Factcheck: CBC misrepresents Yellow Vests Canada movement, makes no mention of death threats
Yellow Vests Convoy leaves today for Ottawa
February 14, 2019
Canadian Anti-Hate Network
CBC interviews convoy organizer Glen Carritt. Source: CBC News: The National, YouTube.
On February 13th, CBC’s The National ran with a story about the Yellow Vests Canada movement and their plans to bring a convoy of trucks to Ottawa.
The CBC misrepresents the group as primarily being driven by legitimate economic concerns and omits the worst examples of the hatred and threats that have come to characterize the Yellow Vests Canada movement. The end result is an sympathetic take on a movement characterized as a public safety threat in a briefing note authored by the Canadian Association for Security & Intelligence Studies – Vancouver.
Reporting on hate movements and hate groups is difficult. Hate groups tend to misrepresent themselves and it requires either deep research and observation of their less public-facing spaces, and/or building on the work of organizations like Anti-Racist Canada or Yellow Vests Canada Exposed and using information that's been collected over months and years of monitoring. Yellow Vests Canada Exposed says a producer from The National "interviewed one of our admins for 40 minutes, and didn't use any of it."
"Four months after yellow vest demonstrators hit the streets of France over taxes and the high cost of living, similar movements have popped up around the world."
Unlike the French Yellow Vests movement, the Yellow Vests movement in Canada has been entirely co-opted by the far-right. Left-leaning individuals aren’t welcome and almost every anti-Muslim extremist group has found a home in the movement. According to CTV News, “Canada's ambassador to France says this country's yellow-vest protest movement bears little resemblance to the ‘gilets jaunes’ who started it all in France . . . the movement in Canada appears to have been appropriated by far-right extremists espousing racist, anti-immigrant views and even indulging in death threats against Prime Minister Justin Trudeau."
“They're focused on the federal government's response to suffering in the oil industry tomorrow a convoy of trucks will drive that message all the way to Ottawa but they aren't the only ones laying claim to those yellow vests. Others want to spread a much different message, less about jobs, more about immigration.” CBC represents them, and allows them to represent themselves, as primarily focused on economic and oil issues throughout the story.
The majority of posts on the Yellow Vests Canada Facebook page are anti-Muslim, anti-UN, anti-immigrant, anti-Trudeau, and deal in conspiracy theories, such as the belief that Muslims are responsible for the Fort McMurray wildfire. There are hundreds of examples of overt racism and documented death threats. Relatively few posts are, in fact, about the oil industry.
The CBC says:
The Clann and Canadian Combat Coalition (C3) are alt-right groups.
While alt-right has been used as a term in the United States to refer to a large coalition of groups, here in Canada there are two distinct hate movements with limited overlap: the anti-Muslim and alt-right neo-Nazi movements. The Clann and C3 are anti-Muslim groups, not alt-right groups.
Update: We received screenshots showing at least one member of the Clann to be an alt-right type.
The CBC says:
“[The Clann has a] provocative message about Islam.”
The Clann is not only critical of the religion, but of Muslim Canadians. For example, the Clann Canada (@ClannOntario on Twitter) liked a tweet two days ago reading “Muslims r not special. I think they r dirty/gross &violent. That is MY opinion. If they come to my place of work. I will be respectful &help them cause it my JOB. Doesn’t mean I like u or want u here. Just like I can feel the hate and disgust flowing from their men. #GTFO”
“More than a hundred thousand members see messages like this targeting Trudeau the media immigration and refugees.” CBC displays a few of the more benign, but still hateful, images.
Yellow Vests Canada Exposed, the Canadian Anti-Hate Network, and Anti-Racist Canada have documented hundreds of examples of overt racism, mostly directed at Muslims, and death threats towards Muslim Canadians and the Prime Minister. None of these death threats have been referenced in the story.
“The site was founded by Tyler Malenfant, since exposed for supporting racist rhetoric in the past.”
He wasn’t exposed as supporting racist rhetoric, but posting antisemitic comments, such as "Show me the 'evils' of the white man and I'll show you yet another Jewish lie."
Yellow Vests Canada attracts Nazis:
Nazis, including Brian Ruhe and Paul Fromm, are also attending (or speaking at) Yellow Vests Canada demonstrations.
