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


Newsgroups: can.politics
Subject: [16/18] Countering The Heritage Front
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/countering
Last-Modified: 1995/11/30


               Countering the Heritage Front

The community reaction to the Heritage Front has been strong. 
The widespread rejection of Droege and organization is exemplified 
in the two case studies that follow. In each situation the Heritage 
Front was attacked in the area of recruitment and the groups 
responding to the Heritage Front moved beyond reactive demonstration 
to proactive community outreach and education.  

   Attacking the Hotlines - The Canadian Human Rights Commission

In September of 1991 Rodney Bobiwash then the Race Relations 
Co-ordinator of the Native Canadian Centre lodged a complaint with 
the Mayor's Committee on Race Relations over the Heritage Front's 
racist hotline messages. Bobiwash charged that the messages targeted 
and promoted hatred against aboriginal people. Messages in June 1992 
threatened violence towards Bobiwash who asked police to investigate. 
One message recorded after the complaint was lodged claimed that the 
agenda of those opposed to the Heritage Front "is the annihilation of 
the White race. We will be basing our case on that premise. It's no 
hogwash Bobby we are looking at the hate laws as they may be applied 
to you. Anyone can get scalped so get ready."  

Following these messages Bobiwash asked the Canadian Human Rights 
Commission to seek a temporary court injunction to stop the Heritage 
Front messages pending a CHRC hearing into the case in October l991. 
A related court proceeding brought about a shoving match between 
Heritage Front members and anti-racists outside the courthouse.  

Throughout 1993 and 1994 Gary Schipper, Wolfgang Droege and Kenneth 
Barker constantly and deliberately violated a court ruling forcing 
them to stop transmitting hate messages. In June and July of 1994 
all three men served jail time for contempt of court.  

In August 1992 The Native Canadian Centre started Klanbusters, an 
anti-racist hotline. This hotline served to inform the public of the 
activities of neo-Nazi groups which affect the Toronto area. It 
included updates on the distribution of hate group recruitment 
materials the endeavours of White supremacist leaders and the 
activities of the Heritage Front and similar groups. The hotline 
urged listeners to report any racist occurrences. The Native Centre 
also published Klanbusters Update which provided information on hate 
groups and community action against racism. All of the actions of 
Bobiwash and the Native Canadian Centre have been effective 
challenging the Heritage Front both legally and from a community 
perspective. The League for Human Rights has been vocal in its 
support of these efforts and has contributed assistance to the 
Native Centre and to the CHRC whenever appropriate and possible.  

      Attacking the Flyers - Anti-Racist Community Groups

In January 1992 Citizens Against Racism (CAR) a grass-roots 
volunteer organization was formed as a response to the littering of 
the Riverdale neighbourhood with the Heritage Front's racist and 
offensive flyers. Concerned Riverdale citizens filed complaints 
with the police and with the assistance of the League for Human 
Rights established connections with other community anti-racism 
groups such as the Urban Alliance on Race Relations and the 
Native Canadian Centre. CAR produced and circulated their own 
counter-flyer which gave information for Riverdale residents on 
whom to contact to lodge a complaint. In March 1992 CAR approached 
MP Dennis Mills and described the extent of leafleting in the 
neighbourhood. Following CAR's recommendation a new anti-racist 
flyer was produced and circulated by Mills' constituency office 
throughout the riding. The circulation of both flyers resulted 
in positive feedback and increased community awareness.  

                   Joint Community Action

CAR broadened its efforts in March 1992 by organizing an 
Anti-Racism rally at Queen's Park, to mark the United Nations 
International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination 
and to specifically refute the ideas of the Heritage Front. In 
addition to a letter-writing campaign to former Ontario Education 
minister Tony Silipo regarding Paul Fromm, CAR was also active in 
the demonstration in June 1992 at Queen's Park, to counter the 
Heritage Front's planned rally in support of the jailed Metzgers. 
The League played a large part in both of the 1992 CAR rallies, 
participating in the planning, as well as providing speakers, 
publicity, and support. The Anti-Racist Response Network (ARRN) 
of the Urban Alliance on Race Relations is the vehicle through 
which the networking for community coalitions and rallies has 
continued, with the ongoing involvement of CAR, the League, the 
Native Centre, the CJC, Klanbusters, municipal and provincial 
committees, and many other concerned citizens.  

Another major group active in combating the Heritage Front is 
Anti-Racist Action (ARA), a Toronto-based coalition of committed 
opponents to the Front. ARA is a street-level group often 
engaging in violent confrontation against the Front. While many 
are opposed to the tactics of the group, ARA has definitely had 
an impact on the Heritage Front. In confrontations in front of 
courthouses, counter-rallies in Ottawa and Montreal, and in 
anti-HF marches, they have made it clear to the Front that they 
will not be tolerated in Canada. In a more proactive ARA has also 
been an important presence in high schools, educating students 
about the Heritage Front and other White supremacist groups.  

             Countering Recruitment Activity

The Heritage Front and other hate groups single out students 
for recruitment. Junior high school- through university-aged 
individuals are often lulled into White supremacist activities 
through pamphlets, racist rock tapes and concerts, speeches, and 
through friends that have already joined hate groups.  

Despite the success of many of these recruitment efforts, there 
are ways to recognize and combat racist advances among youths. 
Experienced members of human rights and anti-racist groups are 
increasingly being invited to schools to speak to students about 
hate activities. Through the promotion of multicultural programmes, 
joint efforts with police forces, and anti-racist training in the 
classroom, it is possible to stem the tide of White supremacist 
recruiting in the schools.  

In 1993 the Human Rights Youth League was founded by B'nai Brith 
Canada as a non-violent response to hate group activity in high 
schools and universities. This multicultural group boasts members 
aged 14 to 24 throughout the Greater Toronto area, and opened a 
chapter in Montreal in July 1994. Through presentations on racism 
in schools, summer camps and other public fora, the Youth League 
provides a strong counterweight to the vicious hatred promoted by 
White supremacist groups. A Youth League colloquium planned for 
October 1994, supported by a grant from the Ontario Anti-Racism 
Secretariat, will feature an anti-racist rock concert and a full 
day of lectures, speakers and discussion groups to develop skills 
combat prejudice and hatred.  

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

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