So far, Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s ideology-inspired of project of social and political engineering expresses itself most eloquently in three ways: the Conservatives’ egregious assault on civil liberties; the metamorphosis of Canada into a petro-state; and militarization of both Canadian society and our foreign policy. We’re yet to acknowledge how this project oppresses the “other” while empowering utopian idealists who believe that the eradication of minorities will cleanse their world of some perceived contamination.
In early June, Canada’s white supremacists saluted Harper.
The Conservative majority in the House of Commons had just passed Bill C-304 by 153 votes to 136. As usual, the bill passed with very little public debate and parliamentary oversight. And scant media attention. All opposition MPs voted against the bill. All but Newfoundland and Labrador Liberal Scott Simms, who sided with the Conservatives.
The private members’ bill by Alberta Conservative backbencher, Brian Storseth, repeals Canada’s hate speech laws. It scraps Section 13 of the Human Rights Act, which bans Internet or telephone-based hate speech. It strips the Human Rights Commission of its ability to rule on hate speech cases.
Most importantly, Bill C-304 relieves the commission of the power to shut down hate-mongering websites. The Canadian Bar Association (CBA) and other opponents viewed the passage of the bill as an attack on the Canadian Human Rights Commission and the Act.
“We reject attacks of this kind and reiterate forcefully our support for the continued importance of the work undertaken by these human rights bodies to foster human rights in Canada. Legal protections for human rights have existed in Canada since 1947 when Saskatchewan enacted the first bill of human rights in North America,” the CBA said in this report. The organization added, “Over the years, human rights commissions have remained at the vanguard of eliminating discrimination based on race, religion, gender, disability, sexual orientation, and other grounds, and advancing equality.”
But Canadian conservatives cheered. A victory for freedom of speech, they called the passage of the bill. Neo-Nazis cheered even louder. Commentators on the website of Storm Front, a notorious white supremacist group, expressed profound gratitude for the “sensible” legislation. They thanked Harper and Conservatives cheerleaders such as Ezra Levant.
Here’s a sample of their comments. (Please note that the names of the commenters have been omitted for obvious reasons):
- “Way to go Harper. I know we can’t get everything we want, but I stand a little taller today as a Canuck. The last time I felt this good was when they ditched the long gun registry. Let’s hope this passing of sensible legislation is a trend.” – Commenter A said.
- “Great news. A step in the right direction for Canada.” – Commenter B
- “Don’t get me wrong, Steven Harper and the Conservatives are not even close to being some type of savior for White Canadians. However, their opposition to this evil, anti-White legislation is something that has to be applauded!!” and “With that said, anyone supporting this legislation is either a very corrupt individual with something to personally gain, an evil anti-White fanatic or just plain STUPID!!” and “At any rate, hats off the Steven Harper and the Conservatives for Finlay scarping this “law”! Hats off to Ezra Levant and Mark Styne for challenging this and making this more widely known. Most importantly, hats off to unsung heroes Paul Fromm, Mark Lamiere, Doug Christie and Barbra Kulaska who fought tooth and nail right from day one to get rid of this abomination!” – Commenter C
- “In the least me and you stand a little safer from police showing up at our doors, arresting us and charging us for ” hate speech ” for some random post we’ve made on this website. Definitely worth a cheers.” – Commenter D
- “Wonderful news for the White people of Canda. And a very special thanks and congratulations go out to Paul Fromm. He truly stood his ground against this biased law. I shows that one man, with perseverance, can make a difference.” – Commenter E
How did we arrive at this unenviable moment when the product of a democratic process, in a fully-formed democracy, is celebrated by a hate group?
On April 17, 1982, Canada amended its Constitution and established within it the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. We made a commitment to uphold civil liberties, individual freedoms and fundamental human rights. We made an unconditional pledge to protect the rights of linguistic, racial, sexual and other minorities.
And then this year, the Conservatives sneered upon on the Charter. They decided not to celebrate its 30th anniversary.
University of Winnipeg Prof. Helmut-Harry Loewen is deeply concerned. “I’m concerned that under the current government, there’s an attempt to roll back the gains made in the Criminal Code and human rights laws,” he told the Winnipeg Free Press in March.
For one commenter on Storm Front, under Harper, “Things are slowly getting better, politically, in Canada.”
But as things are getting better for the hate groups, hate crimes are steadily increasing under Harper’s watch. According to Statistics Canada, there was a 35 per cent increase in hate crimes in 2008. The rate spiked to 42 per cent in 2009. Fifty-four per cent of the hate crimes were motivated by race or ethnicity. Four in 10 targeted blacks.
A clear definition of a “hate crime” is hard to come by. But the Metropolitan Toronto Police describes it this way:
“A hate crime is a criminal offence committed against a person or property that is based solely upon the victim’s race, religion, nationality, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, gender or disability.”
This week, we’re mourning one such crime. Wade Michael Page, the gunman who killed six Sikhs at a temple in Wisconsin, was a confirmed white supremacist. Most importantly, he was a U.S. Army veteran.
We in Canada should be concerned about both Page’s connection with the military and the nature of his beliefs. A counter-intelligence summary report from January 2011 obtained by the Ottawa Citizen through the Access to Information law issued a dire warning. It suggested that a U.S. white supremacist group was expanding into Canada. That Canadian “military members could be attracted to the organization.”
More importantly, we should be concerned about the fact that there are white supremacists in the Canadian military already. The report suggested that Canada’s National Counter-Intelligence Unit was aware of serving or retired Canadian Forces members who are part of the hate groups. And last year, the military investigated a Winnipeg soldier who denied being a racist but planned to attend a white pride rally in Calgary. He’d also commented on racist websites.
In 1997 the military expelled Nathan LeBlanc for possession of hate literature. Shortly afterwards, he’d partake in the fatal beating of Nirmal Gill in British Columbia. The judge who jailed LeBlanc for 12 years for the crime called him and his accomplice neo-Nazis “unrepentant racists.”