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


7.3 The Plots Against Reform

In the course of the Review Committee's investigation, we learned of several plans by members of the extreme right and those who allied themselves with the racists, to discredit the Reform Party. Two such plans are described below. A third plot is described later in the report.

Overfield met Don Andrews in 1967 and became an active member of the organization that Andrews and Paul Fromm founded, the Edmund Burke Society.[60]

On February 23, 1972, the right wing Edmund Burke Society became the white supremacist Western Guard. The leader of the former and member of the latter, Paul Fromm, succeeded in taking over the Ontario wing of the national Social Credit Party. 61 The national president of the Social Credit Party then placed the entire Ontario Branch under his personal trusteeship to counter Fromm's activities. According to one author, among the four members of the Western Guard who ran for Social Credit was one Alan Overfield.[62] He ran in the Beaches Woodbine riding and was expelled from the national Party, but not the provincial group.[63]

Though Ernest Manning was the leader of the Party, the members of the Ontario wing blamed Preston Manning, his son, for the organization being placed in trusteeship. Fromm told SIRC that "I don't trust Preston Manning."[64]

One year after the formation of the Western Guard, the name changed to the Western Guard Party. The leader was Don Andrews who established a special cadre to distribute leaflets, paint racist messages on buildings and harass Jews and Blacks.[65]

Among its members was Wolfgang Droege. One of its para-military group "soldiers" was Alan Overfield.[66] In 1973, Overfield says that he founded the Canadian Liberty League "as an alternative to the Western Guard."[67]

Andrews subsequently formed the Nationalist Party of Canada (NPC) in which Al Overfield was a member. Overfield says it is possible he was a member of the NPC but he did not remember.[68] Overfield produced a list of the weapons that would be required for the ill-fated coup attempt against Dominica; the attempt resulted in a three year prison sentence for Droege.[69]

Bristow was informed that Overfield and Fromm felt that Preston Manning could have protected them and the others in the far right years ago in Social Credit Party days and did not do so.[70]

Through his association with Andrews and the NPC, Overfield "came to know and eventually employed Wolfgang Droege as a part-time bailiff." Overfield considered himself a friend to Wolfgang Droege and would not "turn his back on him. Droege confided in Overfield."[71] As a result of this relationship and his position within the Reform Party, Overfield obtained Droege's assistance for Reform Party security duties.

Overfield told the Review Committee that he had been inactive in politics for 15 years, "but it was in his blood" and when Reform came along, he decided that it was close to his beliefs and he was one of the first to join in Ontario.[72] He said that before he joined, "he let the Reform Party executive know about his political past, and they had no problems with it." He said that he informed them that he had been a member of the Edmund Burke Society. He apparently did not mention his long involvement with the Nationalist Party of Canada.

Al Overfield stated that he was signed up in the Reform Party by Harry Robertson.[73] Robertson has no memory of that taking place.[74] Overfield has also stated that Stephen Harper, MP knew his background.[75] Harper had no recollection of meeting or even speaking with Overfield. Harper explained that in 1989-90, he was giving the Party's platform a strategic focus and was working out of MP Deborah Grey's office He was building issues into the Reform Party's platform to actively discourage extremists and "nut cases".[76]

All of Harper's files during that period were given to Reg Gosse. Harper asked Gosse to find his material when Dunphy's expose article came out in late February 1992. Gosse said he was not able to locate the files in question."

Overfield described himself as an "activistn who filled a void in the Party: he organized, recruited and provided personnel. By doing so, he said he worked his way onto the executive by helping Hugh Pendergast. At the time, said Overfield, he protected Hugh Pendergast from internal and external attacks. Overfield stated that Pendergast eventually learned to recognize attaaks on his own.[78] Overfield later told the Committee that Pendergast was not weak but lacked interpersonal skills.[79]

Overfield said he joined the Reform Party in January or February 1991.[80]

7.3.1 Overfield's Plan

On July 5, 1991, Toronto Region forwarded CSIS HQ a letter which was sent to all Reform Party Ridinqs. The letter stated:

"TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN

This letter will confirm that Alan J. Overfield and Grant Bristow are jointly responsible for the security of all present and future Reform Party Events that are planned for this region. They have been given our full co-operation and permission to ensure the safety of our guests and members.

