BMO Made A Large Donation And This Is The Plan
Transparency is a key value of ours: here's what we're going to do.
June 11, 2020
Canadian Anti-Hate Network
The Canadian Anti-Hate Network would like to thank BMO for a major gift. We're going to be using these funds to:
Hire new team members;
Launch a newsletter;
Create free educational materials for teachers and parents to identify children and youth being radicalized and prevent it; and
Hold workshops on organized hate in Canada
Our mandate is to monitor, expose, educate about hate group activity in Canada, and counter it. This work helps prevent hate-motivated propaganda, harassment and violence, and the spread of anti-Indigenous, anti-Black and all forms of racism, misogyny, anti-LBGTQ+ hate, Islamophobia and antisemitism and other forms of bigotry. We have been very successful despite our lack of resources, and have made a demonstrable impact. There's much more work to be done.
Canada deserves an established, serious nonprofit to monitor hate groups and keep them in check.
Thank you to all our donors who helped us get started and keep the lights on. None of this would have been possible without your early and continued support.
With these new funds we're going to be able to move out of the start-up phase and grow into the watchdog organization that Canada deserves.
In the coming days we will be posting job descriptions and taking applications.
"The Urban Alliance on Race Relations has been working closely with the Canadian Anti-Hate Network to address the growth of Canada's hate movements. Its work is critical to confronting white supremacy, anti-Black racism, Islamophobia, anti-Indigenous racism, and other forms of hate and discrimination. It is wonderful to see BMO investing in the only Canadian institution of its kind mandated to tackle, confront, and disrupt the harmful forces which aim to divide us." - Nigel Barriffe, President, Urban Alliance on Race Relations
State of Hate: Canada 2020
An overview of the activity of Canada's hate movements as we move further into 2020
February 26, 2020
Today the far-right movement is targeting Wet'suwet'en solidarity demonstrations and encouraging each other to murder or assault indigenous persons and allies. Source: Twitter.
At the end of January the CBC reported that the Canadian government was struggling with how to both define and respond to the dangers posed by far-right extremism. Groups such as the Canadian Anti-Hate Network and Anti-Racist Canada have been monitoring groups and individual tied to extremism for years. As such it might be instructive to discuss where we are as we enter 2020.
The Yellow Vest movement, characterized by hundreds of documented examples of threats and overt hatred towards Muslims, seems to have peaked with its convoy to Ottawa in February 2019. While there were rallies into the spring and summer in several Canadian cities, its supporters have largely retreated to their online echo chamber. Their much smaller than expected convoy and Liberal re-election has caused a great deal of disillusion and has resulted in infighting as different factions accuse each other of not supporting the cause enough to take to the streets, allowing the Liberals to win by voting for the “wrong” conservative party (most supported the doomed People’s Party of Canada), and financial malfeasance.
The Yellow Vest movement has since fractured in other directions. Prairie Yellow Vest supporters are now gravitating towards the even more fringe Wexit movement that wants the west to separate from Canada, but this hasn’t resonated with Ontario supporters. Many supporters and far-right vloggers are more preoccupied today with anti-anti-fascism, anti-leftism, and anti-liberalism than spreading hatred towards Muslims, LGBTQ+ and indigenous persons, etc., but the bigotry is still very prevalent, especially in response to the Wet'suwet'en standoff.
The anti-Muslim and so-called ‘patriot’ groups that participated in the Yellow Vests movement (but exist separately of it) continue to try to organize mass rallies but those that do occur have meager attendance. They are often countered by significantly larger counter-protests opposing them, leading to increased disillusion. Groups such as the Worldwide Coalition Against Islam (WCAI) and Canadian Combat Coalition have become primarily online groups that occasionally attend rallies. Anti-Muslim group PEGIDA Canada, whose founder and leader was identified as 2019 drew to a close, has not held a significant event since the fall. La Meute in Quebec has been quiet in part because of constant infighting, and in part because the election of Coalition Avenir Québec, which has enacted more restrictive immigration policies and passed Bill 21. The raison d'être for La Meute seems to now be in question since the provincial government has enacted discriminatory legislation in line with what they had been demanding.
