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Shofar FTP Archive File: orgs/canadian/league-for-human-rights//heritage-front/future

Newsgroups: can.politics
Subject: [17/18] The Future of The Heritage Front 
Summary: The League for Human Rights (B'nai Brith Canada) 1994
         report on the extremist organization The Heritage

Last-Modified: 1995/11/30

               The Future of the Heritage Front

The League for Human Rights has monitored and recorded hate group 
activity in Canada for 30 years, and our experience shows that groups 
with hateful platforms almost inevitably proceed to acts of hatred. 
The Heritage Front is a volatile group with a violent leader who is 
trying to mask his agenda in order to achieve his goals.  

But as of June 1994, the Heritage Front seemed to be on the decline. 
Wolfgang Droege, Kenneth Barker and Gary Schipper were in jail, and 
the organization did not have enough money to pay a $5,000 fine. 
Droege himself was unemployed, on welfare, and needed legal aid 
to pay his lawyer. The Front hadn't had a rally in months, and had 
largely fallen out of the headlines. George Burdi, who at one time 
had been an energetic recruiter for hate groups in Canada, had also 
left the public eye. Elise Hategan, once seen as the future of the 
Front, had been working with anti-racists to send Droege and others 
to jail and was now in hiding. To add injury to insult, a member of 
the Heritage Front had been beaten on the streets of Toronto in 
December 1993.  

But in August 1994, the Front once again grabbed the media spotlight 
as it was alleged that CSIS had, in effect, bankrolled their 
activities starting in 1989. The revelation that Grant Bristow 
was an intelligence plant produced mixed reactions from racists and 
anti-racists alike. Although many within the Front claimed that he 
had done more good than harm, many were still shocked at the 
revelation. Bristow's ties with WAR concerned Canada's Jewish 
leaders, who expressed publicly that if the allegations were true, 
CSIS had lost control of its contact.  

The startling allegations of CSIS complicity in founding the Front 
gave the group two straight weeks of free national publicity, but 
it remains to be seen if this will lead to an increase in 
membership or activity. Other neoNazi groups, most notably the 
Northern Hammerskins, have started to fill the void left by a 
moribund COTC and a slumping Heritage Front. It is quite possible 
that the Front has outlived its natural life span, and that other 
organizations are already starting to dip into its recruiting pool.

For five years, it was unclear how the Heritage Front paid for its 
operations. While Libya gave early support to the group, it seemed 
unlikely that they would have bankrolled the HF for five years. In 
addition, Droege's own personal financial troubles made it more 
apparent that he was not successfully raising funds for the Heritage 
Front. However, if it is true that CSIS gave more than $250,000 to 
Grant Bristow. who in turn used the proceeds to finance Heritage 
Front activities, then with the expose of this source of income, it 
is likely that the annual $50,000 grant from Ottawa will not be 
continued. With such a large source of funding now gone, it is 
difficult to see how the Front will continue to pay for its 

As the actions taken against the Heritage Hotline and Heritage 
Front propaganda have shown, community co-operation, joint forces 
police operations and intergovernmental agency co-operation are 
essential parts of an effective response to the activities of the 
Heritage Front and to hate group activity in general. There must be 
strong deterrents against racist activity enshrined in the legal 
system, supported by the government and police. Inter-community and 
legal efforts can send a clear message to the Heritage Front that 
there is no room in Canada for racists and bigots. But beyond 
addressing Heritage Front today, education, quality research and 
training are crucial if the attraction of hate mongering racist 
groups is to disappear from this country.  

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

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