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2.5 Marc Lemire
by Bill Dunphy

If you'd like a glimpse of the future of organized hate in
this country, look no further than this 21-year-old army
reservist.

Armed with little more than rudimentary computer- literacy
and a few thousand dollars worth of electronics, Toronto's
Marc Lemire has already secured himself a lead spot on
Canada's roster of racist propagandists.

Through his computerized Digital Freedom bulletin board
service (begun in April 1995), and his Freedom Site homepage
complex on the World Wide Web, (up and running since
February 96) Lemire has provided a virtual library and town
hall meeting place for Canadian white racists. Although his
claims for their reach and efficacy may be somewhat
overblown, there is no denying that anyone making a serious
study of organized hatred in Canada need take a close look
at this young racist's career.

Lemire points a finger at employment equity's effects on
fire fighter hiring decisions as the reason he first joined
the white racist movement in general and the Heritage Front
in particular.

"I always wanted to be a fireman, ever since I was a little
kid," he said in a 1996 interview. "And then your dreams are
shattered - that was one of the compelling reasons I
joined."

Never mind that Lemire hooked up with Wolfgang Droege and
the Heritage Front before he was even old enough to apply
for a fire fighter's job.

Like a couple of dozen angry young white men this decade,
Lemire formed a bond with Droege, and eagerly embarked on
flyer distribution campaigns and teen recruitment drives for
the Front back in the early 90's as that group was really
hitting its stride.

But by the summer of 1993 Lemire had fallen in with a sub-
group for Front members and associates, a small circle of
young men who chafed under the Front's leadership (and CSIS
Grant Bristow's acid tongue). These men, Ken Barker, Phil
Grech, Les Jasmski and Lemire formed their own bonds of
kinship and began drifting away from the Front and spending
increasing amounts of time in their own company.

By the fall of 93, Grech, Jasinski and Lemire were sharing
an east Toronto flat while Barker had moved back to his home
turf of Oshawa.

Of the four Lemire, while not an obvious leader, was
certainly the most stable. Two of the men, Barker and Grech
had recurring health and emotional problems. Jasinski was an
unstable extremist and Christian Identity zealot who'd
already been booted out of a local Ku Klux Klan cell because
of his dangerously violent rhetoric.

Still, the group looked with some disdain on the tattooed
and beer-drinking skinheads who seemed to be holding a
certain sway in the Front and they began developing their
own ways of getting things done. Some were time-honored and
traditional - leafleting, letter-writing and setting up a
telephone hotline. Others were more dangerous.

One Wednesday morning that fall, Grech donned a clown's mask
and yelling at the terrified tellers, vaulted the counter of
a TD bank in Oshawa. After fumbling momentarily with the
cash drawer, he tore it open, grabbed a fistful of bills and
ran out. An alert bank employee noted his car and later that
night it was found a few blocks away in the parking lot of
Barker's apartment building.

Hold-up squad officers raided the Oshawa apartment where
Barker lived with his young daughter and found disguises, a
wad of cash, ammunition, a realistic-looking, but fake bomb,
and two shotguns, one of them with its barrel sawed-down.

The next morning police raided the east end flat where
Lemire, Jasinski and Grech lived and arrested Grech.

He was charged with the bank robbery and Barker was charged
with weapons offences and a late-night donut store stick-up
from the month before. In that robbery, two masked men - one
armed with a shotgun - terrorized the overnight help before
making off with a grand total of $257. Jasinski later
confessed under oath in court that he had bought both
shotguns, sawed the one down and used it in the donut store
hold up. But he was never convicted of any criminal
offence. Grech
pled guilty and was sentenced to 18 months in prison, Barker
was convicted of weapons storage offences.

Lemire was never charged with any criminal offence arising
from that group's activities.

While his buddies fought their legal battles, Lemire turned
to the ideological battlefield - opening the Euro-Canadian
Action Line, a taped telephone message service promoting
white racist causes and views.

Like his friend Barker's Equal Rights for Whites hotline,
Lemire strove to avoid breaking Canada's hate laws,
targeting government policies on employment equity, multi-
culturalism and immigration, and avoiding name-calling.

Although he offered time on the hotline to others - notably
Jasinski who taped some Christian Identity rants - the
hotline proved to be pretty much a one man show. And
something of a flop at that. In his third month of operation
he was only attracting 30 calls a week.

But he move away from the Heritage Front 's skinheads and
into the smaller,  independent end of the racist movement
was not a total loss, even if most of his close associates
had made a series of very stupid mistakes. The Front had
fared no better.

In 1993 at the very height of its powers, the Heritage Front
was falling apart, convulsed by street fights with anti-
racist extremists and courtroom battles with the
establishment. The Front collapsed as a "mass" movement and
has yet to recover.