Though many so-called ‘patriot’ groups seem to be stagnant or in decline, two exceptions are the Northern Guard based in New Brunswick and the Urban Infidels based in Alberta, both of whom are splinter groups of the Soldiers of Odin with whom they still work with on occasion. Both the Northern Guard and the Urban Infidels have been opening new chapters in cities across the country. One of their chapter presidents is Christopher Vanderweide, who became infamous during the spring of 2019 for attacking counter-protesters during a Pride event in Hamilton. Despite their growth, these groups are also subject to the same infighting plaguing other similar groups. The Northern Guard chapter in Calgary for example has already splintered twice, the most recent resulting in a new group called the Mammoths led by the former Northern Guard Alberta chapter president who had been voted out by the group months before, resulting in the usual recrimination and threats between erstwhile “brothers.” Also the vice-president of the Nova Scotia Northern Guard chapter abandoned the group and spoke out against the racist rhetoric of its members.
The electoral aspirations of the far-right seem to be thwarted, for now. The People’s Party of Canada, the favourite of most hate group supporters, failed to win a single seat. However, this election is notable in that for the first time since the 1930s an openly neo-Nazi party, the Canadian Nationalist Party, was registered and ran candidates. None of the three candidates from Travis Patron’s party managed much more than 100 votes, but Patron continues to post overtly antisemitic content on the party’s social media platforms, including a video referring to Jews as the “parasitic tribe.” Patron is under investigation for the willful promotion of hate propaganda and in November 2019 he was arrested and charged with assaulting two women in Regina.
Alt-right neo-Nazi activity continues, though this largely is limited right now to putting up posters and trying to recruit new members. Atalante in Quebec, a neo-fascist group more closely resembling traditional bonehead gangs, remains a significant concern. Some high-profile members have been identified by Montreal anti-fascists.
What’s more imminently dangerous on the neo-Nazi front is the pro-terrorism or ‘accelerationist’ groups. Members of these groups are facing arrests across the world, especially in the United States. These groups have members and supporters in Canada. Some have been identified. Others haven’t.
During the summer, journalist Ryan Thorpe identified a member of the Base who was recruiting for the group. Patrik Mathews, then a reservist with the Canadian Armed Forces, later fled the country. He and other members of a Base cell were arrested on various charges in the United States in January while planning the murder of anti-fascists and a terrorist attack. We also learned that Mathews himself was slated to be murdered by his fellow Base members because he wasn’t trusted to remain silent.
Also concerning is the growth of the far-right vlogger ecosystem in Canada, which promote the conspiracy theories and ideologies that underpin all of the above, support their organizing or organize themselves, and lead campaigns of targeted harassment. More on that later.
This is the first in a new series of articles and investigations into trends and new developments among Canada’s hate movements. We would like to thank an anonymous donor and the Urban Alliance on Race Relations for supporting this project.
Peter Shawn Taylor
We are contacting you today about factual errors in a piece published by the Manning Foundation’s C2C journal on January 22nd by John Klein titled The Wrath of CAHN. We are simultaneously publishing this letter on our platforms in the interests of transparency.
First, we were not contacted prior to publication to answer any of the allegations in the piece, or we would have corrected several falsehoods and obvious and easily fact-checked errors. We will list dozens of examples.
Second, the editorial language and clear biases in the piece would suggest this is an op-ed, but it is not properly marked as such.
Thirdly, and unsurprisingly, the Manning Foundation’s falsehoods have now been repeated by others who seek to discredit our organization and its work.
While we will detail the specific falsehoods and errors later, we will begin by debunking the broad theses of the piece in order, which are as follows.
Without any merit, that the author’s criticisms of the Southern Poverty Law Center apply to the Canadian Anti-Hate Network.
CAHN received a $25,000 start-up grant from the SPLC with no strings attached. We have also exchanged information about threats, hate groups, and aspiring terrorists on an ad hoc basis. The author’s perceived complaints against the SPLC are not applicable to CAHN, a small and independent organization (and vice versa). The SPLC, along with Anti-Racist Canada and Hope Not Hate, were all inspirations for CAHN, insofar that Canada deserves to have a non-profit organization that monitors hate groups.
That CAHN invents or exaggerates the threat of hate group activity in Canada, which the piece makes out to be insignificant, in order to make money; that CAHN profiteers from hate and wishes that there were higher hate crime statistics.