...and has the support of the alt-right neo-Nazi movement:
The first rally in Toronto was led by Faith Goldy, a self-proclaimed propagandist for the alt-right neo-Nazi movement, and she is promoting the convoy. Other Canadian alt-right neo-Nazi accounts have tweeted in support of the movement on Twitter.
Yellow Vests Canada supporter threatens to kill law enforcement, claims to have cache of weapons
Gregory McNeil of Kamloops, BC was charged in 2010 after drawing a gun on RCMP officers
February 12, 2019
Special to the Canadian Anti-Hate Network
Greg McNeil's Facebook profile. Source: Facebook.
Yellow Vests Canada Exposed has documented dozens of death threats on the Yellow Vests Canada Facebook page directed towards Muslims, the Prime Minister, and others; hatred directed at Muslims, left-leaning individuals, government, the mainstream media, and, occasionally, law enforcement; conspiracy theories; and support for the Conservative Party of Canada and Bernier’s People’s Party of Canada. Its main Facebook group has over 100,000 members and one of its main organizers has a history of posting racist and antisemitic comments.
Regardless of what the gilet jaunes movement represents in France, the Canadian Yellow Vests movement has been entirely co-opted by the far-right and includes almost every anti-Muslim hate group in Canada. It is characterized as a public safety threat in a briefing note authored by the Canadian Association for Security & Intelligence Studies – Vancouver.
In response to a post about storming parliament, Yellow Vests Canada supporter Greg McNeil suggests they carry out mass arrests, shooting anybody that gets in their way. McNeil posts, “Time to start killing all the protectors…Police, security…etc.” He also claims to have a cache of weapons and friends who are similarly armed.
The pictures on Greg McNeil's Facebook profile appear to match a picture of Gregory Warren McNeil, who was arrested in 2010 and charged with multiple firearms offences and harassment. McNeil threatened to kill bank employees, prompting a visit by the RCMP. He drew a handgun and the officers shot him. McNeil told investigators that he’s a better shot than most police officers and could have shot the officers if he wanted.
The RCMP searched his home and found a hidden room full of weapons, ammunition and bullet resistant vests, as well as a B.C. sheriff uniform and a custom officer’s badge.
McNeil was sentenced to over 5 years in prison and has a lifetime ban on owning firearms.
The RCMP tells the Canadian Anti-Hate Network that they respect “[The Yellow Vests movement’s] right to peaceful, lawful, and safe protest. Should someone have concerns about their activities online or in person, we would encourage them to contact the police in the jurisdiction they live in, to report. The RCMP takes complaints of threats seriously.”
Greg McNeil is no longer a member of the Yellow Vests Canada Facebook group.
According to an article in the Vancouver Sun, law enforcement seized over 100 guns from Green’s home including a Bren machine gun, “homemade silencers, zip guns, prohibited over-capacity magazines, and untraceable firearms,” as well as explosive materials.
The Yellow Vests Canada movement have been holding demonstrations across the country every Saturday to protest immigration policies, what they believe is the United Nations takeover of Canadian sovereignty, and a host of other issues popular among the far-right. Now, they are planning to run a convoy of trucks from Alberta to Ottawa, which Tony Green promoted.
The ‘United We Roll’ convoy departs on February 14th and arrives in Ottawa on the 19th. Originally branded as a Yellow Vests event, organizer Glen Carritt claimed that the United We Roll convoy is no longer affiliated, citing “philosophical differences.” However, organizers of the convoy are also members of the Yellow Vests Canada group, and he has says his group still "identifies with the yellow vests" and they are welcoming them to the convoy.
Several of the organizers are also supporters of other hate groups such as Canadian Combat Coalition, Soldiers of Odin, and Worldwide Coalition Against Islam.
Both Yellow Vests Canada Exposed and the Canadian Anti-Hate Network have encouraged supporters to report the United We Roll GoFundMe page on the basis that the fundraiser supports the Yellow Vests Canada hate movement. Yellow Vests Canada Exposed has also encouraged supporters to contact the hotels where convoy participants intend to stay.
Yellow Vests Canada Exposed documents the overt racism, hate speech, death threats and calls to violence posted by members of the Yellow Vest Movement in Canada. Their work can be found on Twitter and Facebook.
Quebec Mosque killer sentenced to life in prison
Canadian Anti-Hate Network says case demonstrates how hate poses real danger
(February 8, 2019 - Quebec) Today, Alexandre Bissonnette was sentenced to life in prison for murdering six men at a Quebec City mosque, Canada’s first mass killing at a place of worship. He could be eligible for parole after 40 years.