If you have any further questions in this regard, I would be pleased to discuss their responsibilities in further detail with you.

Sincerely,

Andrew A. Flint
Regional Co-ordinator"

Grant Bristow stated that Overfield asked for the letter in order to receive recognition and to show that he was appointed.

Grant Bristow's name was included in the letter because he said: "Unless we have a letter of understanding, there could be legal liabilities if there was a confrontation with protestors at a Reform Party event".[81]

CSIS received no reporting on Reform Party activities or events. Bristow's involvement was described as security for Party events. The Source would be in a position to monitor this (white supremacist) situation. CSIS HQ was asked to comment on the matter and did so in August 1991 (see section 5.4, Headquarter's Enstructions and Debates).

Just prior to the Mississauga rally, on June 10, 1991, it was learned that Overfield was one of the Directors of the Beaches- Woodbine Reform Party riding association. Overfield had stated that he had a couple of men who were going to handle (i.e., protect) Manning because the police were refusing to give any assistance. Overfield informed a colleague that CARP announced that they would send eight busloads of people to protest the appearance of Preston Manning at the rally near Toronto.

Overfield's plant he confided to extreme right wing colleague Paul Fromm, was to unify all the right wing people into one cohesive organization. He was pushing to infiltrate, literally take control of, ten or twelve Riding Associations in Metro (Toronto). Even if they did not win the Riding Associations in an election, at least they would have control. The attraction of Reform for Overfield and like-minded persons, he said was that it was strictly white bread, 100 percent white Canadians, really anti-immigration; there was really no difference between those people and them (Overfield's group).

Wolfgang Droege would say that it was Grant Bristow who thought that some ridings could be controlled by the Heritage Front.[82] He would later tell the Review Committee that Overfield said that "he could arrange for us to have a security team and with doing security we could also then have a certain influence within the Party."[83]

We learned that Overfield said that he dove in (to the Reform Party) a couple of months ago and so far had worked within the Party, just playing the party worker, mainly because he did not want them pulling a Social Credit (manoeuvre), outlawing them overnight and they did not want to shoot themselves in the foot when they got even close to power or got a chance at it.

Overfield said he had sent a message to rival Don Andrews that if he tried to join the RP he would fight him tooth and nail. He thought instead Andrews would plod along with his stupid Nationalist Party (of Canada). He would fight Andrews entering the RP even though Reform said they would accept anyone whose heart was in the right place.

Droege too was to later say to the Review Committee that "their (Heritage Front) involvement, however, was not questioned by the Reform Party; the HF was 'not an issue', even though we were one of the main organizers".[84]

Through the Source, CSIS corroborated the existence of OxerfieRd's puan that the Whies Supremacist movAment should take control of at least tweive local riding associations. The purpose of this action was to form a voting block of "targets of influence" within the Reform Party's political apparatus. Once successful, the block would push senior Party executives to adopt policies favourable to the White Supremacist movement. An example of such a policy would be a call for reductions in non-white immigrants into Canada and tough restrictions on refugees.

In October 1991, Overfield was looking for a few people for the Reform Party because there was some trouble in the area between Markham and Victoria Park and Eglinton and Elsemere and there was a good chance they could take over the riding association.

7.3.2 Droege's Plan

Al Overfield was not the only one with a hidden agenda. The Service learned from a Source that Droege too had clandestine plans. As far as Droege was concerned, the Reform Party was threatening the momentum of the White Supremacist Movement. The Reform Party had to be disrupted so that the Movement could carry out its own political agenda.

Droege held a view common to those in the extreme right that the same situation occurred in the United Kingdom when the Conservative Party undermined the National Socialist Party's momentum, and in the end the Neo-Nazi organization fell apart. Droege wanted to prevent the same situation from happening in Canada.