CAHN is a non-profit with a volunteer board. Nobody is getting rich doing this, and that’s not the goal. Right-wing extremism is responsible for two major terrorist attacks in Canada. There are larger demonstrations and more hate groups active today than the last major resurgence in Canada in the days of the Heritage Front in the 80s and early 90s. Every knowledgeable observer agrees it is worse today. CAHN is advocating for StatsCan to collect better data on hate incidents. The very underreported data we have, aside from a dip in 2018, shows a significant 5-year increase. In the absence of good data, we also must rely on the experiences of the communities that are targeted, and they say it’s getting worse. We want accurate statistics on hate incidents. To claim that CAHN wants higher numbers, and therefore more hate crime so as to profit from them is a grossly malicious lie and beneath an organization purporting to be about democratic education.
That CAHN engages in doxing and is therefore a threat to public safety; that the tactics used by CAHN are equivalent to those used by hate groups.
The term ‘doxing’ has come to be conflated with threats and behaviour CAHN does not engage in. The difference between doxing and journalism is method, intent, and outcome. Doxing is the practice of publishing private information, often to encourage targeted harassment, death threats, and violence. The most common hallmark of doxing is the publishing of addresses. Exposing the name and city of a host of a neo-Nazi podcast and explaining his neo-Nazi activism using his own words is journalism. Conversely, when far-right activists targeted Alaa Al-Soufi and his family, they published information on his family and their family’s restaurant address and phone number repeatedly, leading to death threats and physical visits. That’s doxing. There is no equivalency between the two.
That CAHN addresses individuals who are undeserving; that neo-Nazis are merely polemicists or naïve.
Examples of individuals CAHN has expressed concern about include well-known neo-Nazi Paul Fromm, who was a border-crossing hate group organizer, associated with Blood and Honour (now named a terrorist group by the Government of Canada and Fromm himself indicates he is now denied entry to the United States). Fromm continues to be active including republishing and endorsing the writings of the terrorist who murdered 51 men, women, and children in New Zealand on the basis of their religion - yet despite all of this, the Manning Foundation piece refers to Fromm as only a ‘polemicist’. It refers to Kevin Goudreau the same way, despite Goudreau’s gigantic swastika tattoo, longstanding history on neo-Nazi forums, his calling for us, journalists, police, and government workers to be murdered, and his role in the radicalization of a young man who expressed a desire to murder anti-fascists with a pipe bomb. The piece similarly whitewashes a self-proclaimed “propaganda arm” for the neo-Nazi movement, and a group founded by a self-proclaimed Finnish neo-Nazi found guilty of racially motivated assault.
That CAHN ignores egregious activity by the far-left.
CAHN focuses on hate group activity regardless of political bent because of the threat to public safety, and because relatively few resources are spent to counter it. With our limited resources we prioritize the most concerning groups, determined by their public impact, size, activities, whether and to what degree they are already being addressed, and danger. That said, we would consider any Canadian group a hate group if it meets the definition, published openly on our website, which is based in Canadian law. Anti-fascist groups and anti-racist groups do not meet the definition, they are the antithesis.
That human rights laws have been found unconstitutional.
This is false. The piece makes several factual errors which will be detailed below. In short, the courts, including the Supreme Court, have consistently upheld human rights laws as constitutional.
We will now detail specific falsehoods and errors in order of appearance.
- You have used a copyrighted photo of Richard Warman without permission, so respect for the law and intellectual property rights are clearly not high on the Manning Foundation list of concerns.
- Open expressions of racism are not rare in Canada. The best data we have is from the General Social Survey (GSS - 2014). The next iteration is due to be published later this year. Individuals self-reported experiencing a hate crime at a rate over 20 times that of the annual police-reported statistics due to a number of systemic failures. The GSS should be repeated annually and be our metric, and we should be working as a country to decrease that number year over year.
- CAHN does not engage in doxing (see above).
- CAHN never threatened to publish the addresses of members of the Canadian Nationalist Party. The very tweet that is linked says “we are going to publish the names and cities of residence,” making this a deliberate falsehood. In fact, we opposed any publication of addresses that were included with the list made public by Elections Canada.
- CAHN is explicitly nonviolent. To suggest we want more than social and legal consequences, implying violence, is a lie without even a semblance of evidence.
- CAHN has never been critical of an individual or group only because they have called for illegal immigrants to be deported. This is a fallacious straw man argument which disingenuously suggests the individuals CAHN expresses concern about are simply controversial, instead of documented wilfully fomenting an environment of hatred leading to harassment, threats, and violence against identifiable groups protected under Canadian law.
