Thursday, September 29, 2016

Who Supports Kellie Leitch's Canadian Values Test? A Case Study

When we wrote about Conservative leadership candidate Kellie Leitch's call for testing would-be immigrants to determine if the possessed "anti-Canadian values" that should disqualify those immigrants as potential citizens, we noted that this proposal had all the hallmarks of dog whistle politics; she could claim that her proposal didn't target any particular group while appealing to people who hear the whistle as targeting Muslim immigrants as well as Muslims who were already citizens either by birth or naturalization. We also noted the irony that many of those who support Ms. Leitch's proposal, by their own rhetoric, often embody the anti-Canadian values that the proposal aims to eliminate such as intolerance towards other religions and homosexuals as well as violent and misogynistic behavior.

With this in mind, we decided to examine the views of one specific individual who supports Ms. Leitch and her proposal and who is a familiar character profiled here on the blog, albeit one whom we haven't mentioned in some time since the demise of Free Dominion, as a sort of case study:

Ed Kennedy has remained quite busy since his regular stomping grounds at Free Dominion ceased to provide him an avenue for his bigotry. He actually started his own website a bit before Free Dominion shut down, perhaps because he could see the writing on the wall (or perhaps because even the folks at Free Dominion were growing weary of him). In any case, he has continued to provide his limited readership with his wit and wisdom.... usually involving attacking "lieberals", "feminazis", African-American protesters, Muslims, homosexuals, and his own extended family in a series of bizarre rants regarding an inheritance he believed he should have received from a diseased aunt of whom he has nothing positive to say about.

Kennedy believes Leitch's proposal is "common sense" though he doesn't seem to realize that, given Leitch's criteria, Kennedy's own views could be deemed to be anti-Canadian. In fact he appears to violate the value of religious tolerance in his explanation of why he supports Ms. Leitch's proposal:

Saturday, September 24, 2016

What's Jon Latvis Up To These Days?

The last time we posted an article asking a similar question back in 2012, it resulted in a fair amount of msm attention, though to be fair that was mainly because Warren Kinsella published the following image we forwarded to a mutual friend before we did and he's sort of a bigger deal than we are:

We should mention that despite our feelings about the late Rob Ford's tenure as mayor of Toronto, we were not suggesting that he was sympathetic towards neo-Nazis (the explanation provided by his office did a good job of putting this to bed), but that his handlers should have been more diligent in preventing Latvis from being photographed with Mr. Ford. In any case, Latvis himself denied his entire history of being involved in the biggest White Power bands of the 1990s and suggested he would sue Mr. Kinsella for defamation.

Considering that the Internet exists which documented his active and enthusiastic involvement in the neo-Nazi movement, as well as the following post made on his own Facebook profile explaining to his friends why he publicly denied his involvement, it would have been a very difficult case for him to make which is probably why he didn't sue:

Now, fast forward a few years.

Last weekend, the Bloor West Village Ukrainian Festival took place in Toronto. It is an event, like other similar festivals, that celebrates Ukrainian culture including food (we loves us our perogies), dance, and music. As this writer also has connections to Ukraine, it sounds like a good time and a blast to attend.

But based on what the good folks at the Left Chapter observed while watching a video of the parade, there was a bit of a fly in the ointment:

The portrait on the side of the banner closest
to the viewer is that of Stepan Bandera

Yeah, those are members of the Canadian chapter of Right Sector.

And who are Right Sector?

Glad you asked:
Critics at home say the party's inflammatory rhetoric and violence is helping Russian media to depict Ukraine as overrun with "neo-Nazis" who threaten the Russian-speaking population.
Activists claiming to be Right Sector members were involved in Kiev's Maidan protests from late November, but the group did not attract much attention until violent clashes with police in central Kiev on 19 January, in which it played a leading role.
A leading figure in the Right Sector, Andriy Tarasenko, says it aims not for closer ties with Europe but rather to "build a nationalist Ukrainian state and stage a nationalist revolution". 
Dmytro Yarosh calls himself a follower of Stepan Bandera, a nationalist leader who fought Polish and Soviet rule in the 1930s and 1940s but is seen in Russia and eastern Ukraine as a Nazi collaborator.
Some far-right activists interviewed by the BBC's Gabriel Gatehouse in Kiev in early March made it clear that they wanted a Ukraine "just for Ukrainians".
Other articles on Right Sector are equally enlightening:
Now, much like Rob Ford who was pictured with Jon Latvis, we don't believe the organizers intended on having a far-right ultranationalist group join in on their parade, however we would apply the same criticism as we did in Mr. Ford's case when we suggest they should have done a more thorough job checking into the groups participating.

