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.
Police reported hate crimes increase nearly 50 per cent in 2017 - but that's just the tip of the iceberg
The police only report a small fraction of actual hate crimes to Statistics Canada
November 29, 2018
Evan Balgord & Amira Elghawaby
M103, the motion against Islamophobia, was a lightning rod for an anti-Muslim
street movement that firmly established itself in 2017. Source: Twitter.
The 2017 police reported hate crime statistics have been released. They show an increase in hate crimes across the board compared to 2016 with a larger increase in hate crimes targeting Muslims, Blacks, and Arabs. Every year the release of these statistics generates media stories and opinion pieces - almost always without reflecting the serious methodological issues with the statistics.
To us in the field, these statistics are an indication of something we already know and can be a way to share that knowledge with the public. Hate groups and dogwhistle politics have further normalized racist and hateful attitudes that create an increase in everyday bigotry, overt hate, and violence towards our neighbours. However, we know the bad data underestimates the size of the problem.
According to research by Dr. Barbara Perry and Sabreena Ghaffar-Siddiqui, two of Canada's leading researchers on hate crime, there are systemic issues in how these numbers are collected and reported by law enforcement.
First – hate crime or a hate incident? Hate incidents are noncriminal harassment, while hate crimes must contain an element of criminality independent from the hate motivation. Some jurisdictions will take reports of both – others only take reports of hate crimes.
Over two thirds of victims of hate crimes don’t report to police. In some communities – and particularly among newer migrants – this number can be as high as 85 per cent.
Those that do report to police are sometimes discouraged from filing a report - in examples we've heard, either because it's not criminal (a hate incident) or because the officer doesn't believe they will be able to find the perpetrator and suggests to the victim that reporting is a waste of time. If the responding officer takes their report, the officer has to have to have the training to recognize an incident as a hate crime and tick a box on a form. In some jurisdictions, there will be another level of review which may remove the hate crime designation if there isn’t sufficient evidence (note: not disproving the incident, but not having the evidence to state it as fact either).
The cases that remain are stuck in limbo. If there is sufficient evidence to indicate the incident occurred and to move forward with an investigation, that case will be reflected in the numbers law enforcement pass to Statistics Canada. If the investigation isn’t going anywhere, it may not be included in the numbers. This process isn’t the same in every jurisdiction and the patchwork nature of hate crime training and reporting is another issue.
The result? Only a tiny proportion of hate crimes are reflected in the police reported statistics.
Then there are the issues of classification. For example, there are multiple categories an anti-Muslim hate crime can be coded as – racially based (eg. Arab) or based on religion (eg. Muslim). The system forces officers to make very subjective judgement calls - for example, race or religion, pick one - but bigots and racists often don’t draw these distinctions. In the United States, a Sikh man was killed in ‘retaliation’ shortly after 9/11. Often, brown skin is enough. Or consider this example – a swastika is scrawled over a poster of a woman in hijab. How should that be coded? Antisemitic, anti-woman (part of the 'other motivation' category), anti-Arab, anti-Muslim, or all of the above?
Since newer immigrant communities are less likely to report, and classification difficulties dilute the statistics further for groups and people with intersectional identities, some communities – like the Muslim community - are very likely underrepresented in the statistics.
We have a much better tool – in 2014 Statistics Canada did a survey on victimization as part of the General Social Survey. This self-report has its own methodological flaws but it’s the best tool we have, and suggests far higher levels of hate crimes across Canada.
That survey is scheduled to be repeated for release in 2019.
We need an audit and standardization of police-reported hate crimes. However, there is a more immediate solution. If we want a better measure of hate crimes in Canada, Statistics Canada should add additional questions and do the victimization survey every year.
Canada Post should donate the hundreds of thousands of dollars they earned delivering hate propaganda to anti-hate efforts
November 28, 2018
A relatively inoffensive image on the home page of the Your Ward News website.
Carla Qualtrough, the Minister in charge of Canada Post has issued a final order that the neo-Nazi newspaper Your Ward News can’t be sent out through Canada Post’s bulk mail program anymore.
Before the ban, Canada Post is believed to have earned hundreds of thousands of dollars to deliver Your Ward News. We are calling on Minister Carla Qualtrough and Canada Post to donate the proceeds for distributing hate propaganda to organizations that work to counter hate groups and promote equality and multiculturalism in Canada.
Your Ward News spread hatred towards women, Jews, Muslims, LGBTQ+ persons and other groups of Canadians. It encouraged raping women, compared Jews to Satan, and pictured its critics in a gas chamber. The hate propaganda was so bad, its editor and publisher were ultimately charged criminally for the wilful promotion of hate propaganda and their trial starts today in Toronto.
From March 2015 to May 2016, Canada Post delivered individual issues of Your Ward News to as many as 300,000 households in Toronto per edition.