- The paragraph calling us “investigator, adjudicator, and punisher” is ridiculous and self-contradicting. CAHN does not have the powers of a court or government. CAHN exposes individuals, using their own words or actions, to foster social accountability.
- CAHN board member Richard Warman requested, and received, a judicial restraining order against Kevin Goudreau for encouraging people to murder us, journalists, police and government workers. He told people to shoot these people twice in the head to ensure their murder. Maybe the Manning Foundation is thinks counselling murder is inconsequential, but we don’t, whether it’s us or anyone else.
- Paul Fromm and Kevin Goudreau are not “polemicists,” they are well-known neo-Nazis. The Soldiers of Odin are not simply “nativist bikers,” the SOO was founded by a self-identifying neo-Nazi in Finland, the first crop of SOO in Canada were largely neo-Nazis, and those that remain do so under the name of a neo-Nazi group.
- Yellow Vests Canada is related to the Gilets Jaunes movement in France only by name and anti-government sentiment. Yellow Vests Canada Exposed and others documented hundreds of examples of death threats and overt and obvious racism which came to define the movement. The Yellow Vest movement, especially in its heyday, was primarily anti-Trudeau (not a reason we monitor them, but noted here in the interests of accuracy) and anti-Muslim as demonstrated by the proportion of posts on those topics on their Facebook pages, which has been extensively documented by YVCE.
- Travis Patron is a neo-Nazi who called for Jews to be removed once and for all from Canada. Patron referred to Jews as “the parasitic tribe.” He also very recently published an antisemitic cartoon of a Jewish puppet-master controlling both Nazis and Jews. Patron is also now also facing charges for allegedly physically attacking two women in Regina.
- It’s newsworthy and concerning that Canada has an officially recognized neo-Nazi political party (the Canadian Nationalist Party), with all the benefits that entails, including benefiting from public funds, for the first time since Adrien Arcand’s political parties in the WWII era.
- CAHN has never criticised a group or individual only for calling for illegal immigrants to be deported.
- The Peoples Party of Canada attracted leaders, members, and supporters of hate groups, including individuals who were openly and obviously bigoted. It was further infiltrated by neo-Nazis, including the former leader of the National Alliance, a large US neo-Nazi group, who had done time for organizing racially motivated assaults (he formed the PPCs second ever riding executive). We believe that Bernier’s anti-multiculturalism message signalled that this was the party for them, and many members and supporters of hate groups said they would be voting PPC. The PPC and these groups and individuals are inextricably connected.
- We challenge C2C Journal to provide one or more examples of groups or individuals that we have described as “neo-Nazi” only because they want to debate immigration, as the piece alleges.
- CAHN has a mandate to counter hate groups. That mandate is clearly spelled out on our site and by our statements with an explanation of how we define hate groups, based in Canada’s clear human rights and judicial decisions including repeatedly from the Supreme Court.
- Hate groups which are not presently planning attacks may still inspire significant, premeditated violence, and many are a threat to public safety. Pro-terrorism groups that literally glorify serial killers and domestic terrorists like Atomwaffen Division and The Base, which were planning domestic terrorist attacks in the United States, should be defined as terrorist groups.
- The article claims as a fact that CAHN board member Richard Warman has said that he uses a 'maximum disruption' approach to the alt-right. Had the Manning Foundation author or editor conducted rudimentary online fact-checking, they would have seen that 'Maximum Disruption' was the title of a 15-year old presentation given by Warman dealing explicitly with the neo-Nazi movement.
- The Islamic Party of Ontario was one individual with no support and is not, in fact, a registered political party. The Canadian Nationalist Party attracted the support of neo-Nazi criminals, over 250 members, and became an officially registered party. It’s rather obvious why one is more concerning and deserving of attention than the other.
- There is zero equivalency between anti-fascist groups, which historically appear when racist and fascist groups take to the streets, and largely disappear when they are beaten, and neo-Nazi groups that want to take power to carry out discrimination, deportations, and genocide. To compare the two, even if the author clearly dislikes anti-fascism, is an intellectually devoid exercise.
- Again, whether something is doxing or journalism is differentiated by intent and outcome. Anti-fascists may wear face masks because far-right activists will post their home addresses, information on family members, etc., leading to egregious harassment and death threats. Take the situation faced by the Al-Soufi family, for example. It is not equivalent.
