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Shofar FTP Archive File: orgs/canadian/league-for-human-rights/heritage-front/into-the-mainstream


Newsgroups: can.politics
Subject: [11/18] Heritage Front: Into the Mainstream
Summary: The League for Human Rights (B'nai Brith Canada) 1994
         report on the extremist organization The Heritage
         Front

Archive/File:
pub/orgs/canadian/league-for-human-rights/heritage-front/into-the-mainstream
Last-Modified: 1995/11/29


                      Into the Mainstream

Groups such as the Heritage Front often try to gain credibility by 
running for political office or by aligning themselves with less extreme 
individuals and organizations. In the case of the Heritage Front, such 
connections have been noticed between the Heritage Front and Paul Fromm, 
and the Heritage Front and the Reform Party of Canada. Both of these 
associations require explanation.  

                      The Fromm Connection

Paul Fromm, a high-school English teacher in the Peel Board of Education 
just west of Toronto, is a longtime Canadian White supremacist. He was 
a strong supporter of Professor Philippe Rushton, whose theories on race 
and intelligence caused a great deal of controversy at the University of 
Western Ontario. Before his link to the Heritage Front, Fromm was 
associated with the Edmund Burke Society (an anti-communist, anti-
immigration University of Toronto student group which he co-founded 
in the 1960s); the Western Guard (a White supremacist group which 
evolved from the Edmund Burke Society); Countdown (a publication 
started by Fromm in 1972 to promote his racist, anti-immigration, 
anti-communist stance); Citizens for Foreign Aid Reform (C-FAR), an 
organization founded by Fromm criticizing Canada's foreign aid and 
immigration policies); and the Canadian Association for Free 
Expression (CAFE, directed by Fromm and Ron Gostick, a Canadian 
distributor of extreme right-wing propaganda).  

Fromm has held a formal position in the Social Credit party, has been a 
Metro Toronto Separate School Board trustee, and in 1981 was elected as 
treasurer of the federal Progressive Conservatives in Toronto. In a 
newspaper interview after his election to that position, it was 
reported that Fromm "'believes in restricted immigration, thinks the boat 
people should have been sent to inhabit desert islands, and expresses the 
belief that a supreme race of intelligent people 'is a good idea." 
There was a public outcry, and Fromm was forced to resign from his 
PC-Metro post. Since then, Fromm appears to have devoted most of his 
time to C-FAR and to the Heritage Front.  

Fromm's earliest association with the Heritage Front was C-FAR's 
co-sponsorship of the Front's December 8, 1990 Martyr's Day Rally 
for Robert Matthews, a member of the violent neo-Nazi group, The 
Order, who died in a shoot-out with the FBI in 1984. In a videotape 
of the rally, Fromm was shown saying, "We're all on the same side. 
But we must know who the enemy is... We are quite right to honour 
heroes here tonight." In later media interviews, Fromm denied 
awareness of the Heritage Front's views.  

On September 24, 1991, in the Toronto City Hall, Fromm and 12 other 
White supremacists including Wolfgang Droege and a member of the 
Aryan Nations disrupted a meeting of the Mayor's Committee on Race 
Relations as Native leader Rodney Bobiwash was lodging a complaint 
with the Committee about the activities of the Heritage Front. As 
Bobiwash was speaking, Fromm yelled "Scalp 'em!", and refused to 
apologize. He and the other White supremacists were removed from 
the meeting by police. The Peel Board of Education conducted an 
investigation of Fromm as a result of this incident, and recommended 
that the Ontario Ministry of Education review his teaching certificate.  

On April 30, 1992, the Peel Board reprimanded Fromm and warned him to 
refrain from questionable activities. The League for Human Rights 
strongly urged the Peel Board of Education to relieve Fromm of his 
teaching responsibilities, and noted that "views such as those 
held and expressed by Mr. Fromm... stand to poison the atmosphere 
for students in a multicultural democracy." Fromm is still licensed 
to teach in Ontario, and is still on the Peel payroll; however, after 
the Ministry of Education review and the Board warning and reprimand, 
he was removed from the classroom and assigned to teach adult 
education courses.  

         Infiltration of the Reform Party of Canada

"There is no room for racists in the Reform Party of Canada," said 
Preston Manning, leader of the Reform Party, on February 28, 1992. 
This statement came after reports that at least four members of the 
Heritage Front, and possibly up to twenty neo-Nazis, were involved 
with Reform riding associations in Toronto. On March 11, 1992, 
Wolfgang Droege, Nicola Polinuk, James Dawson, and Peter Mitrevski, 
Heritage Front members (all of whom had gone to Libya in 1989), 
were expelled from the Beaches-Woodbine Reform Party riding 
association.

