New Public Safety report downplays right-wing extremism

A key error in the recently released Public Safety Canada report on terrorism and extremism suggests that insufficient resources are being spent by security services and law enforcement to adequately monitor hate groups and online extremism.
“Bring them in we’ll start shooting them down and start with that piece of shit trudoe,” writes Jerred Leason on an event page for Yellow Vests Canada, a social movement in France that has been co-opted by the far right in Canada. This is one of many examples of calls to, and celebrations of, violence, usually accompanied by overt racism that you will find on any of hundreds of far-right, anti-Muslim, or alt-right neo-Nazi social media gathering places.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Quebec City mayor Regis Labeaume and Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard march with a banner during a vigil to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the Quebec City mosque shooting.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Quebec City mayor Regis Labeaume and Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard march with a banner during a vigil to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the Quebec City mosque shooting.  (Ryan Remiorz / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
While the Public Safety report acknowledges right-wing extremism as a concern, perhaps more so than any other report to date, it characterizes the threat as one to “the fabric of Canadian society” rather than as a threat to national security.
The report incorrectly states that individuals with extreme right-wing views are not openly promoting violence. The Canadian Anti-Hate Network (CAN) and others have documented hate groups in Canada issuing calls to violence, death threats, and celebrating violence towards targeted groups on a near-daily basis.
As well, in the last two years Canada has seen attacks from individuals radicalized online by extremist right-wing philosophy. Innocent Canadians have been murdered and seriously injured in these attacks.
The federal government is missing a big piece of the puzzle in its efforts to capture the threats to our collective and individual sense of safety and well-being. We believe that’s because our security services and law enforcement haven’t invested sufficient resources to monitor the threat.
For example, in 2016 on the now-defunct neo-Nazi forum Iron March, a leader in Blood and Honour connected with a high school student on Vancouver Island. Blood and Honour is an old-school neo-Nazi group in Canada responsible for criminality and assaults. Now it interacts with the alt-right neo-Nazi movement on online forums.
The high school student posted that he was frustrated with “leftists” at his school. Another user told him to get his firearms license. The Blood and Honour organizer told him “If you really want to stop the leftists at your school you’re going to have to use more than just arguments, but at least it’ll be a permanent solution.” Thankfully, that didn’t happen.
Today, CAN has documented death threats towards Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Omar Khadr on the Yellow Vests Canada Facebook page, as well as threats to beat anti-fascists with a baseball bat and another comment from an individual who says he will break people’s legs. 
The leader of the III%ers, an anti-Muslim militia, has posted that “the only good Muslim is a dead Muslim.” Several other threats from anti-Muslim groups are also well documented.
This past month, representatives of the RCMP have gone on record to say that the Soldiers of Odin (SOO) a white nationalist group with neo-Nazi roots aren’t a threat — despite clear indications that they are, including a report from the Canada Border Services Agency, which states the SOO are “not afraid to use violence to achieve objectives.” 
Another security service spokesperson told a reporter that they are unaware of one of the fastest growing far-right youth gangs in North America, the so-called Proud Boys. It’s important to recall that CSIS had previously closed its desk on right-wing extremism following the demise of the last neo-Nazi threat, the Heritage Front in the early 2000s. It only reopened it two years ago after the Quebec mosque shooting.
Canada has been rocked by violence emanating from right-wing extremism either online or through the work of existing and new white supremacist entities. 
Quebec mosque shooter Alexandre Bissonnette, who murdered six innocent Canadians at prayer and wounded 19 others, or Alek Minassian, who allegedly drove a van into crowds of people in downtown Toronto, murdering 10 and injuring scores of others, all came from right-wing extremist roots.
Closing our eyes to the threat or minimizing its impact will do little to deal with this growing and dangerous phenomenon. To stem the tide we need law enforcement to reinvigorate and renew its focus on this rising menace.
Bernie M. Farber is Chair of the Canadian Anti-Hate Network. Evan Balgord is its Executive Director.



Popular posts from this blog

How a cyber attack hampered Hong Kong protesters

Former FARC guerrilla, Colombian cop pose naked together to promote peace deal

‘Not Hospital, Al-Shifa is Hamas Hideout & HQ in Gaza’: Israel Releases ‘Terrorists’ Confessions’ | Exclusive