But it might be of interested to our readers to know that Latvis actually has a bit of a connection here as well:

Yep, he's a supporter of Right Sector:

Monday, September 19, 2016

Man Assaulted by Finnish Neo-Nazi Group Linked to the Soldiers of Odin Dies

Our readers who have been following ARC's series on the Canadian branch of the Soldiers of Odin are aware that the group originated in Finland and was founded by Mike Ranta:

Prior to founding the Soldiers of Odin, Ranta, an avowed "White Nationalist" and neo-Nazi, was and still is a member of the Finnish Resistance Movement:
Ranta, who was convicted of a 2005 racially-motivated attack against two immigrants, admits readily to being a neo-Nazi — “Yes, I am” — but insists his ideology and membership in the Finnish Resistance Movement has nothing to do with the patrols. 
“Just because I am, as the founder or whatever, it doesn’t mean the whole group are (neo-Nazis)… We’re just a street patrol group, so why are people making it into something else?,” Ranta argued.
Since the publication of the above article, Ranta has been convicted of aggravated assault and given an 18 month suspended sentence for his attack on a man and woman.

Soldiers of Odin Canada, founded by Manitoba resident Joel Angott, was authorized by Ranta's original Finnish chapter to begin operations in Canada:

This past week, members of the Finnish Resistance Movement assaulted a man during a rally. That man later passed away as a result of his injuries:
A Finnish man, Jimi Joonas Karttunen, that was assaulted by neo-Nazis from the Finnish Resistance Movement (FRM) Saturday the 10th of September has died of his injuries. The news was first given by his father Kauko-Vesa Karttunen in a Facebook post on Saturday and the identity of the man has since then been confirmed by other sources, including an old school friend that Kaivuri has talked to. The assault against the 28 year old Karttunen happened during a demonstration by FRM in the center of Helsinki. Karttunen was assaulted from the back by members of FRM and hit his head as he fell on the ground, after he had expressed his dissent to the protestors. 
What is clear so far is that the victim was hospitalised shortly after the attack due to severe head trauma and remained in intensive care for several days. He was released from the hospital on Thursday but began to suffer from intense headaches again on Friday and called the emergency services. When the emergency services arrived he had already lost consciousness and was proclaimed dead on Friday at 10 PM. 
FRM released a video of Karttunen lying on the ground next to a pool of blood on Sunday the 12th of September. In an accompanying text, the organization said they had to ‘discipline’ some people who challenged them, effectively confessing members of the group were behind the assault. Several pictures connected to the article show known members of the organization, giving an idea of which people were present. 
The police have, nonetheless, been reluctant comment on the events to mainstream media outlets (1,2,3,4) and refused to verify whether a causal relation between the death of Karttunen, but confirm that the case is under investigation. Meanwhile, in a post on their website, the Antifascist network Varis has connected names to the faces visible in the pictures published by FMR. Several of the whom have a record of violence against people of colour, queers and political opponents. 
Kaivuri will participate in all efforts to bring the attackers to justice and we will continue to update as the situation develops.
The FRM propaganda video of the aftermath can be seen at about 2:06:

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Examining Soldiers of Odin Claims to Have "Purged" Membership of Racists

The media attention focused on the Canadian branch of the Soldiers of Odin has grown increasingly intense the past couple of weeks and the leadership is starting to feel the heat:
The last article is of interest since it indicates that as the public has become more aware of the group, the less inclined the public is to support them despite their efforts to appear as a benevolent and charitable organization:
But because of the group's name, they're being forced to strike down misconceptions that they are a fringe group looking to keep Canada white. 
"That's just misinformation that's been brought over from other countries," Agnott said. "What they do over in Finland and in Europe, they have all sorts of different issues altogether. That's not really what we are. We're an independent charter of Soldiers of Odin; we're a community watch group." 
But this bit of information isn't widely known in Canada, and it's led to the Soldiers of Odin Canada to be shut down in one instance where they tried to hold a fundraiser.
On Aug. 27, the Saskatchewan chapter tried to hold a barbecue fundraiser for STARS Air Ambulance.
Mark Oddan, communications lead for STARS in Saskatchewan told the CBC, when the Soldiers of Odin approached the organization to see if they would attend the fundraiser, STARS declined to attend. 
"We didn't know who this group was and then did some research and thanked them for their interest and their support, but we declined their invite and said we cannot accept any funds from them as their values are not aligned with ours," Oddan said.
Of course the claim to being an independent chapter sort of flies in the face of statements by Canadian SoO leaders that chapters need the approval of the parent chapter in Finland that was founded by an avowed racist to operate.