Quebec Superior Court Justice Francois Huot provided a lengthy judgment this morning which made note of Bissonnette’s “professional, measured and hateful” executions and recognized the attack as a hate crime, contrary to the defense’s claims.
The Judge noted that January 29, 2017, will be a date forever “written in blood” in both Quebec, and Canada’s history, and how the act tore apart the very fabric of Quebec and Canada.
“The severity of the sentence reflects how heinous Canadians view hate-motivated crimes, ” says Amira Elghawaby, board member at the Canadian Anti-Hate Network. “We hope today’s sentencing brings some measure of closure to the families of those forever impacted by this devastating act of hate and terror. We understand that the families and the community do not feel the sentence goes far enough.”
The Canadian Anti-Hate Network says the attack on the Quebec mosque was not only a hate crime, but an act of terrorism motivated by right-wing extremism. Legal academics including Professor Kent Roach of the University of Toronto have suggested the same.
“We hope this case makes it clear that hate can be a precursor to the worst imaginable crimes,” says Bernie Farber, chair of the network. “It’s absolutely evident that Mr. Bissonnette meant to terrorize an entire religious community and the Judge certainly reflected that in his comments about the wide impact of the shootings, and in analyzing Mr. Bissonnette’s stated motivations. However, it’s disappointing that he stopped short of calling this terrorism.”
Judge Huot did note the shooter’s explanation that he attacked the mosque because he feared terrorists would kill his family and that he “lost it” after learning that the Prime Minister had tweeted that refugees were welcome to Canada.
While Bissonnette has now been sentenced, those platforms that allow alt-right neo-Nazi and anti-Muslim hate to be shared and the propagandists on those platforms have once again escaped their share of the responsibility.
“If we truly want to prevent any such acts from every happening again, we will have to hold online platforms to account and target hate propaganda at its source,” says Elghawaby. “There is still no clear strategy on how to address online hate in this country and this will continue to harm various communities. Hate in Canada is sadly on the rise.”
Media inquiries: email@example.com
Le tueur d'une mosquée du Québec condamné à la prison à vie
Le réseau canadien anti-haine dit que la peine envoie un message fort
(8 février 2019 - Québec) Aujourd’hui, Alexandre Bissonnette a été condamné à la prison à vie pour le meurtre de six hommes dans une mosquée de la ville de Québec, le premier massacre commis au Canada dans un lieu de culte. Il pourrait être admissible à la libération conditionnelle après 35 ans.
Le juge de la Cour supérieure du Québec, François Huot, a rendu aujourd'hui un long jugement dans lequel il a pris note des exécutions «professionnelles, mesurées et haineuses» de Bissonnette et a reconnu l’attaque comme un crime motivé par la haine, contrairement aux affirmations de la défense.
Le juge a souligné que le 29 janvier 2017 serait une date «gravée dans le sang» dans l’histoire du Québec et du Canada, et que l'acte déchirait le tissu de la société civile du Québec et du Canada.
«La sévérité de la peine reflète à quel point les Canadiens rejettent les crimes motivés par la haine», a déclaré Amira Elghawaby, membre du conseil d'administration du Réseau canadien anti-haine. «Nous espérons que la condamnation d’aujourd’hui peut apporter un certain apaisement aux souffrances des victimes et leurs familles.»
Le Réseau canadien anti-haine dit que l'attaque de la mosquée à Québec était non seulement un crime motivé par la haine, mais également un acte de terrorisme motivé par l'extrême droite. Des académiciens juridiques, notamment le professeur Kent Roach de l'Université de Toronto, ont suggéré la même chose.
«Nous espérons que cette affaire montre clairement que la haine peut être un précurseur des pires crimes imaginables», a déclaré Bernie Farber, présidente du Réseau. «Il est tout à fait évident que M. Bissonnette voulait terroriser toute une communauté religieuse et le juge en a bien tenu compte dans ses commentaires sur l’impact considérable de la fusillade et dans l’analyse des motivations énoncées par M. Bissonnette. Cependant, il est décevant qu’il n’ait pas qualifié comme un acte de terrorisme.»
Le juge Huot a pris note de l'explication du tireur selon laquelle il avait attaqué la mosquée par crainte des terroristes qui tueraient sa famille et qu'il l'avait «perdu» après avoir appris que le premier ministre Trudeau avait tweeté que les réfugiés étaient les bienvenus au Canada.