- CAHN is not a defendant in Hategan’s suit.
- MP Keith Martin was first a member of the Reform Party and then the Canadian Alliance (1993-2004) and then switched to the Liberals only in 2004 so the claim he was a "Liberal MP" is technically accurate but misleading by omission when the Liberals voted en masse (save 1) against the repeal of the anti-online hate provision of the Canadian Human Rights Act (s. 13).
- Again, CAHN has never advocated for violence.
- CAHN is not involved in any spurious legal complaints and we challenge C2C Journal to substantiate any such claim.
- The claim that CAHN doxes individuals is expanded to the lie that CAHN publishes intimate personal details.
- CAHN is presently working on its first major update for supporters to be maximally accountable and transparent, which the author would have learned had he contacted us before penning his 5000+ word piece.
An entire section is necessary to show the multiple, easily fact-checked errors the author has made about human rights law in Canada.
First, the fact that individuals not directly targeted by online hate speech could file complaints under Section 13 is no different than any other type of complaint under the Canadian Human Rights Act.
40 (1) Subject to subsections (5) and (7), any individual or group of individuals having reasonable grounds for believing that a person is engaging or has engaged in a discriminatory practice may file with the Commission a complaint in a form acceptable to the Commission.
Indeed, the fact that public interest complaints were filed to deal with online calls by neo-Nazis for ethnic cleansing and genocide upholds the principle that it is the duty of every Canadian to stand in solidarity against such illegal activity - not just the targets.
The CHRC “only rarely tried to mediate the complaints” because the respondents either denied it was them, or proudly stood by their postings calling for ethnic cleansing and genocide. Three complaints brought by CAHN board member Richard Warman were mediated or had a negotiated settlement.
The piece states that as part of his section 13 complaints, “[Warman] was awarded tens of thousands in dollars in monetary compensation.” In fact, Warman was awarded damages in relation to s 13 cases only in situations in which neo-Nazis targeted him specifically, believing he is Jewish (he is not) or threatened him after the human rights complaint was filed (both of which are illegal). Virtually none of the money was collected, and Richard covered expenses or donated what little money he did collect to groups defending the communities targeted.
The claim that Warman provoked extremist statements to use as evidence is a lie. No human rights decision cites any hate propaganda to uphold the complaint in response to any postings by Warman.
The article claims Warman’s complaint against Lemire failed which is simply legally wrong. The complaint was successful with the Federal Court and Federal Court of Appeal overturning the initial tribunal ruling and finding that the online anti-hate propaganda provision of the Canadian Human Rights Act (s 13) was constitutional.
It is factually inaccurate to claim that the Supreme Court has ruled that ‘hate speech’ requires intense and highly fact-dependent inquiry because it is “so far from a clear concept.” The Supreme Court has, in fact, defined “hate” and “contempt” since the 1990 Taylor decision. Most recently, in the 2013 Whatcott decision, the Supreme Court cited four of CAHN board member Richard Warman’s complaint decisions with approval including endorsing the 11-point ‘Hallmarks of Hate’ criteria from Warman v Kouba that lays out the criteria for identifying illegal hate propaganda.(see Warman v. Kouba, 2006 CHRT 50 (CanLII), http://canlii.ca/t/1q60v) The Supreme Court unanimously upheld human rights law controls on hate propaganda and much as the Manning Foundation’s author may favour a US-style libertarian approach, it has been repeatedly rejected politically and legally in Canada for the past 30-years.
The Manning Foundation has done a superlative job of savaging a Canadian Anti-Hate Network that doesn’t exist except in your author’s imagination. If, as you suggest, you ever want to actually talk to us, we’d be happy to sit down with you to explain the work we do.
We ask that you apologize and correct these errors.
The Canadian Anti-Hate Network
Kurt Phillips has been anonymously documenting hate groups and neo-Nazi activity on the Anti-Racist Canada blog for over 12 years.
Anti-Racist Canada has been inspirational for those of us involved with the Canadian Anti-Hate Network and it continues to be a trusted resource used by researchers, law enforcement, journalists, and members of the anti-racist community. It has documented everything from infighting to death threats and premeditated violent attacks. Kurt's work has significantly disrupted hate group organizing. He has never been celebrated for this work or asked for credit. We all owe him a debt of gratitude.