But Lemire, like his mentors Ernst Zundel and Paul Fromm,
emerged relatively unscathed from the wreckage of the early-
90's white racist movement's boom and bust. Like Fromm had
done 15 years earlier, Lemire cobbled together an innocent
sounding front group from which to operate. Initially called
the Euro-Canadian Alliance, and later changed to the
Canadian Patriot's Network the groups have never really been
anything more than Lemire and one or two others.

One of them, Chris Saunders, would help Lemire into the area
that would ensure his spot in the thin histories of Canada's
organized hate groups.

Saunders was something of a computer geek.

Lemire had earlier signed on with the Canadian Armed Forces
reserves, angling for medical training. And in the summer of
94, he had to leave his hotline in Jasinski's hands while he
crawled through the bush at Camp Petewawa. But after his
return things changed.

That September he announced the change to the Canadian
Patriots Network.

By October Lemire had his first private internet account. By
December he helped Saunders set up one of this country's
first white racist computer bulletin boards (a BBS, as they
are more familiarly known.)

The idea of using a BBS - an electronic meeting place where
people can post and pick up notes, view files and have real-
time conversations - was not altogether new to the white
racist movement. Texas Klan leader Louis Beam had set up the
Liberty Net as an underground communication and resource
center nearly a decade earlier.

But that was not a recruiting tool, it was more of a secure
line of communications. Saunders and Lernire's Politically
Incorrect BBS was meant to attract, recruit, and convert.
Even here they were following the lead of American racists -
former Klan leader and Droege associate Don Black had had
huge success with his Stormfront BBS in Florida.

Four months later Lemire and Saunders parted ways and Lemire
opened Digital Freedom BBS in April 1995, a service which he
described as "Free Speech and Pro-White". There were and
are more sophisticated computer jockeys in the white racist
movement in Canada, but Lemire displayed an almost obsessive
pride in his BBS and drove hard to make it the biggest and
the best around.

Within the movement he succeeded, building up a massive
collection of files and resources (even if they are poorly
organized) and attracting a large core of users and an even
larger corps of occasional visitors.

With Black he dreamed of setting up an international network
of "pro-white" BBS's and did put together a kind of network
bringing together BBS's of several countries in a loose
electronic mail linkage.

That was the year of the exponential growth of the
Internet's World Wide Web and Lemire - who used the Internet
newsgroups and mailing lists to advertise his Digital
Freedom BBS - recognized a good thing when he saw it. By
February he was truly on-line, throwing an increasingly
complex collection of files and photos on his Freedom Site
on the WWW. And while he still gets more traffic on his BBS,
and gets most of his funds from BBS members, his website has
offered him a chance to act as a virtual emcee in a no-risk,
ongoing ,town hall meeting of Canada's white racist
community.

Among the groups who have found a home on his web site are
the moribund Heritage Front, Fromm's front groups, Citizens
for Foreign Aid Reform and Canadian Association for Free
Expressions, The Euro-Christian Defense League (a Christian
Identity group from the prairies,) and B.C. lawyer Doug
Christie's Friends of Freedom..

The groups sell books and pamphlets, audio and video tapes,
and post their newsletters on the site. Last month Lemire
announced the start up of Radio Freedom, a once a week live
Internet "broadcast" radio show featuring weekly talk and
interviews computer users can listen to in real time or
download for later listening via a section of his World Wide
Web site.

Among the "hosts" Lemire has signed up are: Paul Fromm,
Kevin Strom, the neo-nazi host of a shortwave radio show
American Dissident Voices, Joy Berke, the latest "host" of
the Heritage Front's telephone hotline and Lemire's old
friend, Saunders.

Elsewhere on his website, Lemire advertises his BBS and his
own data packages and posts photos he thinks are
appropriate. Most are sycophantic portraits of movement
leaders, but the odd time his coarser nature wins out, like
the time he posted a photograph of a black man being kicked
and beaten by a gang of skinheads. He borrowed a hate rock
group's song title for the picture, labeling it the "Doc
Martens Dental Plan."

For his part, Lemire rejects labels like "racist" or "racial
separatist" preferring to simply think of himself and the
groups he houses on his web site as "controversial
Canadians."

Although Lemire is now no longer actively pursuing an army
career, he is still
carried on their books as an "employee".

The history of Canada's white racist movements, the largest
of our organized hate groups, displays a pattern of booms
and busts which reached its height at various times in the
20's and 30's. Over the last 50 years the movement has risen
and fallen in mostly smaller waves of activity that appear
to have peaked in the early 90's with the Heritage Front and
its many associated groups.

They're in decline now, but they trained an awful lot of
young men, like Lemire, in hatred and how to organize it.
And unlike in previous "down cycles" the movement has now
found a few safe, if virtual, harbors to ride out the storms
of anti-racist protests and organizing.

And Lemire is one of their key harbor masters.

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