Bien que Bissonnette soit maintenant condamnée, les plateformes qui permettent la haine néo-nazie et anti-musulmane de l'extrême droite sont partagées et les propagandistes de ces plateformes ont échappé une nouvelle fois à leur part de responsabilité.
«Si nous voulons vraiment empêcher que de tels actes ne se reproduisent, nous devrons demander des comptes aux plates-formes en ligne et cibler la propagande haineuse à la source», a déclaré Elghawaby. «Il n'y a toujours pas de stratégie claire sur la manière de lutter contre la haine en ligne dans ce pays et cela continuera à nuire à diverses communautés. La haine au Canada est malheureusement à la hausse.»
James Sears and Leroy St Germaine have been found guilty of wilfully promoting hatred towards women and Jews. What follows are key passages from the 11 June 2018, 37-page expert report by Professor Derek Penslar on anti-Jewish hate propaganda published by James Sears (aka Dimitrious Sarafopoulos) and Leroy St Germaine in Toronto tabloid newspaper Your Ward News.
This summary was originally published at http://www.richardwarman.ca/penslar-expert-report-on-your-ward-news-anti-jewish-hate/ by Canadian Anti-Hate Network board member and human rights lawyer Richard Warman.
The report was prepared as part of the criminal prosecution against Sears and St Germaine for the wilful promotion of hate contrary to s. 319 of the Criminal Code of Canada. The report dissects the anti-Jewish hate propaganda content of Your Ward News and places it in the historical context from which Sears and St Germaine found inspiration. Both Sears and St Germaine were found guilty and the full criminal judgment can be found here.
Penslar Report Key Excerpts:
The full 37-page Penslar Report is here.
My name is Derek Jonathan Penslar. I am the Samuel Zacks Professor of European Jewish History at the University of Toronto and a Visiting Professor of History at Harvard University. On July 1, 2018, I will assume a permanent appointment at Harvard as the William Lee Frost Professor of Modern Jewish History. I hold a B.A. in History from Stanford University, and an MA and PhD in History from the University of California at Berkeley. In addition to Toronto and Harvard, I have taught at Indiana University, Bloomington, where I was a professor of history and of Jewish studies, and at the University of Oxford, where I was the Stanley Lewis Professor of Modern Israel Studies. I have research and teaching expertise in the history of Jewish civilization, Jewish-Christian relations in medieval and modern Europe, antisemitism, the Holocaust, and the state of Israel.
As per your request, I have studied all issues of Your Ward News (hereafter, YWN) published between 2015 and Spring 2018 and have considered whether YWN’s language and imagery are antisemitic. I have read YWN against the background of my intimate familiarity with antisemitic texts and images produced in Europe, North America, and the Middle East over several centuries. My reading is also informed by a substantial body of scholarly literature on antisemitism, some of which I have authored or edited.1 Based on my reading, I have determined that YWN espouses antisemitic doctrines and that both its textual and visual representations of Jews are rooted in antisemitic concepts with a long historical pedigree. I have further determined that YWN’s antisemitic rhetoric frequently echoes or resembles language employed by neo-Nazi extremists in the United States and disseminated either in print or, more recently, via the internet.
YWN consistently expresses hatred of Jews via five distinct yet overlapping mechanisms:
1) Expressions of revulsion against the Jewish faith and its practitioners;
2) Accusations that Jews were collectively responsible for Bolshevik
atrocities in the USSR;
3) Claims of Jewish conspiracies to conquer and control humanity, especially through banking and finance;
4) Demonization of the state of Israel; and
5) Holocaust denial.
Undergirding these five forms of antisemitic expression is a consistent and explicit admiration for Nazism in general and the
German dictator Adolph Hitler in particular. Since antisemitism was a key component of German National Socialism and motivated the Nazis’ persecution and genocide of European Jewry, YWN’s emulation of Nazi Germany deepens and intensifies the various forms of Jew-hatred that the newspaper espouses.
