09.20.2011 01:08 PM

Andrea Horwath thinks this is a defence of Anthony Marco (updated)

At the International Ploughing Match, the media asked the Ontario NDP leader about Marco’s comments – that National Socialism is a religion, and that those who object to Naziism and its variants are “pretty messed up.”

She angrily denounced those who were critical of Marco, and she refused to discipline him. She also suggested his full remarks, in context, somehow validate Marco’s position.  Here are his full remarks:

“Don’t tell me that there’s a separation of church and state right now, because when people talk about the religious right, there’s two words that just married church and state pretty f***in’ quick didn’t they? And if you’re going to talk about a book burning, may I suggest that over the next little while, if you’re going to burn books, and for the most part I would never advocate burning books, because you know books are, when I read a book, even as bad as the book is, I’m that type of person that doesn’t throw books away, I’ve got books all over the place. Maybe someday I should throw books away, but I don’t throw them away. But there are a couple of ones that I would suggest burning. And you know what, it’s not even from an ideological perspective, like ‘oh well, burn stuff by Adolf Hitler,” no. Whatever. If you want to read that stuff, read that stuff. For some people the old politics of Nazi Germany might be their religion. And just as I can’t condemn other people’s religion, I can’t, I don’t agree with them, but you can’t stop somebody from believing in something. And to bash your head against the wall trying, it’s not their fault, it’s your fault. You’re the one who is pretty messed up if you’re going to devote your entire life to trying to convince somebody not to believe what they believe. So if you’re going to be burning books over the next little while, I suggest not burning books for a while…”

That sound like an effective defence to you?  Me neither.  It still sounds like a bloody fool who is wholly indifferent to Naziism, and who also thinks Mein Kampf is worth checking out.

Anyway. The issue now is Andrea Horwath.  Why would she not condemn her candidate’s remarks?  Why would she not discipline him?

Is it because she agrees with him?

UPDATE: Star: “Horwath twice evaded the question when asked if she would advise her candidates to steer clear of making any remarks about Nazis.”


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    Rick Telfer says:

    Nice try. All that he’s arguing, as I read it, is that he doesn’t believe in book-burning and that it’s virtually impossible to win an argument with a fanatic. You seem to have overlooked a key statement, here, Warren: “I don’t agree with them.”

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      Orleanser says:

      Exactly, Rick. Exactly.

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    James Bow says:

    This is a bizarre thing for any candidate to say, and I think Ms. Horwath is compounding this issue with her pushback. I don’t think it’s quite as offensive as you paint it, Warren, but it would certainly be enough to turn me off of voting for the candidate in particular, and the NDP in general if this story ends up getting played out further.

    My big issue with what Marco says is that I don’t think he gets the importance of speaking out against Nazi drek, here. I mean, I did a double-take at his reference of Nazism as a “religion” but, on reflection, he’s not that far wrong on that small point. And this isn’t an offence against other religions. There are good religions and bad religions (Satanism is a religion, for example), and religion and politics share similar characteristics that put both in the realm of philosophy. And he’s basically right when he says that Nazis are so fanatical, you aren’t going to convince them with mere words. And that’s just the same with the worst religious fundamentalists, like Fred Phelps and company. Shouting at them is like shouting at a brick wall. We’re not going to change their minds.

    But here’s where I part company with Marco: that’s not the reason why we’re shouting at them.

    The really offensive part of Marco’s quote is his suggestion that people who speak out against Nazis are somehow “messed up” (that is the correct quote, right?). A Nazi comes to my neighbourhood and says publicly that I or my neighbours are any less of a human being because of my grandparents’ mixed marriage or my neighbours’ religion, I damn well am going to say he’s wrong. I damn well going to tell him to leave and, if he doesn’t leave, I damn well am going to tell as many people as possible within shouting distance why the guy is (a) an idiot and (b) a hateful thug who should be ridiculed, shunned and scorned.

    If logic or angry rhetoric gets the guy to change his ways, so much the better, but my reaction’s not for the guy’s benefit. It’s not even for my benefit. it’s for the benefit of my children and neighbours who this guy is targeting with his hateful speech. When facing evil such as this, the worst thing you can do is turn away and say nothing, especially for those who might otherwise think they are suffering this guy’s attacks alone.

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      Orleanser says:

      He said we’re messed up if we waste all our time trying to convince the Nazis themselves to change THEIR minds. They are too stupid and/or mentally ill. All we can do is explain to everyone else how wrong those disgusting Nazis are. And – kick their dirty Nazi teeth in if they try to act on their beliefs. I’m a New Democrat I agree with that approach. After all, it was CCFers, not Liberals, who were literally laying lead pipes to the east toronto “Swastika Clubs” in the 1930s.

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        The Doctor says:

        Yeah, and it was CCFers who voted not to go to war against Hitler.

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          James Bow says:

          If I recall my history correctly, it was a single CCFer who opposed Canada’s entry into the Second World War: their leader J.S. Woodworth. And he did so not because he sympathized with Fascism, but because he was a devoted pacifist. The majority of his party could not support him, but he had to stand by his convictions. And Prime Minister Mackenzie King at the time said “There are few men in this Parliament for whom I have greater respect than the leader of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation. I admire him in my heart, because time and again he has had the courage to say what lays on his conscience, regardless of what the world might think of him. A man of that calibre is an ornament to any Parliament.”

