The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: orgs/canadian/sirc/heritage-front/HF-I-Overview


The information in this report covers several groups and individuals 
associated with the extremist right in Canada. To give context to the 
persons, groups and events which are described in the other sections 
of this report, we have provided a brief overview of how the leadership 
and members in the extreme right promote themselves and their ideas 
under different names at different times.  

We have not tried to be all-inclusive, nor have we tried to offer the 
reader an in-depth examination of how extremist groups have evolved. 
There are several texts on the market which do this. Rather, we offer 
a short "primer" on the antecedents of the Heritage Front.  

Differences do exist between the extremist groups, largely as a function 
of how drastic their remedies are for the problems they perceive to 
exist in Canadian society. Common to most of the organizations listed 
below are their doctrines, whether clandestine, to attract a wider range 
of support or, as is increasingly the case, blatant. Their fundamental 
agreement is the conviction that whites (aryans) are an endangered 
species. These beliefs lead, in turn, to their attitudes which are: 
anti-Semitic; anti-non whites; anti-immigration/refugee; anti-democratic; 
pro-free speech for racist or anti-Semitic ideas; anti-human rights; and 
anti-gay. The members tend to drift from one group to another and then 
back again in order to realize their xenophobic aims.  

1.1 The New Groups

Hate literature, racially motivated crimes, and the rise of political 
organizations dedicated to a racist ideology are not new phenomena in 
Canada. The Ku Klux Klan, for example, took root in Western Canada in 
the 1920's.  

Canadian Fascist and Nazi movements replaced the short lived Ku Klux 
Klan in the 1930s and 1940s. Adrien Arcand's Parti National Social 
Chretien[2] advocated that Fascism was the only solution to the 
"Jewish invention" of our system of liberal democracy. Arcand promoted 
Hitler as the saviour of Christianity.[3]

In the period immediately after the Second World War, racism and 
anti-Semitism lost their popularity, but the concepts did not die. 
Arcand, for example, ran for federal election in 1949 under the National 
Unity Party, an extension of his previous organization.  

Two of the more recent seminal groups in this country's radical right were 
the Canadian Nazi Party and the Edmund Burke Society. Together they "paved 
the way for the rush of right-wing organizations that would march across 
the nation in the decades to follow. "[4]

In 1965, John Beattie formed the Canadian Nazi Party, which marked the 
re-emergence of the neo-nazi political movement in Canada. The group 
promoted Hitler and his ideas, prompting no fewer than a "dozen 
organizations to spring up to do battle" with it.[5] Violent 
confrontations took place and Beattie was eventually sent to prison 
for six months for public mischief.  

In 1967 the Canadian Nazi Party became the National Socialist Party, 
again with Beattie as its national leader. He set up a recorded telephone 
message line "stating among other things that blacks were being 
manipulated by Jew-communists."[6]

Paul Fromm and Donald Andrews (Vilim Zlomislic) founded the Edmund Burke 
Society in 1967. This Toronto-based organization, described as "fringe 
right" by Stanley Barrett, covered the gamut of right-wing issues, 
although anti-communism started out as the main focus of its attack. The 
Society openly opposed "immigration, sex education, welfare, homosexuality, 
abortion, big government and Pierre Trudeau."[7] Their activities included 
the distribution of a newsletter and battles with left-wing groups. [8] 
But in practice, "their group was little more than a repository for 
mean-spirited racists and anti-Semites."[9] Eventually, some members of 
the  Society became involved in criminal activities including vandalism, 
arson and assault.  

1.2 Recent Racism

There was an explosion of right-wing activity in the 1970's and 1980's. 
According to Barrett, in 1987 there were close to 130 different groups 
functioning in the right wing milieu.[l0] As the author stated, the 
radical right started out as anticommunists, but over time, they adopted 
the politics of racial purity and anti-Semitism.[11]

In February 1972, the Edmund Burke Society became the Western Guard. 
Under Donald Andrews, the group's orientation changed from countering 
communism to vilifying Jews and non-whites. Those who were non-violent, 
such as Paul Fromm, left the Western Guard,[12] and were replaced by 
overtly racist members who pushed the group towards a more aggressive 
white supremacist and anti-Semitic platform. [13]

In 1973, the Western Guard set up a telephone hateline. Six years later, 
the line was "cut" by the Canadian Human Rights Commission which deemed 
it discriminatory. The same scenario would be repeated two decades later, 
this time in regard to the Heritage Front. Andrews had the dubious 
distinction of being the first person in Canada charged with wilfully 
promoting hatred.[14] In 1975, he faced offenses ranging from plotting 
arson, possession of weapons and explosives, and mischief. He was 
sentenced to two years in jail for conspiring to bomb a visiting Israeli 
soccer team. Consequently, the leadership fell to John Ross Taylor in 1976.  