The scope and range of conspiracies attributed by YWN to the Jews is part and parcel of modern antisemitic thinking. The classic antisemitic texts mentioned earlier in this section presented Jews as responsible for the cruelties of communism and capitalism alike, for the decline in religious observance and other rapidly changing social mores, for any form of art, literature, or cinema that they found avant-garde and distasteful, and for universalistic (as opposed to militant-nationalist) political ideologies. In neo-Nazi writings of our own day, Jews are associated with contemporary processes of social and cultural transformation, such as globalization, mass migration, racial and economic protest, feminism, and gender fluidity. In antisemitic thought, Jews are akin to a universal solvent, which eats away at any social mooring. Antisemitism’s hatred of the Jews rests in fear of what antisemites believe to be Jewish preternatural power and unshakable determination to attain global domination. In its most recent iteration, antisemitism maintains the fear of internationalism, be it governmental (e.g., the United Nations) or economic (transnational corporations).
In this report I have demonstrated linkages between YWN and a long historical legacy of antisemitic writings. YWN’s depictions of Jews are consonant with antisemitism as set out in the IHRA’s definition with which I began this report. YWN makes “mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as a collective.” It preaches numerous myths “about a world Jewish conspiracy or of Jews controlling the media, economy, government or other societal institutions.” YWN presents the state of Israel as a point of origin of or prime beneficiary of these conspiracies. In its writings on politically-motivated persecutions in the former Soviet Union’s security services, YWN “accuses Jews as a people of being responsible for real or imagined wrongdoing committed by a single Jewish person or group, or even for acts committed by non-Jews.” YWN explicitly denies “the fact, scope, mechanisms (e.g. gas chambers) or intentionality of the genocide of the Jewish people at the hands of National Socialist Germany and its supporters and accomplices during World War II (the Holocaust).” Moreover, it “accuses the Jews as a people, or Israel as a state, of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust. In its depictions of Jews, YWN resembles a variety of North American neo-Nazi publications that, since the 1970s, have preached antisemitism as a prominent component of a fearful, hateful, and conspiratorial world-view.
Judge rules that James Sears and LeRoy St. Germaine are guilty of two counts of wilfully promoting hate towards women and Jews.
"Sears, 55, a former doctor and pickup artist, was found guilty of promoting hatred against women and Jewish people."
One of the less offensive images from the pages of Your Ward News.
Toronto business owner donates $25,000 to confront hate in Canada
Announcement comes fresh on the heels of apology by local anti-Muslim activist
Canadian Anti-Hate Network
Mohamad Fakih (left) presenting Bernie Farber with $25,000.
(Toronto - Monday, Dec. 17, 2018) Mohamad Fakih, owner of Paramount Fine Foods, is donating $25,000 to the Canadian Anti-Hate Network today.
The donation will bring the network closer towards its first major fundraising goal – to hire an additional full time investigator to monitor and report on hate groups in Canada.
The donation comes just as Mr. Fakih received an apology from Ron Banerjee, a regular presence and bit-player in the anti-Muslim movement in Toronto.
In August 2017, blogger Kevin J. Johnston and Ron Banerjee made videos in front of Paramount Fine Foods during an anti-Muslim demonstration and made comments that were overtly hateful towards Muslims and specifically targeted Fakih and his business.
Fakih launched a defamation suit against both individuals, resulting in an apology from Banerjee.
“I am grateful that I was able to confront this hatred, though it has taken a significant emotional toll," says Fakih. "Not everyone is able to do what I felt I needed to do. It is for this reason that I will be marking this moment by further supporting efforts to combat hate in Canada. We need to protect our rights and freedoms so that everyone can fully contribute without fear of discrimination or hatred.”
“We are immensely grateful for this generous donation. This donation will help us to do even more critical work in calling out those who fuel hatred and division in our communities,” says Bernie M. Farber, Chair of the Canadian Anti-Hate Network and former CEO of the Canadian Jewish Congress.
“Mr. Fakih demonstrated a true sense of courage and civic responsibility. In standing up to this virulent Islamophobia, Mr. Fakih spoke out on behalf of all who have suffered racism, bigotry and hatred. He made it clear that anyone promoting hatred can and will be pursued to the fullest extent of the law."
“We’re all in this together.”
"We are pushing for new tools to hold individuals who spread hate propaganda responsible for their actions," says Evan Balgord, Executive Director of CAN. "That hard work should not always fall on the shoulders of the targets of hate and defamation."
The suit against Kevin J. Johnston, a blogger who makes videos targeting Muslims, women and LGBTQ+ persons, continues. Johnston is also facing a separate criminal charge for the wilful promotion of hate.
