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.
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.
The Canadian Anti-Hate Network is concerned about demonstrations being held by far-right groups on Parliament Hill in Ottawa this weekend, July 14-15, 2018.
The demonstrations, being promoted as a ‘Canadians for Canada’ rally and a ‘Unite the Right’ rally are being organized by the Canadian Combat Coalition (C3). The leader of C3 claims it will include groups like Storm Alliance, Soldiers of Odin, Sons of Odin, the Canadian Jewish Defence League, the III%ers, and Northern Guard.
Members of La Meute, Storm Alliance, and other groups at a previous demonstration on Parliament Hill.
As originally reported by Anti-Racist Canada, part of the Canadian Anti-Hate Network team, the Soldiers of Odin and Northern Guard have leaders and members with demonstrated ties to white supremacy and neo-Nazism.
Members of the Canadian Jewish Defence League have been charged with a hate crime in the United States for their role in the beating of a Palestinian professor at the AIPAC conference in 2017.
The III%ers are an anti-Muslim ‘militia’ group which is stockpiling weapons, conducting paramilitary training and staking out mosques. In the United States, members of a III% militia group plotted to blow up an apartment full of Muslim immigrants. The Canadian leader, Beau Welling, has posted “The only good Muslim is a dead Muslim,” on Facebook.
Speakers include Kevin J Johnston, a Youtuber from Mississauga who is currently charged under S 319 of the Criminal Code for spreading hate propaganda. His videos often target Muslims and LGBTQ+ persons.
Far-right groups use rallies and events to network in real life and build capacity. This event continues a pattern of far-right groups claiming they aren’t racist while standing shoulder to shoulder with groups that are overtly and demonstrably hateful.
The event will run on both Saturday and Sunday. One of the organizers of a connected ‘Free Tommy Robinson’ event has said he “really wants to get in mainstream media’s face” and they may march on the nearby CTV office on Sunday. According to Hope Not Hate, Robinson is a "Far-right Islamophobic Extremist." He has been put in jail for breaking contempt of court laws in the UK.
Update 2018-07-13: Members of La Meute tell the Canadian Anti-Hate Network that they won't be attending the C3 rally. "We don't want to be associated with the mess of Saturday," says Sébastien Chabot, a member of La Meute.