ARC was interviewed by a number of the journalist who have written articles about the SoO and we hope that we have been able to provide some decent background on the group and the membership. One of these articles was published later this past week and contains some points that we would like to address:
The blog Anti-Racist Canada (ARC) — an anonymous group that says it is concerned by racist movements — has been tracking SoO Canada mostly via social media since at least March of this year. 
An ARC representative, who identified themselves only as ‘nos’, questions why public statements by people like Angott decrying racism don’t seem to match with the activity of its members in private and sometimes secret Facebook groups. 
ARC has also pointed to social media connections between SoO members and members of outlaw motorcycle gangs.
We've actually already written about the link between SoO members and supporters to the Hell's Angels in an earlier article, however we are currently collecting information for a follow-up article which we hope to publish some time this week.
Angott himself, ARC notes, was Facebook friends with Ingrid Rimland, wife of notorious Holocaust denier Ernst Zündel. 
When asked about this, Angott told SooToday he had received a Facebook request from a profile with that name but that he did not know who that person was, who Ernst Zündel was, or that holocaust denial “was a thing” and he has since unfriended the account.
While we can't categorically refute Angott's claim that it was Ingrid Rimland who added him as a friend that he didn't know who she was when he added her, we believe this claim could be questioned given:
  • Angott has been very careful about who he has added as a friend on his Facebook profile (believe us, we've tried to add him but he seems a bit skittish for some reason) so it doesn't seem realistic that he would add Rimland whom he claims not to have known.
  • Why would an 80 year old woman seemingly randomly add some guy as a friend who lived in Gimli, Manitoba?
  • As "Holocaust revisionist royalty" through her own efforts as well as her marriage to Ernst Zundel, people who are inclined to agree with her views would be more likely to request her friendship than the other way around, though we should hasten to add that there's nothing yet that indicates that SOO Canada founder and president Joel Angott has denied the reality of the Holocaust himself.
  • If Ingrid Rimland slipped through the cracks, that would be one thing. But how might he  then explain the others we've found who have ties to racist groups?
So either Angott is naive, or there might be something else to this. We should however note that he has indeed unfriended Ms. Rimland.
Angott said that over the summer Soldiers of Odin purged some of its Canadian members for having racist views, and has deliberately distanced itself from racist groups. 
“We’ve slowed down on accepting members until we’ve fully checked them out and fully vetted them. We did have some people with ulterior motives come into our organization. We weren’t as vigilant as we should have been with these types of people. We did some research, back checking on who they are and what they stand for and we have released people that didn’t have the values that our organization carried (because) they were racist,” said Angott.
This brings us to the crux of the issue. Angott claims to have purged their membership of individuals possessing racist views.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Kellie Leitch's Canadian Values And Dog Whistle Politics

On this day 15 years ago, a monstrous act of terrorism was carried out by 19 members of Al-Qaeda led by Osama bin Laden and motivated a bastardized interpretation of Islam not shared by the vast majority of the Muslim world. The result was the death of 2,977 innocent human beings and a world forever changed.... at least for the western world unaccustomed to these sorts of horrible events since the end of World War II.

Days after the attacks occurred many politicians came together and in an example of non-partisanship that, since then have become increasingly rare, proclaimed in unison that these attacks would not change our fundamental nature as a society or our commitment to liberal democratic values which included freedom, pluralism, and tolerance.

But of course our fundamental nature and commitment to those values did change.

In the years since September 11, 2001, we've allowed governments to pass laws which violated our civil liberties -- the PATRIOT Act, the Anti-Terrorism Act, the Civil Contingencies Act 2004Loi Renseignement -- because of fear.

