “scare the hell out of Quebecers,” according to an article in the Montreal Gazette.
La Meute spokesperson Slyvain Bouillette tells the Canadian Anti-Hate Network that several groups use the 'patriote' name and claims that, despite there being a ‘round table’ of leaders organizing together, that doesn’t constitute an endorsement of any other group.
Anti-fascist and anti-racist activists in Ottawa are planning a counter-demonstration on December 8th.
The Canadian Anti-Hate Network would like to thank a contributor from Ottawa for their help in researching and authoring this article.
Anti-Muslim blogger facing hate crime charge ran for mayor of Mississauga and came in second place
Kevin J. Johnston’s next court date is later this month
November 8, 2018
Kevin J. Johnston selling Faith Goldy for mayor t-shirts.
Elections in Ontario last month drew international media attention to the failed candidacy of Faith Goldy, a self-proclaimed propagandist for the alt-right neo-Nazi movement. Although she ended the Toronto mayoral race in distant third place, she received more than 25,000 votes, or 3.4 per cent of the total ballots cast.
In nearby Mississauga, Canada’s sixth largest city, anti-Muslim blogger Kevin J. Johnston came second in the mayoral race, securing 13.5 per cent of the vote — despite facing a hate crime charge.
For many, Johnston may have been the default protest vote against Mayor Bonnie Crombie. The third-place candidate received less than 4 per cent of the vote.
Police charged Johnston in June 2017 with wilful promotion of hatred against Muslims following a five-month investigation. The case is still before the courts. If convicted, he could face up to two years in prison.
Johnston’s record of anti-Muslim activism goes back several years.
In 2015, he led a racist campaign against a proposed mosque in Mississauga. On his website StopTheMosque.com, Johnston claimed without evidence that the Meadowvale Islamic Centre would lead to an increase in vandalism and sexual assaults, and that the mosque’s presence would erode free speech and women’s rights. He published an article on his website in 2016 baselessly accusing Muslim high school students of widespread sexual assault against their classmates and inciting Mississauga residents to “take the law into your own hands.”
Johnston publishes daily videos on his website, where he has called for violence and harassment against Muslims. In early 2017, he offered a $1,000 bounty for videos of Muslim children praying in Peel Region schools. In another video, according to the Toronto Star, Johnston said it was time to “take our masculinity back and beat the living hell out of Muslims.”
“Pin them down on the ground, and beat them until they pass out. And when they’re passed out, you beat them further; and when they’re on the ground passed out, kick them, break a kneecap, break an elbow, press their hands backwards turn their wrists sideways, start breaking these guys down,” Johnston said in the video.
Leila Nasr, the communications coordinator for the National Council of Canadian Muslims, said such quotes underline how disturbing it is that Johnston received 16,079 votes for mayor.
“Mississauga is an incredibly diverse community with a significant Muslim population, which makes the vile sentiments expressed by Mr. Johnston even more concerning to us,” Nasr told the Canadian Anti-Hate Network. “Like many in the community we are very troubled that these elements not only exist, but have increased in prominence so quickly.”
Johnston also regularly attacks women, the LGBTQ+ community, and others. His videos rarely receive more than a few hundreds views online, and his crowdfunded Patreon account receives a paltry $31 a month from supporters. Johnston has appeared on Rebel Media shows and until at least December of 2017, he co-hosted a YouTube series called Rebel Yell with Rebel correspondent David Menzies. He has also been a guest on the far-right conspiracy outlet InfoWars.
Johnston previously ran for mayor of Mississauga in 2014, when he came in 11th place with 741 votes, comprising 0.5% of the final tally. His second-place finish last month marks a dramatic increase in support.
Johnston’s campaign appeared to downplay his inflammatory views. On his campaign website, Johnston listed housing, crime, and transportation issues as some of his top priorities. Johnston claims he would have won if the media covered his campaign. He was not invited to the main election debate, held at the University of Toronto’s Mississauga campus. The Mississauga News published an op-ed by Johnston about his campaign that didn’t mention his hate crime charge and ran without any sort of editorial note.
In an interview with the Canadian Anti-Hate Network, Johnston said that while his campaign website highlighted local issues, he did not hide his views about Islam and other social issues during private conversations with Mississauga voters. He claims to have taken part in over 100 public speaking engagements.
Unlike in 2014, Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie did not face an established opponent in the election and won re-election with 77% of the vote, suggesting Johnston benefited as the default alternative or protest vote against the incumbent from voters who may not have been aware of his record.
“In the better part of 15,000 people I spoke to over the course of five months,” says Johnston, “everyone said the same thing - they hate Bonnie Crombie - they just didn’t know who the alternative was.”
Johnston continues to produce videos targeting Muslims, LGBTQ+ persons and others and said he plans to run more political campaigns in the future, as well as finish a documentary that denies Myanmar is carrying out a campaign of what the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights called “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing" against the country’s Muslim Rohingya minority. Johnston was allowed into the country to work on this ‘documentary’, escorted by military handlers, while Reuters journalists were imprisoned.
Johnston livestreamed our interview on his Youtube and Facebook channels. In the same video he says that “LGBTQ laws” would legalize the rape of four-year-olds by adult men. At other points in the interview and his subsequent monologue, Johnston said Islam is not a religion but a political ideology, and that he refuses to eat halal meat or fly on airplanes with Muslim pilots. In response to a viewer question, he encouraged parents to train their children to respond to bullying with extreme violence such as breaking bones, adding that the children’s criminal records would be expunged at age 18 anyway. In arguing for the superiority of “Western culture,” Johnston said: "African culture right now is to just walk around the country and kill white people. Rape them first, then kill them second." He described new immigrants from Muslim-majority countries as violent “psychopaths.”
"We have imported 100,000 psychopaths into this country and they're going to choke you, they're going to hit your kids, they're going to lift your daughters' skirts up and grab their asses," Johnston said.
Johnston says his lawyer was recently in court to receive disclosure from the crown regarding the hate crime charge and that there will be another court date at the end of November to review that disclosure.
Asked about the election result, Mississauga Mayor Crombie said the city remains a place where diversity is respected: “I think we can all be more vigilant to call out hate and discrimination and to better vet our candidates for office.”
The United Conservative Party and the Soldiers of Odin
Controversy in Alberta sparked by UCP nomination candidates posing for a photograph with the Soldiers of Odin, an anti-Muslim group with ties to neo-Nazism. Here's what you need to know.
October 23, 2018
UCP candidates pose with Edmonton-based Soldiers of Odin on Oct 5. Source: Facebook.
United Conservative Party nomination candidates were photographed at an early October pub night in Edmonton with members of the Soldiers of Odin, a militant anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant group.
The Soldiers of Odin was originally founded in Finland by Mika Ranta, who has a conviction for a racially-motivated assault and self-identifies as a neo-Nazi, according to The Times of Israel.
In Canada, the Soldiers of Odin have leaders and members with demonstrated ties to white supremacy and neo-Nazism. The organization splintered throughout 2017, but chapters with dozens of members are still in operation.
The UCP pub night was held at Brown’s Social House in Edmonton on Oct. 5. In attendance were three UCP candidates running for the party’s nomination in the Edmonton-West Henday constituency who posed for photos with Soldiers of Odin members wearing branded Soldiers of Odin shirts, hats, and vests.
Two of the candidates have since said they were also unaware that members of an extremist group had attended the pub night.
“Had we known at the time, we certainly would not have had our pictures taken with these individuals,” Nicole Williams and Leila Houle said in a joint statement.
The third candidate in the race, Lance Coulter, was disqualified by the party for defending the Soldiers of Odin, saying he was aware of their white supremacist views but found them “polite” and “cordial” at the event. In a Facebook post on his campaign page, Coulter accused Williams and Houle of lying in their statement.
"I was disqualified because I refused to lie when the party asked me to, unlike the two other candidates," he wrote in a Facebook post.
The UCP constituency association condemned the views of the Soldiers of Odin and said party representatives would have asked them to leave had they known what "S.O.O." represented. UCP Leader Jason Kenney described the Soldiers of Odin’s appearance at the party function as an act of “political mischief.”
The UCP has blamed the appearance of the Soldiers of Odin on Dave Bjorkman, an organizer for the fringe Alberta Independence Party. However, Bjorkman also appears to be a UCP member, based on screenshots of emails he shared on Facebook which included his membership number and an invitation to the pub night. The party did not respond to questions from the Canadian Anti-Hate Network.
"This is not an isolated incident," says Alberta NDP Premier Rachel Notley, who attributes the incident to UCP's dog-whistle politics.
The Soldiers of Odin group in Edmonton whose members attended the UCP pub night announced it was renaming itself the Canadian Infidels. A spokesperson for the group told the Canadian Anti-Hate Network the group will continue its activism, including street patrols. They claim the Canadian Infidels are open to everyone, and that it is a "pro-Canadian" group that stands against terrorism. On its Facebook page, the group continues to share anti-Muslim and anti-immigration messages.
A different Soldiers of Odin group in Edmonton continues to operate as the ‘Soldiers of Odin’ and disavows any connection with the rebranded splinter group.
"Experts say Canadians should also be concerned about the rise of hate groups in this country. There are at minimum 130 active right-wing extremist groups across Canada according to Dr. Barbara Perry, an expert on hate crime — a 30 per cent increase from 2015.
Most of these groups are organized around ideologies against religion and race — with anti-Muslim and anti-Jewish sentiments being the most common, followed by hate against immigrants, Indigenous people, women, LGBTQ communities and other minorities.
. . .
[Evan Balgord, Executive Director of the Canadian Anti-Hate Network,] says the radicalization process happens quickly and that people typically go from consuming hate material online to organizing offline. Balgord says they are increasingly involved in mainstream politics. 'Now we’re seeing in terms of real-life organizing, they are coming out to support Faith Goldy’s campaign for mayor of Toronto. They are also excited by Maxime Bernier’s party,' he shares."
The Canadian Anti-Hate Network and the Urban Alliance on Race Relations want answers from Toronto Police
Toronto Police Service officers push through a line of anti-racist activists. Photo credit: Ali Javeed, Twitter @alijaveed_
On Saturday, the Toronto Police Service repeatedly used force to break a line of peaceful protesters in order to permit a march down Bay Street by members of racist and neo-Nazi groups.
The rally, hosted by the anti-Muslim extremist group PEGIDA, was joined by members of the Soldiers of Odin and Northern Guard, groups with demonstrated neo-Nazi ties, and the Proud Boys, who have been responsible for a number of assaults at recent demonstrations.
At the beginning of the rally, the hate groups were separated from anti-racism counter protestors by fencing and police. “The police could have maintained public order by allowing the hate groups to complete their rally where they started. Instead, Toronto Police called reinforcements to force a march by hate groups through peaceful counter-protestors,” said Canadian Anti-Hate Network (CAN) board member and lawyer Richard Warman.
Saturday is only the most recent example, but similar situations have played out several times over the past year. Hate groups will continue to turn rallies into marches to use the police as a weapon against citizens who stand up to their poisonous message if the Toronto Police Service permit themselves to be used in this way.
"The police have a responsibility to maintain order and public trust," said Nigel Bariffe, president of the Urban Alliance of Race Relations. "That public trust is eroded when the police give the perception of being on the side of those who are spreading messages of hate and division."
Unfortunately, this is nothing new, notes Warman.
“In the early 90s I witnessed Toronto Police on horseback use batons against hundreds of anti-racism protestors to clear a path so that members of the neo-Nazi Heritage Front could enter the University Avenue courthouse en masse. This flies in the face of the fact that Canada has repeatedly signed international legal treaties obliging us to counter hate group activity - not protect it."
We are requesting a meeting with the Toronto Police Service to discuss these concerns and find positive solutions to this and other related issues.
On Saturday September 8th, PEGIDA is holding a demonstration behind Old City Hall.
PEGIDA, an anti-Muslim group, isn’t militant or physically dangerous itself. However, their rallies tend to attract more militant and violent far-right groups. Assaults, the majority of which are started by members of far-right groups, are commonplace at events of this kind.
Fifty people have RSVPd on Facebook, including members of the Soldiers of Odin, Wolves of Odin, Worldwide Coalition Against Islam, Jewish Defence League, Northern Guard, and several members of the Proud Boys.
Toronto anti-racist and anti-fascist activists are holding a counter-demonstration.
On Sunday September 9th, the Canadian Combat Coalition (C3) is holding a demonstration at Danforth and Logan, which they say is for the victims of terrorism.
The Jewish Defence League has been promoting the event, though fewer than 40 people have RSVPd. The Canadian Combat Coalition has been unpopular among the far-right of late, with groups like La Meute claiming C3 are Nazis because Kevin Goudreau, a neo-Nazi with a swastika tattoo on his chest, has been welcome at their demonstrations.
Toronto anti-racist and anti-fascist activists are holding a counter-demonstration to this event as well.
In the news
A Parti Québécois candidate with alleged ties to anti-Muslim group La Meute won’t be allowed by the PQ to run after a social media post saying Islam should be “banned like pit bulls” came to light.
The Edmonton chapter of the Soldiers of Odin, a militant anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant group founded in Finland by a self-identifying neo-Nazi convicted of racially motivated assault, failed at a public relations stunt to give granola bars and water bottles to the poor in the face of community opposition. For context, doing charitable works to try to improve their image is a common tactic of hate groups. Meanwhile, a labour organization was holding a BBQ and giving out free meals only a few blocks away.
Fredericton shooter alleged to have murdered two police officers and two others holds anti-Muslim views, gets his news online and from Rebel Media.
Sudbury councillor Robert Kirwan is being criticized for comments supportive of the Soldiers of Odin, a militant anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant group originally founded in Finland by Mika Ranta, who has a conviction for a racially-motivated assault and self-identifies as a neo-Nazi, according to The Times of Israel.
In Canada, the Soldiers of Odin have leaders and members with demonstrated ties to white supremacy and neo-Nazism. The organization splintered throughout 2017, but retains a sizable membership in Quebec and several smaller, local chapters are still in operation.
Some Soldiers of Odin chapters have been picking up needles and doing other charitable works, a common public relations tactic used by other far-right groups like Atalante Quebec, which provides meals to white, homeless Quebecois. Councillor Kirwan says he supports the Soldiers of Odin's "good work" in Sudbury.
Kirwan doubled down after being criticized for his comments, calling the Soldiers of Odin "a group of citizens in this city who have done nothing that has caused any harm to our community."
The Soldiers of Odin are a regular presence at anti-Muslim demonstrations in Canada.
On August 9th, the first rainbow crosswalk in Burnaby, BC was vandalized. The outline of the graffiti comes from an antisemitic meme and the dot in the question mark is a Star of David. The alt-right neo-Nazis believe in a Jewish conspiracy to promote lgbtq+ rights, which they view as degenerate. In context, this is both an antisemitic and anti-lgbtq+ hate crime.
The Worldwide Coalition Against Islam failed to hold a rally in Toronto on August 12th in the face of a planned counter-demonstration and far-right infighting. Instead, an anti-hate rally was held at Nathan Phillips Square. Coverage of the victory against the WCAI was overshadowed by coverage of an incident during the event in which an anti-racist demonstrator took a photographer’s hat, laying hands on him in the process. That individual has been charged with assault.
Also on August 12th, ID Canada (Identity Canada), a group associated with the alt-right movement with chapters across Canada, did a surprise banner drop over the Don Valley Parkway.
The Soldiers of Odin claimed they would use force to break up a homeless encampment in Nanaimo, BC on August 19th. The SOO were a no show. Some opponents of the camp came to protest anyways, and were outnumbered by anti-racist demonstrators.
The National Citizens Alliance held a 5-person strong demonstration in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia - also on August 19th. They were outnumbered by 60-80 counter-demonstrators.
The NCA warns about what they call ‘extreme multiculturalism’. Its founder, Stephen Garvey, is a regular speaker at anti-Muslim rallies and has stood alongside the Worldwide Coalition Against Islam, which calls Muslims sewage, scum, and has called for their execution.
Toronto’s anti-fascist and anti-racist community held a community BBQ on Sunday to celebrate the 85th anniversary of the riot at Christie Pits. In 1933, a group called the ‘Pit Gang’ unfurled a swastika banner at a baseball game. Jewish and Italian immigrants fought back, reinforcements were called, and the brawl lasted for six hours.
The operator of the Facebook Page Never Again Canada tells the Canadian Jewish News it's not their responsibility to moderate the page, which is full of anti-Muslim posts, comments, and debunked news stories. In fact, it is their legal responsibility, according to Richard Warman, Canadian Anti-Hate Network board member and human rights lawyer.
From the Canadian Jewish News article:
The Facebook page Never Again Canada "is by far the largest-reaching and fastest-growing Canadian Jewish page on Facebook, with more followers than B’nai Brith Canada, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, UJA Federation of Canada, the Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee and The Canadian Jewish News combined . . .
The majority [of posts] – 33 per cent – conveyed negative news about Muslims and Muslim-majority countries, while 13 per cent condemned everyday instances of anti-Semitism around the world, such as vandalism and public harassment.
Other recurring topics did not explicitly relate to anti-Semitism: derogatory posts about European migrants, political correctness and free speech comprised 22 per cent, while six per cent promoted federal and provincial Conservative party agendas, or attacked Canada’s mainstream media. Emotionally uplifting posts – often pro-Israel or hopeful interfaith messages – made up another six per cent . . .
'There’s definitely legal responsibility there,' [Warman] says, noting a court precedent that found those kinds of disclaimers invalid. He adds that as the page’s creator, Shomer bears a legal responsibility to 'only create something you feel you can properly administer.'
In order for NAC to be legally prosecuted, Warman says that an extremist would need to commit a hate crime and there would need to be clear evidence that the person was inspired by NAC.
That hypothetical inched toward reality in March, when police investigated NAC administrator Sandra Solomon for visiting multiple Mississauga, Ont., mosques, where she tore up pages of the Qur’an and harassed local Muslims."
In response to the Canadian Jewish News Story, Never Again Canada posted an acknowledgement of the issue, a statement that "anti-Muslim incitement is . . . morally wrong (and illegal)," and an appeal to their followers to "drown out the voices of the minority who are indifferent as to whether their bigoted comments undermine our overall mission." The full statement can be found on the NAC Facebook Page.