Archive/File: orgs/canadian/canadian-jewish-congress/marches- to-modems/mtm-001 Last-Modifeid: 1997/03/30 FROM MARCHES TO MODEMS: A REPORT ON ORGANIZED HATE IN METRO TORONTO 1. A HISTORY 1933 - 1989 by Bernie M. Farber As the final decade of the 20th century draws to a close, organized hate - most of it arising from white racism - has returned to the periphery of Canadian society. Those who monitor hate activity have concluded that white supremacist activity in Metro Toronto seemed to have reached its peak in late 1993 and has, for the time being, "bottomed out". Nonetheless, it is important that society not rest on its laurels and come to the erroneous conclusion that racist extremism has gone the way of the dinosaur. Not only is this not so, it would be dangerous to be lulled into this fairytale. Racism, hatred and antisemitism are no strangers to Canada and Canadian history. Indeed, Ontario and specifically Metropolitan Toronto has had a sordid history of open fascist activity dating as far back as the late 1920's, activity which continued through to the Second World War. Groups such as the Caboto Committee, the National Unity Party, and various Swastika Clubs sprung up across Toronto and Ontario, their members openly sporting swastikas and other fascist symbols in an attempt to keep parts of Toronto free of Jews and other "undesirables." On August 16, 1933 this culminated in what became known as the Christie Pits Riots when a swastika flag was unfurled at a softball game between a Jewish and non-Jewish team. It was perhaps Toronto's first race riot, but not our last.. It was in this same era, that the "elder statesman of antisemitism and racism" John Ross Taylor- first made his unwanted appearance in Toronto as the leader of the Canadian Union of Fascists. While Taylor and his "union" hovered on the fringes of Toronto society, he remained a mainstay in the movement, graduating to become a kind of father figure and eventually a "martyr" to the young Nazis and white racists of the latter part of the 20th century. World War II belatedly opened the world' s eyes to the true horrors of organized racism. As it became evident that Nazi Germany engaged in the attempted murder of an entire nation of people, Canadians and the rest of the world understood that the slippery slope of racism could lead to the horrors of Auschwitz and the murder of six million innocent Jewish men, women, children and countless other Europeans. Fascism and Nazism in Ontario was seen for the horror it truly was and organized hate groups fell into a steep decline. And while it is true to say that organized and overt antisemitism and racism were not readily apparent following the end of World War II, it is clear that the values fostered by the Swastika Clubs did not disappear from Canadian society in the late 1940's, 50's and 60's. For example, well into the 40's, it is said that private properties in Toronto carried signs saying "No Dogs or Jews Allowed ". Certainly other signs reading "No Jews Wanted; Restricted Clientele; Gentiles Only" were commonplace in different sections of the city until the practice was outlawed by the Provincial Racial Discrimination Act in the mid-40's. Restrictive land covenants remained in place in Ontario until the courts finally outlawed them in the early 1950's. But organized hate and the extreme right, did not die out entirely. Ron Gostick from Flesherton, Ontario began spreading the extreme right's message through something called Canadian Intelligence Publications, which to this day still distributes its newsletter to members of the federal and provincial parliaments. In Ontario in the early 1960's, Gostick initiated the Christian Action Movement which became the Canadian League of Rights, one of the longest-lived racist movements in the country. Presently, Mr. Gostick resides in western Alberta. The Sixties saw the "rebirth" of visible extreme right organizations in Ontario and specifically Metropolitan Toronto. The so-called Canadian Nazi Party made its first appearance in Toronto in 1965 under the leadership of 24-year old William John Beattie. Along with his partner-in-fascism, David Stanley, an 1 8-year old student from the Toronto area, the Canadian Nazi Party, albeit tiny, provoked much fear and anger especially amongst Toronto's large Jewish population. However, by the late 1960's, Stanley and Beattie's Canadian Nazi Party had collapsed. In fact, David Stanley renounced his Nazi ways and even apologized to the Jewish community. John William Beattie disappeared until the late 1980's when he reemerged to offer his rented farmhouse near Minden, Ontario as the locale for one of Canada's first Aryanfests, a weekend-long picnic and concert for racist skinheads and hatemongers. In some respects, Beattie is a metaphor for Ontario's extreme right - a man whose life is a series of disappearances and re-emergences. The remnants of the Canadian Nazi Party retired to new headquarters in London, Ontario, where it became the National Socialist Party. The next two decades (1970 - 1990) became an important growth period for the radical right in Ontario. While they remained very much on the fringes of society, a series of organizations and groups emerged laying the groundwork for the explosive, if brief, growth of organi7ed hate in the early 90's. These precursors included Don Andrews and his Nationalist Party, in the late 70's and early 80's and the Canadian Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. As well there were groups which attempted to cloak their more extreme views and activities in the language of legitimate dissent, notably Paul Fromm's C-FAR (Canadians for Foreign Aid Reform), and CAFE (Canadian Association for Free Expression). Whereas ordinary Canadians resorted to violent direct action against organized hatred in the Christies Pits riots of the 30's, or the Allen Gardens riots of the 60's, by the 70's and 80's societal institutions took the lead in dealing with hate mongers. Nationalist Party members were hit with criminal charges for assaults, vandalism and bomb plot conspiracy in the 70's, and two leaders, Don Andrews and Robert Smith, were convicted under laws forbidding the willfiul promotion of hatred. Criminal charges were brought against a raft of racists during this time and among those charged were Arrnand Siskna, James Alexander McQuirter (leader of Toronto's Canadian Knights of the Ku Klux Klan), and Wolfgang Droege. They and others spent time in prison for hate-related activities that ranged from promoting hatred to conspiracy to commit murder and plotting to overthrow a government. Not surprisingly the groups were unable to hang together or function very efficiently in the face of their leaders' criminal convictions.
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