Ordered by the Courts to stay away from the Western Guard, on his release 
in 1977 Andrews created the Nationalist Party of Canada. The Party's 
activities and beliefs were similar to those of the Western Guard. The 
Party appealed to the basest instincts of those who joined it: 
anti-immigrant, anti-gay, fearful of the disappearance of the white race 
around the world,  anti-affirmative action, anti-Black, and anti-Jewish. 
In the mid-1980s the Toronto membership varied between 150 to 300 persons 
depending up on who was cited. [15]

Paul Fromm went on to form two new fringe right wing organizations: 
Citizens for Foreign Aid Reform (C-FAR) and the Canadian Association for 
Free Expression (CAFE). C-FAR attacks Canadian foreign aid and immigration 
policies. CAFE, founded in 1981, focuses on issues of free speech. The 
individuals and groups defended by this organization are generally from the 
radical right, and include such Holocaust deniers as Ernst Zundel, Jim 
Keegstra and Malcolm Ross.  

In Alberta, a white supremacist umbrella group started to take shape in the 
early 1980s. In 1984, Terry Long's Aryan Nations (AN) finally received 
official recognition from the American leader of the Church of Jesus Christ 
Christian - Aryan Nations.[16] The AN advocates violence to establish an 
all Aryan state and is vehemently anti-Semitic and anti-Black. Associated 
with the AN was another militant group called the Aryan Resistance Movement 
(ARM). ARM, based in British Columbia, supports the extreme right-wing 
philosophy of the superiority of the white race and violently opposes those 
considered to be "non-white". ARM's Nazi publications are the "amongst the 
most venomous in the country.''[17]

Wolfgang Droege was a member of the Western Guard in the mid-seventies 
before switching his efforts to the Ku Klux Klan (RKK) in 1979. Droege, 
along with Alexander McQuirter, was instrumental in increasing the 
membership in the group to an estimated 2,500 in 1980 18 At this time, 
the KKK and Don Andrews' Nationalist Party of Canada formed a temporary 
merger But Droege was convicted and imprisoned in the United States for 
his part in the plot to overthrow the Government of Dominica and on 
several drug and weapons charges. McQuirter quit the Klan at the same 
time and, soon afterwards, was facing conspiracy to murder charges. In 
their absence, the KKK slowly disappeared.[19]

1.3 The l990's

The early 1990's belong to the Heritage Front and racist skinheads. 
Disgruntled members of the Nationalist Party formed the Heritage Front 
in the Fall of 1989. In a few short years, the Heritage Front became the 
most prominent white supremacist group in Canada. The Heritage Front also 
became embroiled in a series of legal actions by the Canadian Human Rights 
Commission - and the Federal Court involving their telephone "hate
line." Currently, a number of HF members are facing assault, robbery, 
contempt of court and other charges.  

The Heritage Front worked closely with other groups such as the Church of 
the Creator (COTC), which was led by George Burdi. He was said to be the 
second in command of the Heritage Front. The militant and action-oriented 
COTC disbanded in 1993 with the leader making racist recordings in the wake 
of arrests and criminal charges laid against Eric Fischer and Burdi. The 
members remain active, nonetheless.  

COTC followers have joined the Heritage Front and the Northern Hammerskins, 
a racist skinhead group which is potentially more violent than its 
predecessor. Other neo-nazi skinhead groups such as the Aryan Resistance 
Movement and the Alberta-based Final Solution Skinheads are organizing and 
finding a place in the extreme-right network in Canada. [20]
To avoid prosecution and violation of bail or release conditions, many white 
supremacists in North America are reorganizing under the concept of 
"individual leadership". Members of extremist groups are conducting "business 
as usual" but they are trying to do so as individuals. The trend is away from 
identifiable groups whose leaders can be charged for the criminal acts of 
those they influence.  

1.  See Stanley R. Barrett, "Is God a Racist. The Right Wing in Canada", 
    Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1987; Warren Kinsella, "Unholy 
    Alliances", Toronto: Lester Publishing Limited, 1992; Warren 
    Kinsella, "Web of Hate. Inside Canada's Far Right Network", 
    Toronto: Harper Collins, 1994.  
2.  The Party expanded into Ontario as the National Christian Party 
    of Canada and was renamed in the post-war period as the National 
    Unity Party.  
3.  Barrett, 1987, p.22. 
4.  Barrett, p.41.  
5.  Barrett, p.45.
6.  Barrett, p.47.  
7.  Kinsella, 1994, p.207.  
8.  Stanley Barrett speculated that the group might have been started 
    by police agencies seeking to undermine the left wing and to engage 
    in agent provocateur activity (p.70). 
9.  Kinsella, 1992, p. 103.
10. Barrett, Appendix.  
11. Barrett, p.30.  
12. Fromm spoke at the Western Guard's founding meeting, attended by a 
    leading American Ku Klux Klan leader. Barrett, p 75.  
13. Kinsella, 1994, p. 208.
14. Kinsella, 1994, p.239.
15. Barrett, p. 106
16. Barrett, p. 172
17. Kinsella, 1994, p.53  
18. Kinsella, 1994, p.217.  
19. Kinsella, 1994, p. 220. 
20. Kinsella, 1994, pp 266-281

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