The Source reported Droege as having said that the White Supremacist Movement wanted to discredit Preston Manning and the Reform Party before the general election in 1993. This idea would be accomplished by the Movement publicly identifying itself and its security relationship with the Reform Party's senior executive level. Among those who allegedly knew of the Droege plan were Gerry Lincoln, James Dawson, Ernst Zundel, Terry Long, Jurgen Neumann, Peter Mitrevski, and Grant Bristow. Zundel and Lincoln denied knowledge of any plot.

The Source stated that Droege believed that by getting involved with the Reform Party, eventually the media would take notice and Droege hoped they would wait until the 1993 election before burning the Reform Party.[85]

The Source reported on July 31, 1991 that a discussion with Droege at times became heated as the Source tried to point out the negative aspects for the movement, including possible Federal Government security interest in Droege's involvement with the Reform Party. Droege responded that he did not want to think about the retribution. He said don't tell Overfield because Preston is a big boy.[86]

The Source informed his handler about the hidden agendas of Overfield and Droege and was instructed to do what he was told and that the handler would get direction on this.[87]

In the end, Droege stated that he and other Heritage Front people would continue to perform security duties with or without the assistance of the Source. Toronto Region understood that Droege and his associates received no compensation for their security work, but undertook this activity as a favour for Overfield.

The Region took care to point out that there was no investigation of Reform Party activities, but rather, the actions of Wolfgang Droege were of CSIS' interest. Toronto Region believed that Droege's activities with the Reform Party were going to continue. Because of this, the Source should continue to participate in the security duties to allow CSIS to monitor the White Supremacist infiltration and disruption activity within the Reform Party. Due to the political sensitivities associated with the Source operation, the Region's Investigator and his Chief requested Headquarters comment and approval.

On August 1, 1991, the Director General of Toronto Region discussed this matter with the Assistant Director Requirements at Headquarters. The Deputy Director General Operations in Toronto Region asked that the issue be brought to the attention of the Assistant Director.

7.3.3 Early Warnings

A CSIS employee was a volunteer Director of Medberships for a Toronto area Reform Party riding association. Returning from his holidays on July 16, 1991, a co-worker told the CSIS employee that Droege had been on TV at a Reform Party meeting. On July 18, 1991, the Service employee met with Paul Kelly, President of the Scarborough West riding association and the two watched a videotape of the event. The Service staff member asked Kelly if he knew who Droege was. Relly stated he believed Droege was with security. The CSIS employee stated "that guy is no good for this party." When Kelly asked why, the reply was "look, I know".

The Service member said he was not divulging classified information "since an article had appeared in the Toronto Star on the l9th of June identifying Droege as a white supremacist".[88] The employee advised Paul Kelly to bring this to the attention of Andrew Flint, and asked to be kept out of it.

On July 30, 1991, the CSIS employee visited Kelly's house to pick up some membership cards. He alleged that Flint was also there and asked Flint what he thought of the article. Flint was said to have stated he would not knowingly use him again for a party funct_on. Word got back to Droege that a member of CSIS informed the Reform Party that Droege was a white supremacist.

Paul Kelly told the Review Committee that he had been informed that some Reform people were also in the Heritage Front; they may have included Overfield. Kelly was uncertain about the timing of these comments. Kelly said he would have spoken to Andrew Flint about the matter.[89]

The Service's assessment of the consequences likely to flow from the actions of its employee at the time was that the reaction of the Reform Party was difficult to predict. There might have been some attempt to imply that the Service was investigating the Reform Party although they thought that unlikely since the Party would not want its association with Droege publicized. The Internal Security Unit in Toronto Region reviewed the incident.

On August 4, 1991, it was learned that it was actually Al Overfield himself who identified Droege as a racist to Reform Party people. According to one report, Flint learned from Reform Party member Paul Kelly that Droege was a serious problem. Kelly would not explain what the problem was and that may have prompted Flint to question Overfield.

Andrew Flint has stated that he does not have any memory of being informed in 1991 that Droege was a serious problem, nor that he reported the incident described above to other officials in the Reform Party. He said that Paul Kelly recently told him about the incident, but Flint still does not remember it.90 When SIRC interviewed the CSIS employee in 1994, he said the events described above were possible, but he too did not remember meeting Flint.[91]

Overfield told the Review Committee that a CSIS member approached him about the security team and Overfield threatened to expose him. Overfield then said he was advised by the Reform Party "to dispose of Mr. [ ]" and he asked him to resign, which he did. Overfield also stated that Reform Party member John Thompson claimed to be a member of CSIS.[92] John Thompson flatly denied Overfield's assertion. We believe Thompson's version on this issue .

