Normally we’d be loathe to publish part of a Jonathan Kay article, but we’re willing to make an exception when it involves an amusing anecdote about one Gary Schipper from the bonehead days of yore. Schipper was a prominent figure in the Heritage Front back when the organization was still relevant, and was well known as the voice of its anti-immigration telephone hateline. In 1993, the CHRC filed a complaint against the HF for inciting hatred and ordered it to cease recording hate messages until the CHRT’s ruling – an order which was promptly ignored and resulted in contempt charges against Schipper and fellow HF members Wolfgang Droege and Kenneth Barker. Several months later, a militant ARA demonstration outside Schipper’s Toronto house culminated in violent attacks on anti-racists at Sneaky Dees bar. That incident resulted in a number of assault charges against HF members and significantly contributed to the organization’s (and Schipper’s) steady descent into obsolescence. In 1994, Schipper was sentenced to two months for the contempt charges and has since kept a fairly low profile, though apparently his views have not evolved. Kay’s June 22 article entitled "My educational night at the ER with weirdos, pill-poppers and a musical holocaust-denier,” describes a chance encounter with Schipper at the hospital:
The two of us sat down in a pair of chairs near the nurse’s station. By now, it was 4am, and I felt like dozing off. But Gary was chatty. He was concerned that his busted hand might compromise his career as an R&B guitarist.
I inquired about his experiences in the music industry, and he ticked off a list of Toronto bars where he’d played. The places whose names I recognized were all dives — the sort of bars that pay you with free drinks — and so I asked him if he had a day job.
“Well, I do house painting,” he added. “Also, I’m into the white supremacist stuff.”
He added this latter detail absent-mindedly, as if he were describing a part-time pet-grooming service, or an eBay store where he sold houses made of Popsicle sticks.
It emerged that the “Gary” I was talking to was Gary Schipper, a prominent member of the Canadian neo-Nazi Heritage Front back in the early 1990s. In those days, this fellow was quite literally the voice of Canadian racism: He personally narrated the daily outgoing message on the Heritage Front’s telephone hotline (this being the way that bigots social networked with one another in the days before the internet). In the process, he earned at least one criminal conviction on contempt charges.
Schipper explained to me that his career as an anti-Semite originated in the fact that he was an ethnic gentile who’d been adopted by a Jewish family when he was just 6 weeks old. “I didn’t look Jewish, you know?” he said, pausing so I could assure him on this apparently important point. “I just didn’t fit in.”
“There’s only one Jew who was ever gassed to death,” he went on. “That was Caryl Chessman — the rapist guy who went to the California gas chamber in 1960. The Auschwitz stuff is all BS.”
Throughout all this, Gary never stopped smiling. His only sour note came when he lamented the fact that Ezra Levant was getting all the attention for bucking the human-rights censorship system, something he’d been doing for years.
If I were a truly righteous Jew, I would have let the little bigot have it, broken hand and all. But at 4am, it wasn’t in me. The whole scene was just too surreal for an impromptu Holocaust-awareness lecture.
And as for the musical career that Schipper worried might be jeopardized by his busted hand? It appears he just does covers, including a karaoke-quality rendition of “Hallelujah”:
That would be “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen. Jewish Leonard Cohen. But don’t worry, folks, he prefers the Jeff Buckley version! You know, part-Panamanian Jeff Buckley...
Hmm.... not very white supremacist stuff, at all.