Hate groups have used social media to effectively disseminate propaganda targeting immigrants, religious and ethnic minorities, and those who subscribe to progressive political positions. Some of these groups, such as PEGIDA which originated in Germany and the Soldiers of Odin which originated in Finland have created chapters in other countries, including Canada (and which have lately been prominently featured on this blog) and have moved off of social media and onto the streets of the country. Incidents of anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim vandalism, arson, death threats, and assaults are not unusual occurrences and are often celebrated by people who support anti-immigrant/anti-Muslim groups, some of whom (such as these posts on III% Canada) actually desire the genocide of a people:

We've witnessed the demonization of an entire faith group because of the actions of a few leading to attacks against members of the Muslim faith as well as the passing of illiberal laws in ostensibly liberal democracies.

Demagogues have arisen and attempt to gain power in their respective countries through identity politics. In the United States Donald Trump has closed the the gap between himself and Hilary Clinton running on an overtly racist campaign targeting immigrants and Muslims among others while promising "law and order" to oppose what he claims as increased lawlessness in a country where crime has actually been in decline for two decades. In Europe, the AfD finished ahead of the Christian Democrats in Mecklenburg-West Pomerania on a single-issue platform: no refugees. Geert Wilders of the Netherlands, Marine Le Pen of France, Viktor Orbán of Hungary, Norbert Hofer's Freedom Party in Austria, Jaroslaw Kaczynski and the governing party of Poland, and Sweden Democrats among other individuals and far-right parties who have been able to ride a wave of anti-immigrant/anti-Muslim sentiments and either form national governments or have a serious chance of doing so. Even old relics like Pauline Hanson of Australia, once consigned to the dustbin of history, have re-emerged and now holds the balance of power along with three other members of One Nation in the Australian senate.

Canada isn't immune from this same demagoguery and identity politics.

During the last federal election and in what turned out to be a failed Hail Mary pass by the former Prime Minister, the Conservative Party floated the idea of creating a hotline in which Canadian citizens could call in to report suspicions that their neighbors were engaging in "barbaric cultural practices." Aside from the fact that most people are able to call 911 when a crime is being committed, there might be a bit of irony in a conservative political party suggesting a Stasi-style program in which neighbors are asked to inform on each other. Though the Conservative Party denied it the proposed program, which came hot on the heels of the court ruling allowing a woman to take the Oath of Citizenship while wearing a niqab, was targeted towards a specific cultural group. And though ultimately unsuccessful as a means of turning the election in the Conservative's favor, the genie was let out of the bottle giving rise to a significant Conservative constituency who not only don't believe Muslim citizens share the values of other Canadians, but who often subscribe to the belief there is a vast conspiracy to enact Islamic Sharia law by the Muslim Brotherhood who have infiltrated our government. It's not unusual to see people claim that Justin Trudeau himself is a Muslim bent on destroying Canada and paving the way for an Islamic caliphate.

To most Canadians, even those who aren't happy with the Liberal victory last October, these sentiments are the ridiculous conspiracies of fearful and gullible people. To others though, it constitutes a political constituency.

Kellie Leitch was Mr. Harper's point person on the barbaric cultural practices tip line proposal during the election. At the time she stated that the Conservative Party was, "not afraid to defend Canadian values" though she never quite spelled out what those values actually were. After the election, Ms. Leitch seemed to apologize (sort of) for her role in the proposed tip line:
Leitch, who is also a pediatric orthopedic surgeon, said her intention was to ensure that if women and children needed to "pick up the phone" to call for help that someone would answer, but admits that "the message was lost." 
"We weren't talking about race, we were talking about kids ... but that message was completely overtaken and I regret that, and I regret that it occurred, and it shouldn't have been done," she said.
Now as a candidate for the leadership of the Conservative Party however, Ms. Leitch has decided that identity politics is a reasonable policy position once again:
Kellie Leitch defends 'anti-Canadian values' survey questionHer campaign asks if immigrants should be screened to determine their values
By Catharine Tunney, CBC News Posted: Sep 02, 2016 3:42 PM ET Last Updated: Sep 02, 2016 5:12 PM ETConservative leadership candidate Kellie Leitch is defending a contentious survey question from her campaign team that asked supporters what they think about vetting would-be immigrants and refugees for "anti-Canadian values."
"Canadians can expect to hear more, not less from me, on this topic in the coming months," Leitch wrote in an emailed statement....

Ms. Leitch this time provided a vague understanding of what she believes to be Canadian values:
"Screening potential immigrants for anti-Canadian values that include intolerance towards other religions, cultures and sexual orientations, violent and/or misogynist behaviour and/or a lack of acceptance of our Canadian tradition of personal and economic freedoms is a policy proposal that I feel very strongly about."
Besides the claim that "economic freedoms" constitute a Canadian value (social democrats might not agree with a Conservative Party member over exactly what this value constitutes for example), one has to wonder how many of the Conservative base would pass the tests themselves, at least the, "intolerance towards other religions, cultures and sexual orientations, violent and/or misogynist behaviour" part of it.