Now he's joining the Canadian Anti-Hate Network board and will continue his work, some of which will be published on our site and social media accounts moving forward.
Anti-Racist Canada will continue to document and expose hate groups in Canada under new management.
If you'd like to show solidarity and support for Kurt's tireless work for human rights over the past 12-years, you can email us at email@example.com and we'll pass along your well-wishes.
Bernie, Amira, Richard, & Evan
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com 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.
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.
We Need Better Hate Crime Statistics
Here's how, and what journalists should do in the meantime
July 18, 2019
Canadian Anti-Hate Network
The Evidence Against Hamilton's Neo-Nazi Employee Marc Lemire
City-commissioned independent investigation into Lemire underway
July 16, 2019
Canadian Anti-Hate Network
On May 8th the city of Hamilton put former neo-Nazi Heritage Front leader and IT employee Marc Lemire on leave pending an independent investigation as a result of media coverage. Lemire was hired by the city around 2005, which was in the same time period he was active in the neo-Nazi movement.
Lemire operated a blog with neo-Nazi and racist materials while he was a city employee. He took the blog down after being exposed in the media earlier this year.
With the Lemire investigation likely to wrap up soon, we are releasing a summary of the racist and hateful material hosted on his blog. We previously provided this information to the investigators.
While this investigation is ongoing, the Hamilton Police Service, Mayor Eisenberger, and city council, are presently facing criticism for setting an example of what not to do in the face of hate group activity.
Our original letter to the Mayor and City Council:
Dear Mayor Eisenberger and Members of Hamilton City Council:
I am a human rights lawyer in Ottawa and brought the successful human rights complaint against Marc Lemire for online hate (http://canlii.ca/t/1q60s).
I have commented in numerous media stories about the recent exposure by Mack Lamoureux of VICE Canada that Marc Lemire is an employee of the City of Hamilton. I note that since the VICE article, various media reports have indicated that Marc Lemire denies any ongoing role in the neo-Nazi movement, minimizes any prior role despite Federal Court findings to the contrary, and claims that this was all many years in the past and that he is now reformed.
I do not believe this to be true. Marc Lemire openly acknowledges that he is responsible for the website http://www.freedomsite.org/. It took me less than 5-minutes to come up with multiple examples of Holocaust denial material from Marc Lemire's Freedomsite website that remain available as of right now.
Marc Lemire continues to publish to the world columns by Holocaust denier Philip Belgrave and others and at the bottom of the columns readers are invited to submit material to the webmaster (Lemire) for publication.
The first article is titled "What is Anti-Semitism" and states that Jews were not exterminated nor were they the principal sufferers in WWII, links to Ernst Zundel's Holocaust denial website calling it a "Detoxification Program to Cure the Politically Correct of the Hollywood version of the Holocaust", and links to 3 other Holocaust denial websites - URL link below and pdf version attached:
"In the Second World War many Jews suffered, but the European Jews were not exterminated, nor were they the principal sufferers."
Graphic from the Zundelsite - "A Detoxification Program to Cure
the Politically Correct of the Hollywood version of the Holocaust"
The second and third examples repeatedly refer to the Holocaust as the "Holocaust Industry" using this common neo-Nazi term to imply that the Holocaust is a manufactured or grossly exaggerated event to extort money rather than a genocide perpetrated by the Nazi regime:
The Latest in Holocaust Mania
The Holocaust industry is like the toy rabbit in those battery commercials that is seen enthusiastically pounding a drum to a voice-over stating "It just keeps going and going...." The message is that the brand of battery that is running the rabbit outlasts all other brands and operates well past expectancy. The Holocaust campaign seems to have a similar battery.
The art world is known to be the ideal place for practicing shams and pretentiousness and unearned money-making at the expense of the despised bourgeoisie. Therefore it is no wonder that the Holocaust Industry has expanded from its successful and continuing rip-off of the World’s banks, into the national art galleries of the World.
I am confident that if I continued my search, I would find further such hate propaganda. Based on the fact that Holocaust denial material remains available on Marc Lemire's website, I submit to you that he is not fit to be an employee of the City of Hamilton.
Canadian Anti-Hate Network to Publish Names of 250 Neo-Nazi Party Members in Canada
The Canadian Nationalist Party is about to become an official federal party
June 10, 2019
Canadian Anti-Hate Network
Travis Patron, leader of the neo-Nazi Canadian Nationalist Party. Source: Facebook.
The Canadian Anti-Hate Network will publish the names of 250 members of the neo-Nazi Canadian Nationalist Party if they are successful in becoming a registered political party.
The Canadian Nationalist Party is a neo-Nazi party led by Travis Patron, who recently released an anti-Jewish video about the “parasitic tribe” that calls for Jews to be “removed once and for all” from Canada. Another post on their Facebook page promises they have the cure to Jews. They are also explicitly anti-LGBTQ+ and anti-Muslim.
We filed a criminal complaint, and Travis Patron is currently under RCMP investigation.
There is no mechanism for Elections Canada to prevent a neo-Nazi party from becoming a registered party, and they expect that Patron will be successful in registering his party before the next federal election.
Patron is required to submit over 250 party membership declarations; each individual is then contacted by Elections Canada to confirm their membership.
The Canadian Anti-Hate Network has learned that information on these 250 members will become part of a public record. We plan to publish these names and their cities of residence as soon as they become public, and will encourage local media to run stories naming neo-Nazi supporters in their communities.
This kind of naming and shaming is part of our mandate of exposing hate groups to make sure communities are well-informed, and to ensure that there are significant, nonviolent social consequences for supporting hate groups.
If any of members of the Canadian Nationalist Party want to avoid being named and facing the social consequences of supporting a neo-Nazi party, they can email Elections Canada at firstname.lastname@example.org to withdraw their support.
If you want to support our mission to monitor, expose, and counter hate groups, please visit antihate.ca/donate. Thank you!
University of British Columbia Hosts Anti-Trans Event Despite Outcry from Students, Faculty, and Staff
One protester faces assault charge after Jenn Smith’s event against sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) education
Special to the Canadian Anti-Hate Network
June 29, 2019
Anti-trans demonstrators gather in front of the Vancouver Art Gallery on June 15th.
2019-08-02 update: The assault charges against the member of the LGBTQ+ community, referenced below, have been dropped.
Three people were detained by the RCMP, and one is reportedly being charged with assault, after protesting an anti-trans event at the University of British Columbia (UBC) on June 23rd. The talk featured Okanagan resident Jenn Smith, who refers to himself as a “transgender-identified male.”
UBC’s Vancouver campus was the latest stop in Smith’s speaking tour of the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island. Smith weaponizes his asserted identity in trying to undermine trans rights, including sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) education in schools.
A video shared on Facebook shows a young woman, who identifies as queer, stand up and run towards the exit at the back of the room after someone outside pulls the fire alarm. She swings her arm as she rounds a corner at the back of the auditorium, and the Pride flag she is holding may come into contact with the head of a man, who ducks. Smith can then be heard screaming from the front of the room, “That is assault! Detain her!” The RCMP then detain the young woman.
Based on what is shown in the video [audio warning: the video is quite loud], Students Against Bigotry believes the assault charge against the protester is without merit. Furthermore, we believe she would not be facing charges were it not for Smith insisting it was assault.
The two others detained are both hijra, a non-binary identity recognized in South Asia. They can be seen in the same video sitting on the floor at the front of the room, then calmly being escorted out by police officers.
A trans person against trans rights?
Sponsored by the Canadian Christian Lobby, Smith is an anti-trans activist who denies the validity and lived reality of transgender people. He spreads misinformation and fear about transgender people as predators harming women and children, claiming that SOGI education is “brainwashing.”
This flies in the face of established research which shows that this inclusive programming reduces bullying and suicides, not just among LGBTQ2S+ youth but among all children. It is difficult to reconcile Smith’s apparent concern for kids with his position against policies that have been proven to save the lives of young people.
Smith pathologizes transgender people by alleging that mental illness is responsible for their gender identity. He describes his own as "impulses" that "came out of his childhood traumas and a sense of rejection."
Furthermore, he only acknowledges male and female identities, another anti-scientific view which erases not just intersex and non-binary people, but also Indigenous Two Spirit people, recognized by the Musqueam nation on whose stolen and occupied land this talk took place.
Smith writes on his website:
“We must at all times remain tethered to physical reality, and the physical reality in this case is that men cannot be women (and vice versa), no matter how much they pretty themselves up.
