Canadian Anti-Hate Network
A list of endorsed school board trustee candidates saved to a Google document by the group Vote Against Woke (VAW) has turned up on /pol/, the infamous message board on 4chan where neo-Nazis have found a home for the last several years, less than one hour after it was posted by VAW to both Facebook and Twitter.
Alongside an illustration of a transgender person being hanged in the style of Soyjak (a meme used to mock and dehumanize individuals, often cruelly), the post – titled “Stop the T******s” – calls for Ontarians to vote for “based anti-woke candidates.”
“The groomers in schools are hoping you don’t pay any attention so they can slither into power and have direct access to your kids.”
Comments from other 4chan users call for mass murder: “Kill all tranny. Kill all Redditors (in Minecraft.) Thank you,” reads one.
Another Canadian user posted, “It’s time to purge some groomers.”
A reply by the original poster of the thread includes a meme referencing the Red Ensign - the Canadian flag prior to 1965, which many white nationalists and neo-Nazis have co-opted to indicate their desire to return to a version of Canada prior to multiculturalism.
The same Google document was shared to a VAW Facebook page which appears to have just been created today. It has eight followers at the time of writing this article. VAW’s website currently states that they have been “cancelled” and encourages visitors to access the Facebook page of “a similar project,” through a link posted on the website. Both the Facebook page and the website share the same graphics and contact information.
“Despite being parent volunteers, we have been advised [sic] by Municipal clerks that our recommendations are not able to continue on a hosted site unless all persons register with every municipal elections clerk in Ontario, which we are not willing to do.”
The link was also shared on Twitter by the VAW account around the same time.
The Canadian Anti-Hate Network accessed the Google document and observed a user by the name of Danny Cruz making edits in real-time. All other users were restricted to viewing only.
It is unclear what Cruz’s relationship is to Vote Against Woke and whether he is the original author of the document. CAHN has contacted Vote Against Woke and will update if a response is received.
Vote Against Woke
Vote Against Woke is dedicated to crowdsourcing “non-woke” candidates for trustee races across Canada. Columnist Jonathan Kay provided a definition of "woke" for the project, which casts certain contemporary anti-racism, diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts as "extremist."
Kay notes that the term "woke" has become more commonly used as a pejorative.
"Woke" has become a very commonly used buzzword in the far-right's culture war, often used on Fox News and by Tucker Carlson. The far-right uses the term to label and attack anything they do not like about teaching about racism, systemic racism, 2SLGBTQ+ inclusive education, and 2SLGBTQ+ inclusion in general.
VAW’s grievances centre around gender inclusion and affirmation for youth, as well as critical race theory. Critical race theory is a high-level interdisciplinary academic concept completely inaccessible to elementary-aged children and is often conflated with general social justice and anti-racism taught in schools.
Some candidates have objected after being included on the VAW website without their knowledge or agreement.
VAW is just one of a number of online databases that have popped up across the provinces undergoing municipal elections, which encourage voters to elect candidates who oppose gender inclusion and affirmation, as well as anti-racism education. Far-right lobbying groups, such as Campaign Life Coalition, are also pushing to stack school boards with candidates.
Update: After publication, VAW removed their Facebook page, as well as the tweets linking to the Google document candidate list. They have still not replied to CAHN's media request.