The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Archive/File: orgs/canadian/canadian-jewish-congress/marches- to-modems/mtm-001
Last-Modifeid: 1997/03/30

                   FROM MARCHES TO MODEMS:

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

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

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

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

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

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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