The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Heritage Front Affair
Report to the Solicitor General of Canada
Security Intelligence Review Committee
December 9, 1994

7.2 The International Centre Rally

When the Reform Party decided to hold its major rally at the International Centre in Mississauga, Andrew Flint asked Al Overfield to provide security and, as mentioned earlier, this was agreed to by the coordinator of the Party's expansion into Ontario, Reg Gosse.[26]

7.2.1 The Organizing Meeting

Overfield and Flint agreed to meet during the first week of June 1991 to go over security arrangements at the International Centre. Flint met with Overfield, Bristow and the International Centre's head of security to make arrangements for the rally. This was Flint's first exposure to Grant Bristow; Overfield had mentioned that Bristow would attend the meeting.[27]

The Source said that a few days before the Mississauga rally, Droege had said to Grant Bristow: "I need your help to do security for the Reform Party" . The Source said he informed his handler that Overfield and Bristow would attend the meeting.[28]

On the way in to the International Centre, Bristow saw a former employer who is Jewish and who introduced him to his companion, saying "I made him (Bristow) what he is today"[29]

At the planning meeting, Bristow really stood out, said Flint. He was an immaculate dresser, his shoes sparkled, he wore a neatly trimmed beard, and overall he appeared clean-cut. Bristow made an impression on him as being articulate and intelligent. His knowledge of security issues was deemed excellent by Flint and the Centre's Head of Security. For Flint, the Mississauga rally was to be the first major event and it was a learning experience. Flint said Bristow did most of the talking at the meeting and generally dominated the conversation.[30]

In that meeting, Bristow described his role as the "drop man" - the person who would shadow Preston Manning from the time he arrived at the rally to the time he left. Bristow would be the person who would deflect any attack from an assailant. To do so, he would have to closely follow Manning all the time he was in the hall.[31] Overfield denied that the meeting ever took place.[32]

The Source reported that Overfield decided that some people should be posted to various spots in the International Centre. Bristow suggested that the potentially dangerous types, the Skinheads, be posted well away from Manning.[33] Wolfgang Droege would tell SIRC in 1994 that Bristow wanted to have the role of Manning's personal bodyguard, and Grant "elected himself" to handle security.[34]

Grant Bristow was also going to be the liaison person with the Peel Regional Police who had a sub-station in the Enternational Centre. Overfield said that Bristow happened to know the Inspector at the local division.

7.2.2 The Mississauga Rally

Al Overfield stated that he was the person who assigned the security roles for the team at all Reform Party meetings.[35] Overfield said that he decided ahead of time who was required. On the night of the Mississauga rally, June 12, 1991, there were perhaps a dozen of Overfield's security people present. Then Overfield, Bristow, Whit Gibson and Jerry Young met in a cafeteria to assign everyone their specific positions.[36]

The primary task for the security group was to keep CARP people away and to guard Preston Manning. The security group was divided into twot with one section outside to watch CARP and the other on the inside for crowd control and to protect Manning.[37] Inside the International Centre, a crowd estimated at 6,000 gathered to hear Preston Manning's speech.

Overfield was supposed to be protecting Preston Manning but he had too much to do and so he delegated the job to Bristow. He spent most of his time "fighting fires" , and admitted that he was not actually around Bristow and Manning that much.[38] Overfield said that although skinheads were not invited to the meeting, there might have been former skinheads in the crowd, but they were appropriately dressed and had cleaned up their act.[39]

Bristow was supposed to have supplied the security equipment for the security team, Overfield said, but all he ever brought were walkie talkies, which "were virtually useless".[40]

Manning was picked up at the airport and driven to the back door of the Centre where Bristow and Peter Mitrevski were waiting. Steve Erickson might also have helped. The group walked through the back corridors to the "green room" where Manning was met by Deborah Grey, Gordon Shaw, Reg Gosse, Andrew Flint and the security people.[4l]

Andrew Flint said that he "highly doubts" that serious discussions took place in this environment, with all of these people present.[42] Reg Gosse had the same response.[43] Ron Wood, Preston Manning's Press Secretary, remained close to Manning throughout the rally and stated unequivocally that no sensitive Party discussions took place.[44]

SIRC received information that Droege told a reporter that Bristow had been shadowing Manning. The reporter asked if Bristow had taken notes. Droege said he did not know but Bristow potentially could have because Bristow was privy to Manning's private conversations.