Because, you see, while Ms. Leitch argues her proposed values test has nothing to do with identity politics and that comparing her to Donald Trump "isn't fair," those who's ears are tuned to dog whistles will hear exactly what she wants that particular constituency to hear:

For example the reaction by members of both Canadians Against Justin Trudeau and PEGIDA Canada were both generally favorable to Ms. Leitch's position, other than those who believe Muslims would lie and thus support a blanket ban on Muslim immigration. From Canadians Against Justin Trudeau....

Sunday, September 04, 2016

Ezra Levant Not Entirely Certain Soldiers of Odin Are A "Thing"

While we were working on our commentary yesterday on Mack Lamoureux's CBC story covering the  activities of the Soldiers of Odin in Edmonton, we were also following an interesting exchange between Mr. Lamoureux and Ezra Levant on Twitter. Sadly, as Ezra isn't a fan of ours....

.... we may have been only able to see one side of the discussion.

Unless we had a second Twitter account. Which, of course, we do.

Now, from this part of the exchange, Ezra seems to be suggesting that the Soldiers of Odin are actually a figment of Mr. Lamoureux's imagination. However, Ezra does clarify his position that he believes the SoO are exist, but only as a vehicle to entrap poor, dumb, disenfranchised, "old stock" Canadians:

Saturday, September 03, 2016

Soldiers of Odin: Canadian Media Paying Attention Part 2

Before we begin and for any new reader here as a result of the latest article abut the Soldiers of Odin published by the CBC, we thought we would provide you with the links to our coverage of the group before jumping into our commentary on Mr. Lamoureux's article:
For a while, we at ARC seemed to be one of the few groups who were keeping an eye on the Soldiers of Odin, the vigilante group that began in Finland that was founded by a number of overt neo-Nazis. The movement eventually sprang up in other countries, including Canada. As of this date, there's a branch or support group in almost every province in Canada.

Now we've always been pretty realistic about our own limited media impact, so we were very pleased when Mack Lamoureux published his expose on the SOO in Alberta for "Vice" in April. This was followed by a story by Samantha Craggs of CBC News in Hamilton who spotlighted the growth of the movement in her own city; we commented on the story a few days later. If you haven't read these articles, we would urge you to do so.

Today, Mack Lamoureux again, this time writing for the CBC, has highlighted the group's activities in Edmonton:

Canadian president says local chapters 'not affiliated' with white supremacy
By Mack Lamoureux, CBC News Posted: Sep 03, 2016 6:00 AM MT           Last Updated: Sep 03, 2016 7:25 PM MT

A few interesting points:
"At this stage, we have a group of people that have associated [themselves] with a group that are internationally extremely negative," Jones said. "In the city of Edmonton context that we have right now, we have seen no violence, no complaints, no threats, nothing criminal." 
Jones said police have spoken to the group. 
"They are reporting they are not the same type of group, that they are not anti-immigration or radical right."

Well, that might be a hard case to make when, in order to be recognized as an official branch of the international Soldiers of Odin movement, a new national branch needs the approval of the original Finish branch:

And it's tough to convince us that the Canadian SOO isn't anti-immigration or radical right when you associate with overt racists and neo-Nazis:

"People think we're some sort of white power group," Joel Agnott, the SOO national president, told CBC News in early August. "We're not affiliated with any of that. We have had a few of those members, and we've kicked them out."
Yeah, we're still able to find a lot of "those members." For just one example, a quick look at the SOO Edmonton support page brings this guy to our attention:

"Jay Cam" has been profiled on the blog briefly before. He at one time was an administrator for the Canadians United 4 Canada Facebook group. Oh, and he's associated with Kyle McKee's Blood & Honour chapter.

Perhaps our readers would like to take a closer look at his profile photo

If you were able to identify the photo as that of George Lincoln Rockwell, founder of the American Nazi Party, give yourself a pat on the back.

Also Joel Agnott has some interesting ties to people we're able to link to McKee's Blood & Honour faction (we'll be addressing this in a future article) as well as to Ernst Zundel's wife and fellow Holocaust denier Ingrid Rimland which in and of itself cause our spidey senses to start tingling: