The Heritage Front and the Canadian Far Right

The Heritage Front and the Canadian Far Right

Far from being an isolated organization, the Heritage Front has links with a number of notorious far-right organizations and individuals in North America. The December 1990 ‘Martyrs Day Rally’ revealed the extent of the co-operation between groups. The rally was sponsored by Heritage Front in conjunction with Aryan Resistance Movement (ARM), which is linked to Tom Metzger‘s White Aryan ResistancePaul Fromm‘s Citizens for Foreign Aid Reform, the Church of the Creator (COTC), History Buff Books (a Hamilton-based store run by Jerry Neumann, a supporter of Ernst Zundel), and by Women’s Aryan Unity (WAU). Veteran White supremacist John Ross Taylor, one-time leader of the Western Guard, also attended. Such connections are not surprising, considering the similarities in platforms and Droege‘s personal connections.

Racist “Skinhead” Movement

As well as co-operating with established organizations, the Heritage Front‘s supporters also include many skinheads. The connection between racist skinheads in Canada and far-right groups is well-documented in another publication of the League for Human Rights, Skinheads in Canada and their Link to the Far Right. At a June 1992 Heritage Front meeting held in Toronto, skinheads from Toronto, Hamilton, Ottawa, Niagara Falls, New York and Boston made up the majority of the audience, as they do at most Heritage Front events.

Nationalist Party of Canada (NPOC)

Among its membership ranks, the Heritage Front counts many former associates of the White supremacist Nationalist Party of Canada; in fact, it is believed that the Heritage Front has taken most of its membership from the ranks of the Nationalist Party. This has led to tensions between Droege, a past member of the Party, and NPOC leader Don Andrews, tensions which are augmented by personal friction between the two men. This animosity goes back to the mid- 1970s, when Andrews spent two years in jail for a plot to kill Israeli athletes in Toronto. Droege, who knew about the plan, declined to participate in the scheme, which was foiled.

The Nationalist Party emerged from the ashes of the Western Guard, which itself was a renamed version of the Edmund Burke society. This latter group was founded in 1967, and included as members Paul FrommDon AndrewsJ. Ross TaylorWolfgang Droege, and Jacob Prins, the Grand Dragon of the Invisible Empire Knights of the KKK. Early members of the Nationalist Party were Wolfgang Droege and Alexander McQuirter of the Ku Klux Klan. The Heritage Front is in many ways an offshoot of this party, which received thousands of dollars from Muammar Qadhafi starting in 1987. The Canadians present on the 1989 trip to Libya were all affiliated with the NPOC, although several split otf to form the Front later that year.

The Nationalist Party was relatively quiet for a time until the summer of 1994, when Toronto’s CITY-TV revealed that Don Andrews and others had secured royal support for European Heritage Day celebrations in three provinces. The group had mailed letters to municipalities across Canada trying to get support from mayors; they never mentionecl their White supremacist agenda. Upon receiving letters of support from the cities of Halifax and Victoria, the NPOC wrote to the Queen to receive a royal endorsement. In fact, someone on her staff approved the request.

When they received the letter from Buckingham Palace, the Nationalist Party again sent letters to Canadian municipalities to get their support. However, Toronto Mayor June Rowlands alerted the provincial government to the situation. Once the story broke in the media, all of the governments that had endorsed European Heritage Day quickly repudiated their support.

Church of the Creator

The Heritage Front has connections with the Canadian branch of the Church of the Creator. The American Church of the Creator is considered by the FBI to be one of the most violent White supremacist organizations in the United States, although the Canadian branch currently keeps a lower profile. A letter appeared in the August 1991 issue of Racial Loyalty, the COTC newspaper, from a Heritage Front member outlining Heritage Front activities.

The Canadian leader of the COTC is George Burdi, a.k.a. Eric Hawthorne, who has spoken at many of the same events as Wolfgang Droege. Burdi is also the singer for the neo-Nazi band RaHoWa, and is a regular columnist for Racial Loyalty. It is interesting to note that the Church rejects the traditional Christianity which many other racist groups claim to support. The co-operation of the COTC with other White supremacist groups, despite the religious dissimilarities, suggests that the ‘positive’ tenets (e.g. pro- Christian values, pro-White ideologies) of the groups are simply fronts for the negative beliefs (e.g. anti-Semitic, anti-Native, anti-Black). The Church of the Creator co-sponsored the Metzgers’ visit with the Heritage Front. As well, the COTC’s literature is often distributed in conjunction with Heritage Front pamphlets.

The COTC provides security at Heritage Front activities, and in fact many members of the Church are also affiliated with the Front. In addition, it is alleged that the American COTC established a legal defence fund for George Burdi following his arrest. However, Burdi has remained silent for more than a year since the Ottawa incident.