Canada Post started receiving complaints immediately from postal workers and the community about the fact they were delivering hate propaganda. Canada Post incorrectly claimed it wasn’t their job to review mail. Your Ward News was an open newspaper and its content was self-evident from each cover. Canada Post’s own regulations bar people from using the mail to break any law and Canada Post must respect the Canadian Human Rights Act that prohibits them from discriminating against or harassing their employees or the public on the basis of race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, etc. If Canada Post had really felt their hands were tied, they could have asked the Minister to review the problem.
But Canada Post didn’t stop delivering Your Ward News voluntarily. Minister Qualtrough, had to issue an order prohibiting them from continuing. The order was then appealed by the editor and publisher of Your Ward News, triggering a lengthy Board of Review process.
The independent Board of Review was composed of two lawyers and a political science professor. While not a criminal court, they found that Your Ward News is likely criminal hate propaganda and the postal ban was justified.
While community advocacy was ultimately successful, Canada Post profited from delivering hate propaganda for sixteen months before being forced to stop. During the Board of Review process, one of the delivery contracts for Your Ward News was disclosed and indicated Canada Post was paid in excess of $40,000 to deliver one edition. While earlier editions were not as large, Canada Post delivered the paper 14 times and therefore likely earned hundreds of thousands of dollars in total.
Now, Canada Post and Minister Qualtrough have the opportunity to invest that money earned by distributing hate propaganda into efforts to fight overt hatred towards groups of Canadians.
James Sears (editor) and Leroy St. Germaine (publisher) have been charged with the wilful promotion of hate, Canadian Criminal Code S319(2). Sears is appearing in court today (November 28, 2018) at the College Park courthouse, room 508 at 10AM.
"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."
Canadian Anti-Hate Network chair Bernie Farber calls on Doug Ford to renounce alt-right candidate who associates with neo-Nazis.
"On Saturday, Faith Goldy, in the race for Toronto mayor, well-known for embracing and supporting white supremacist views, turned up at the Ford Fest BBQ in Vaughan. Following a photo-op with the premier, a scandal ensued as Ford refused to renounce Goldy, her white nationalist views and support to neo-Nazis when asked to do so in the legislature by the NDP."
"Ford has condemned hate speech but refuses to renounce Goldy by name and her associations. His words do not live up to his actions. Canadians still expect decency and leadership from those we put in office. Ford can still make this right, but not until he fully dissociates himself from those like Faith Goldy and their vile ideas."
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.
"The Munk Debates is inadvertently sanitizing Steve Bannon in inviting him to participate in a debate on -the rise of populist politics in Western societies.' This is a white washing of Bannon’s racist, misogynistic, and white nationalist agenda."
Canadian Anti-Hate Network board members Amira Elghawaby and Bernie Farber take on the Munk Debates decision to invite Steve Bannon in this piece for the Toronto Star.
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.
Last evening Faith Goldy posted a picture of her 'volunteers' which included two uniformed Toronto police officers and a police car.
Goldy is a prominent figure in the alt-right movement and associates with neo-Nazis. The Canadian alt-right neo-Nazi movement supports her bid for Mayor.
Source: Faith Goldy, Twitter
The Canadian Anti-Hate Network calls on the Toronto Police Service to investigate whether these officers have violated the Ontario Police Services Act and Toronto Police Services Board policies in appearing to support Goldy and participating in election activities (the photograph) while in uniform.
Goldy shares neo-Nazi talking points and has publicly proclaimed the white supremacist slogan Fourteen Words coined by David Lane, leader of the neo-Nazi group The Order, which was responsible for the murder of Jewish American radio host Alan Berg in 1984.
She has been removed from fundraising platforms, like Patreon, which cited her sincere recital of the Fourteen Words in its explanation. Shortly before registering to run for Mayor she retweeted a tweet from a 4chan account referencing an antisemitic conspiracy theory that Jewish people control finance and the media: “As shown by the deplatforming of @FaithGoldy, the financial system is run by a nasty group of people that has controlled the will of the people for far too long.”
Goldy's activism also targets Muslims and other non-white Canadians and she has called for another crusade in the Middle East.
"This sends the wrong message," says Bernie Farber, Chair of the Canadian Anti-Hate Network. "Torontonians targeted by racist hate have every right to be concerned when police officers who are sworn to uphold the law are pictured supporting a political candidate who associates herself with white supremacy. The Toronto Police Service must respond and take disciplinary action if there are grounds for it."
Police Services Act
46 No municipal police officer shall engage in political activity, except as the regulations permit. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.15, s. 46.
Toronto Police Services Board policy on political activity
1. It is the policy of the Toronto Police Services Board that: 1. The endorsement or opposition of political candidates by municipal police officers is prohibited by the Police Services Act and its Regulations;
4. The Chief of Police will discipline any police officer who contravenes this policy.