To see the Mr. Banerjee's apology to Mr. Fakih, click here.
For further inquiries, please contact:
Evan Balgord, firstname.lastname@example.org
Bernie M. Farber, email@example.com
Ron Banerjee represents RISE Canada - the same 'group' that at one time included Jennifer Bush, the woman who heckled Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and later went viral for yelling at Jagmeet Singh. RISE Canada is, however, largely a one-man group of Ron Banerjee.
Banerjee identifies as a Hindu nationalist and is a regular presence at the near-monthly anti-Muslim demonstrations in Toronto alongside groups like the Canadian Coalition of Concerned Citizens, Jewish Defence League, and the III%ers, an anti-Muslim self-styled militia group.
Banerjee has been active for years, and for a fuller history of his actions, visit https://anti-racistcanada.blogspot.com/search?q=banerjee
New report demonstrates more resources need to be spent on right-wing extremism to properly understand the threat
A key error in the Public Safety Canada report suggests that insufficient resources are being spent by security services and law enforcement to adequately monitor hate groups
December 14, 2018
Canadian Anti-Hate Network
Source: Yellow Vests Canada Saskatoon event page
Source: Yellow Vests Canada public group
The Public Safety report acknowledges right-wing extremism is a concern, perhaps more so than any other report to date. However, it characterizes the threat as one to “the fabric of Canadian society” rather than a threat to national security.
The report incorrectly states that individuals with extreme right-wing views are not openly promoting violence. The Canadian Anti-Hate Network (CAN) and others have documented hate groups in Canada issuing calls to violence, death threats, and celebrating violence towards targeted groups on a near-daily basis.
"The federal government is missing a big piece of the puzzle in its efforts to capture the threats to our collective and individual sense of safety and well-being," says Evan Balgord, Executive Director of CAN, "and we believe that's because our security services and law enforcement haven't invested sufficient resources to monitor the threat."
For example, in 2016 on the now-defunct neo-Nazi forum Iron March, a leader in Blood and Honour connected with a high school student on Vancouver Island. Blood and Honour is an old-school neo-Nazi group in Canada responsible for criminality and assaults. Now it interacts with the alt-right neo-Nazi movement on forums. The high school student posted that he was frustrated with 'leftists' at his school. Another user told him to get his firearms license. The Blood and Honour organizer told him “If you really want to stop the leftists at your school you’re going to have to use more than just arguments, but at least it’ll be a permanent solution.” Thankfully, that didn’t happen.
Today, CAN has documented death threats towards Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Omar Khadr on the Yellow Vests Canada Facebook page, as well as threats to beat anti-fascists with a baseball bat and another comment from an individual who says he will break people's legs. Yellow Vests Canada draws its inspiration from the yellow vests movement and riots in France. In Canada it is heavily integrated with the far-right movement and right-wing extremism.
The leader of the III%ers, an anti-Muslim militia, has posted that “the only good Muslim is a dead Muslim.” Several other threats from anti-Muslim groups are well documented.
This past month, representatives of the RCMP have gone on record to say that the Soldiers of Odin aren’t a threat - despite clear indications that they are, 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. It's important to also note that CSIS had previously closed its desk on right-wing extremism and only reopened it after the Quebec mosque shooting.
"We need a renewed focus on right-wing extremism, especially since it is responsible for more than 16 murders in 18 months* in Canada," says Bernie M. Farber, board member with CAN and a long-time advocate against hate activity.
*In January 2017, Alexandre Bissonnette killed 6 in the Quebec mosque shooting. In April 2018, Alek Minassian used a van to kill 10 in Toronto.
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
Amira Elghawaby, Canadian Anti-Hate Network board member, writes in the Toronto Star:
"No one would have anticipated the ugly wave of hatred and anger that would rise up against Muslims and other minority communities just as the nation sought to grapple with the aftermath of the horrific massacre of six worshippers at a Quebec City mosque.
But new statistics show that hate crimes in 2017 year rose by nearly 50 per cent since the previous year. Crimes targeting Muslims increased by a staggering 151 per cent; those targeting Jews, by 63 per cent, and those targeting Black people, by 50 per cent, among other increases.
It’s clearly time for some deep reflection — particularly amongst our elected officials. What should have been a straightforward effort to examine the ongoing harassment and discrimination against minority communities that year became a highly contentious wedge issue. The steep price of pandering to populist tendencies couldn’t be more clear."