On July 22, 1991, Al Muxworthy from the Don Valley North riding made a courtesy call on Bernie Farber, the Director of Community Relations for the Canadian Jewish Congress. Farber expressed concern to him about Droege's public endorsement of the Reform Party in the June 19, 1991 article in the "Toronto Star" . The article did not say Droege was a member.[93]

Two days later, Muxworthy wrote to the Executive Secretary to Preston Manning to express his concern; he attached a copy of the article. The letter disappeared and was never found.[94]

7.3.4 Signing Up for the Reform Party

Prior to the Mississauga rally, it was learned that Overfield was dealing with Andrew Flint who was the East End Toronto organizer and part of the Ontario Executive. Overfield said he was unofficially made a Director for the Beaches Woodbine area and he was signing up everybody in sight for the Reform Party. The Party, he alleged, would accept anybody, they knew who they (Overfield et al.) were, but unofficially the Party was saying keep your mouth shut.

Overfield told the Review Committee that, at the time, Heritage Front membership was not a bone of contention. He believed that the Reform Party "played stupid" about such connections, but knew well the background of many of its new members. He said that the Reform Party had Klan members out West: "'racists' are not in the Reform Party closet".[95] The Reform Party Chairman has completely denied this assertion.[96]

Overfield says that he saw Grant Bristow pay for all Heritage Front memberships. He also said that Bristow was constantly recruiting for the Reform Party among the young fellows (Skinheads), which led him into arguments with Overfield following the meetings. Overfield said that Bristow would later tell him that "we can get control over this Party" but Overfield said that he did not want Bristow to recruit.[97] We learned that Overfield admitted that he personally signed up the skinheads. We saw no reliable evidence that Bristow was involved in this activity.

Overfield said that he did not know who was with the Heritage Front when he signed up new memberships. He said that he was never asked, and never offered information about the Heritage Front membership of the security personnel.[98] On another occasion, Overfield told the Review Committee that he signed up "ten to twelve people from the Heritage Front and Bristow encouraged five other people to join".[99] Finally, under oath, Overfield said he recruited 22 members for the Reform Party, five of whom were in the Heritage Front: Peter Mitrevski, Nicola Polinuk, Droege, Zvominir Lelas and Tony Cinncinato. He said he was unaware at the time that the latter two were associated with the HF.[100]

The Source has stated that Grant Bristow was nearby when Overfield was signing people up at his house in the basement or the backyard. Overfield tried to get Droege to join the Reform Party but the latter refused to pay the $10 fee to join the Party, as he did not think much of Preston Manning. Overfield provided the money for Droege's membership and threatened to take it off his cheques from the bailiff company.[101] Droege told the Review Committee that he paid for his membership.

Droege has said that he was not present at the time; his interests were not with the Reform Party, but with the Heritage Front, though he thought they might potentially be able to influence it.[102] On another occasion, Droege told the Committee that he did suggest to people that they sign up, but Al Overfield "was actively trying to sign up members".[103] Droege said that he never witnessed Grant Bristow trying to sign people up for the Reform Party, though he heard about it.

Droege stated that he and Bristow talked about "sending people into Reform, trying to get them on riding associations so we could have input and maybe influence policy down the road".[104]

The Source was asked to join the Reform Party by Overfield. The Source responded that Overfield was late and gave the impression that he had already done so. The Source had been told not to join by the handler. The Source could not remember making a speech encouraging people to join the Reform Party, but might have done so after Droege asked him to do it.[105]

When the membership book came out at various meetings, the Source said that he made himself "scarce". In regard to who paid the Reform Party fees for Heritage Front members, the Source only observed that Overfield paid for Droege's membership. Whereas the Source did not provide money to other people, he said that he may have assisted Overfield to get information on the sign-up forms; this would have been done at the request of Droege or Overfield and certainly the Source had no authority to sign up anyone.[106] Droege's colleague Paul Fromm told SIRC, in relation to Droege, "I certainly have heard him say back at the time that people should join the Reform Party".[107]