Alan Overfield said that Bristow had "a considerable conversation with Mr. Manning." Overfield also told us that "I introduced myself to Mr. Manning and I had a short discussion with him regarding my political background again."[45] Mr. Manning denies that this conversation ever took place.

Bristow, as agreed during the planning meeting, stayed relatively close behind Manning wherever he walked. Bristow remained at the bottom of the stage when Manning was on the platform. When Manning walked off the stage, Bristow followed him to the "green room" where Manning thanked the six or seven security people for their "excellent job".[46] Manning has said that he does not remember Bristow from the event. The Source informed the Review Committee that Bristow never overheard any conversations between Preston Manning and his staff.

Based on the information we received, the Review Committee is of the opinion that Grant Bristow was not privy to sensitive information.

The event over, the security detail walked Manning to the back door where Bristow and three others got into the "chase car" to follow Manning's car to the airport. Bristow and the others were back at the Centre in 10 or 15 minutes to help collect the money buckets at the end of the evening to give to the organizers. The evening over, the Overfield security team left.[47]

7.2.3 CARP Summer

Membership in the Reform Party after the big Mississauga rally in June 1991 styrocketed in Ontario and many ridings had public/town hall meetings. At the Trinity Spadina meeting, more people from CARP than Reform people showed up and the former seized the microphone and tried to take over the meeting. The meeting was cancelled - other ridings in the Toronto area feared a re-occurrence.[48]

Due to the effective performance of the Overfield security team in Mississauga, several ridings contacted Al Overfield directly or through the Beaches-Woodbine association asking him to attend and keep an eye on things.[49] The security group was present at a Broadview Greenwood riding meeting, for example, just after the major rally.[50] At the meetings, Overfield said, they would attempt to be unobtrusive, and gently escort out troublemakers.[51]

On June 19, 1991, an article about Wolfgang Droege and his racist beliefs appeared in the "Toronto Star":

"But Droege does take some comfort in the current political mood of the nation, most notably the public's positive response to the Reform Party. While Preston Manning would likely shudder receiving the Heritage Front's seal of approval, the fact is, he's got it. 'They have given us some hope.'"[52]

7.2.4 The Legion Hall

During July 9, 1991, the security group was at a Legion Hall on Dawes Road for the founding of the Beaches-Woodbine constituency association. The interim board for the riding closed on this date. The election of executive officers closed on July 30, 1991. Grant Bristow, dressed in blue jeans and a light blue shirt, was outside the hall with Wolfgang Droege doing perimeter security on the property line which separated the Legion Hall from the street. Al Overfield has stated that 10 people from CARP appeared at the hall to protest.[53] The protesters were walking around the street and Bristow and Droege were doing the same thing. Al Overfield was elected to the riding executive as one of 12 board members.[54]

Overfield's security group provided services through the summer - Flint estimates three to five times through the summer of 1991; he did not know if Bristow was present.[55] Overfield then told the Committee that Bristow was present at two meetings: one at a Scarborough school and the other at the Legion Hall described below.[56]

People's memories about the meetings which Grant Bristow attended during the summer and fall of 1991 are poor. Al Overfield thinks that perhaps Bristow appeared two or three times (he thinks Bristow may have sat outside in his car at a Scarborough meeting).[57] Wolfgang Droege estimated that Bristow may have attended five Reform meetings in all.[58]

Al Overfield wanted Bristow to go to Reform Party meetings and fundraisers, beyond those reported here, but Bristow said that he never did so. Overfield said that Bristow usually appeared when an important Reform Party figure was present.

The Source stated that Bristow was present only at the Legion Hall on Dawes Road.59 By the fall of 1991, CARP had disbanded and was a non-issue.



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