Polinuk and Dawson were to have become formal board members on 
April 2. Also expelled was Al Overfield, the man who had recruited 
them, who has associated with neo-Nazis for twenty years. Overfield 
was responsible for Reform Party security, and had twice hired 
Droege to help with security at Metro area appearances of Preston 
Manning. In 1971 Overfield, along with Paul Fromm and Don Andrews, 
was involved in a short-lived takeover of the Ontario wing of the 
Social Credit Party.  

Wolfgang Droege has denied that the Heritage Front had a plan to 
infiltrate the Reform Party. However, observers at Heritage Front 
meetings have reported speakers' recommendations for White power 
activists to get involved in more mainstream groups. Recent 
allegations involving CSIS have suggested that the Heritage Front 
had a vested interest in joining Reform.  

Preston Manning announced after the 1992 expulsions that his party 
would be launching an internal investigation into suspected neo-Nazi 
membership in an attempt to determine whether other political parties, 
groups or individuals were in some way involved in the recruitment of 
racist members. According to Manning, "There is no way that anyone 
who supports a racist position could at the same time support our 
position on the Constitution, immigration or culture, because the 
whole heart of our position is to strip racial criteria out of those 
policy areas." However, it is interesting to note that the policies 
of both groups stem from the idea that minorities are receiving 
unjustifiable special treatment under current Canadian legislation. 
According to Droege, "...Obviously there are a lot of similarities 
between the Heritage Front and the Reform Party... but we take some 
things a few steps farther." The League for Human Rights has called 
on Manning, the Reform Party, and all political parties to 
re-examine their policies and criteria for membership. 

It is tempting to disrniss the interest of the Heritage Front in the 
Reform Party as isolated. However, Zvonimir Lelas, recently sentenced 
to jail for desecrating Shaarei Shomayim Synagogue in 1988, was also 
dismissed from the Reform Party in March 1992, and a young member 
named Mark Kreuzer was expelled from the Calgary West riding in July 
of that year for distributing Holocaust denial literature. Kreuzer 
retained lawyer Doug Christie, notorious for defending White 
supremacists, to fight the expulsion. These incidents point to a 
tendency within some far-right groups to see the Reform Party as 
their natural political vehicle.  

In June of 1992, Michael Lublin, an Orthodox Jew who was the director 
of community relations in Ontario for the Reform Party, resigned, 
alleging widespread racism and anti-Semitism within the Party. He 
also claimed that he had alerted the Party leaders of the Heritage 
Front infiltrators in August 1991, and that these claims were not 
investigated until the story broke in the press in February of the 
following year.  

The Reform Party's stance against 'hyphenated Canadianism', federal 
funding of multiculturalism, and changes to the RCMP dress code 
(e.g. allowing turbans), in part explains the attraction of groups 
like the Heritage Front to the Party. Although Droege condemns David 
Duke's attempts to be accepted in mainstream politics, his 
involvement with the Refonn Party points to a similar search for 
credibility, one which has led him from radical groups such as the 
Ku Klux Klan and the Western Guard to the Heritage Front. Droege's 
attempt to make a space for the Heritage Front in the Reform Party 
was a bid to make his views more acceptable through their exposure 
in a mainstream arena.  

This bid having failed, the Heritage Front now refers to the Reform 
Party as the Conform Party, and criticizes its leadership while 
maintaining that the membership is sympathetic to the Heritage 
Front's position. The August 1992 issue of Up Front insists that, 
"A significant number of active Front members, supporters, and 
sympathizers" remain in Reform, some holding party posts.  Since 
the stunning success of Reform in the 1993 federal election, the 
topic of Right-wing extremism in the party has become more 
significant. According to leader Manning, Reform has redoubled its 
efforts to rid his party of neo-Nazis, saying that there is no 
room for hate in his brand of conservative politics. Several Reform 
officials and candidates have been forced to leave the party for 
offenses, including quoting Adolf Hitler in a public forum. It is 
encouraging to see Reform aggressively root out hatemongers 
within its ranks as the party seeks to change its image.  

~
The League for Human Rights of B'nai Brith Canada, 15 Hove
Street, Downsview, Ontario M3H 4Y8. 416-633-6224.

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