The Source stated that he may have been involved when one person joined - a college instructor completely unaffiliated with the extreme right wing.[108]

Wolfgang Droege has said that he did not attend the June 1991 C-FAR meeting.[109] Bristow has indicated that he was only at Reform or C-FAR meetings where Droege was present.[110]

Paul Fromm testified before the Review Committee that Overfield set up a table at the C-FAR meeting "to take Reform Party memberships and Grant Bristow was actively involved in trying to, you know, shepherd people over to the table and get them to sign up". Fromm explained that the reason he allowed Overfield to set up the table was: "We generally take the view: Look, if you've got some information you want to pass on, we're a forum, pass it on. So we said: Fine, set up your table". [111]

Overfield said that he attended only one C-FAR meeting. Prior to that meeting, Overfield said that Hugh Pendergast thought it would be a good idea to set up a table there. Overfield said that Pendergast came in with the table, and Tony Cincinnato [112] and Fromm had an argument because Fromm had not been consulted beforehand. Fromm, said Overfield, apparently does not like the Reform Party and had had a falling out with Preston Manning. [113]

Hugh Pendergast told the Committee that he "heard" that Bristow actively encouraged people to sign the Reform Party memberships at the 1991 C-FAR meeting. He stated that Bristow was buzzing around the meeting while Overfield was quietly sitting at the sign-up table at the back of the hall. The people in the hall were encouraged to pay a $10 Reform Party membership fee and make a $10 donation. [114]

Overfield said that he, Tony Cinncinato and Hugh Pendergast were encouraging sign-ups.[115] Overfield said that Bristow got Heritage Front people to sign up using Overfield's book. This was normally done after the meetings were over and people were milling around.[116] When asked why he did not report this activity to the Reform Party, he said he "Kept his mouth shut and let a person here and there know"; when asked who he told, he replied, "Andrew Flint". When asked again why he co-signed for the new Heritage Front members, he said "it was not my job to say 'you can't join'" the Party.[117]

In March 1993, it was learned that Al Overfield promised to dig up a Reform Party membership card so that Droege could copy it. Droege said that he was thinking about issuing membership cards to HF members.

In regard to the June meeting of Paul Fromm's C-FAR, the Source said that he had no knowledge of whether Overfield sold Reform Party memberships there. The Source stated that any sign-ups could have been as a result of revenge: Fromm, Andrews and Overfield were all members of the old Social Credit Party in Ontario. They thought that Preston Manning could have stopped their expulsions. Around this time, Fromm was involved with the Confederation of Regions Party and the Source could not see Fromm doing this as a favour to Reform.[118]

In November 1991, it was learned that Overfield and Peter Mitrevski were to do security at Broadview and Greenwood "for a riding association going together." Overfield said that all the young skinheads he had signed up out there would go.

As noted earlier, Al Overfield, in the whole time he was a member of the Reform Party signed-up only twenty-two members. He told the Review Committee that, of this twenty-two, "only five were HF members; the other sixteen were not at all associated with the extremist group."

In the autumn of 1991, James Dawson and Nicola Polinuk were described as district directors in the Beaches-Woodbine riding. Hugh Pendergast noted they were seeking election to the executive.[ll9]

Continued

Footnotes


The original plaintext version of this file is available via ftp.

[ Previous | SIRC Heritage Front Index | Next ]

Home ·  Site Map ·  What's New? ·  Search Nizkor

© The Nizkor Project, 1991-2012

This site is intended for educational purposes to teach about the Holocaust and to combat hatred. Any statements or excerpts found on this site are for educational purposes only.

As part of these educational purposes, Nizkor may include on this website materials, such as excerpts from the writings of racists and antisemites. Far from approving these writings, Nizkor condemns them and provides them so that its readers can learn the nature and extent of hate and antisemitic discourse. Nizkor urges the readers of these pages to condemn racist and hate speech in all of its forms and manifestations.