They can live and express any way they want, but they cannot force others to surrender physical reality, because that is selfish and dangerous to both women and children, and increasingly towards freedom itself.”
In addition, Smith has links to the Soldiers of Odin, a violent anti-Muslim hate group, which he has used as bodyguards for past events. In attendance at the UBC event was Vancouver neo-Nazi Brian Ruhe, as well as at least two individuals wearing People’s Party of Canada hats — further examples of Smith’s far-right support.
A few days before the talk, the UBC Faculty Association issued an open letter to the university’s Board of Governors urging them to cancel the event. Similarly, the Association of Administrative and Professional Staff (AAPS), the largest employee group at UBC representing nearly 5,000 staff members, stated in no uncertain terms in its own letter that hosting such an event on campus “risk[s] physical injury to the students, staff, and faculty of the University.”
This risk was made apparent when one event attendee, Donald Smith, filmed himself taunting and threatening queer protesters and allies with gendered profanities, and bragging that he knows where they live. “Come to Edmonton,” he can be heard saying in the video. “We'll show you how we do it down there. We hold baseball bats!"
According to UBC policy, the university “reserves the right to ensure that any use of Bookable Space does not compromise UBC’s or the UBC community’s activities, as well as the safety and security of persons and facilities.” But president Santa J. Ono apparently feels that hosting events of this nature does not compromise the community’s safety and security, or undermine the university’s research on transgender health or SOGI.
Administrators felt differently at Douglas College and Trinity Western University, which cancelled bookings by Jenn Smith once they became aware of the nature of the events, which they claim was not initially clear in the booking request.
Community responds with love and support
Smith is just the latest in a growing series of hateful and discriminatory individuals UBC has platformed with speaking engagements under the guise of “free speech.” In the past year alone, the university has also welcomed Jordan Peterson, Meghan Murphy, Ricardo Duchesne, and Ben Shapiro.
Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux were also scheduled to appear at UBC this past March, but efforts by Students Against Bigotry, the Canadian Anti-Hate Network, and other groups forced them to relocate their event, then cancel it altogether
On Sunday, at a fountain near the building where Smith was speaking, about 50 people responded by gathering for a rally in support of the transgender community and their loved ones. The rally was organized by BC Families for Inclusivity (BCFFI) and included students, faculty, staff, and other community members.
BCFFI’s Brad Dirks gave a heartfelt speech about the harassment his family has faced from people like Smith. Last year, Dirks gave a TEDx Talk titled “My Journey as the Proud Parent of a Transgender Son.”
“You wouldn't speak to a neo-Nazi to obtain credible information about the Holocaust,” Dirks told a crowd that included other parents and their children. “So please treat your transgender friends, family, students, co-workers, and neighbours with the same respect . . . Stop obtaining information from transphobic bigots who spread lies and misinformation about our transgender loved ones.”
Another speaker, one of the people later detained, expressed her outrage and frustration that UBC administrators and president Santa J. Ono continue to allow far-right speakers to spew hate on campus.
The crowd then marched to the building where Smith was speaking, carrying balloons, banners, and flags. Slogans being chanted included “Protect trans kids,” “Save our kids from suicide,” and “Trans rights are human rights!” While some of the people with the rally entered the building and purchased tickets to attend Smith’s talk, most of the group continued to make noise outside.
The mood among the protesters was one of defiance and solidarity throughout the evening, in spite of attempted provocations by event attendees like Donald Smith.
No more hate speech at UBC!
This year’s Pride Month has been a difficult one for the LGBTQ2S+ community, which continues to be disproportionately targeted by violence. Recent confrontations at marches in Detroit, Hamilton, and Toronto again call the role of the police into question.
Just one week before the UBC event, Soldiers of Odin were present at an anti-trans rally at the Vancouver Art Gallery alongside members of the People’s Party of Canada and the neo-Nazi Ruhe.
Students Against Bigotry stands in complete and unwavering solidarity with all those targeted by hate speech, and all who oppose it alongside us — including the young woman protesting anti-trans hate and now facing what we believe to be an unjustified assault charge. We await the announcement of her court date, and we intend to be there to support her.
Students Against Bigotry is a grassroots student organization working to build community solidarity in opposition to hate speech at the University of British Columbia and beyond.
Editors note: The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinion of the Canadian Anti-Hate Network.