          So, um, what were we talking about in regards of context? Nice drive-by swipe, here. Thanks for lowering the tone of the argument.

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            The Doctor says:

            If I was incorrect about the party as a whole, then my apologies for the error.

            I don’t really care WHY somebody voted not to go to war against Hitler. Fact is, they did. And left it up to others to die, so we could be free from fascism and totalitarianism. I have no time for pacifists. They just let other people die so they can live free. I see no honour in that.

            Fact is, the NDP is essentially a pacifist party. They blather on about the UN this, international law that, but the bottom line is they oppose virtually every offensive military operation period, including humanitarian interventions such as Kosovo.

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    TypicalNDP says:

    Warren this is typical outrageous commentary from the NDP. People I know keep saying this kind of behaviour is just in the fringe of their party and yet here again is another example of someone running for office with outrageous views.

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      The Doctor says:

      Well, the upside is that it does provide comic relief sometimes. Like when they nominate witches . . .

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    Jon Powers says:

    It doesn’t sound to me like he’s agreeing with Nazi’s, unless I’m missing something. He’s just defending anyones right to hold a set of beliefs, no matter how stupid or ill-informed.

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      Warren says:

      I see. And the part about him saying you’re “pretty messed up” if you oppose Naziism? That’s okay, too?

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        Orleanser says:

        He NEVER said it’s messed up to oppose Nazism – just to waste time trying to convince those evil Nazi rats to change their minds.

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          Michael S says:

          It’s pretty messed up to spend one’s life changing people’s minds? This from someone running for political office? Isn’t that, kinda, the point of politics?

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            Michael S says:

            Oh, I’ll give you an example of a changed mind: George Fucking Wallace, who renounced racism: Via the Wikipedia…

            “His final term as Governor (1983–1987) saw a record number of black appointments to government positions. Also in his final term, Wallace was the first governor to appoint two black members in the same cabinet, a number that has been equalled but never surpassed.”

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            The Doctor says:

            That’s very interesting about George Wallace. I didn’t know about that late phase of his career and life. He was clearly not a good man prior to that.

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            Michael S says:

            George had a black gospel choir sing at his funeral. He was persuaded, because people tried. The Southern Poverty Law Center does that. Bernie Farber does that. It’s a good thing.

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        Jon Powers says:

        No. The right to have a stupid belief does not mean that others should not oppose or argue against it. But, I think this guy should be given the chance to clarify his remarks before we judge. Look, I’m never voting NDP. I’m a conservative. And I hate Nazis. But I believe in free speech, from the bottom of my heart. This guy’s rambling seems quite incoherent. He needs to make things clear, and right away. If all he is saying is that we need to protect all speech, no matter how repugnant, than bravo. If he is saying that we shouldn’t be criticizing Nazi’s because it is a religion or something, then he is a grade ‘a’ douchebag who doesn’t understand what free speech is all about. But, he has a right to say it. The NDP also has a right to fire his ass for being douchebag. We shall see how this turns out.

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    DL says:

    I agree with the guy and some of my ancestors were killed in the Holocaust. I abhor Nazism/fascism and I also abhor book burning. I also agree that there are people in the world who are hard core Nazi sympathizers and racists in the world and that there is probably little chance of changing their minds. There is nothing this guy is saying that i have any problem with.

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      Warren says:

      Well, then shame on you.

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        Chris says:

        I agree with Warren – is the alternative to just let them spew garbage unfettered, because “there is probably little chance of changing their minds”?

        Reminds me of almost every time I’m at the cottage with the inlaws. Invariably somebody will throw plastic/styrofoam garbage on a campfire. They are unlikely to stop doing so, but I point out the problems with what they are doing every. single. time.

        We can never stop standing up for what we believe in – the instant we become complacent or defeatist is the instant we have lost the battle.

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      Ted says:

      “For some people the old politics of Nazi Germany might be their religion. And just as I can’t condemn other people’s religion, I can’t,”

      Nothing at all, eh?

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    Sam Gunsch says:

    If I was a voter in this candidate’s riding, I’d want to know he said this, and about his own views on Nazism? I’d want to know if he really is suggesting we look the other way?

    And now Horwath objects to scrutiny and criticism of her candidate’s views… my, my. Seems to me that’s how we allow the growth of cultures of ignorance and worse in our midst.

    To not speak out, to not challenge any defense of Nazism or any other sick ideology is to refuse our obligations as responsible individuals to our civilization, to society, to our community.

    To anyone who says ‘smear’ or not justified to raise this now? OK…Just when should candidates be challenged about their political views on matters like Nazism, or about citizens’ obligations to in a democracy? Wait until after he is elected?

    Unlike the candidate in question, I expect most Canadians agree with this German leader advising about political confrontation of neo-Nazis, and old Nazis, ( excerpt is from The Collapse of Globalism(2005) by John Ralston Saul.)

    “In Germany there are over a thousand anti-Semitic attacks and incidents each year. Chancellor Gerhardt Schroder used the sixtieth anniversary in 2005 of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau to try to wake people up to the dangers and to speak about the continuing life anti-Semitism: ‘It is up to all of us, together, to politically confront the neo-Nazis and the old Nazis.’ A few weeks before, the neo-Nazi party had won seats in the assembly of Saxony.
    None of this is to say that Nazism or fascism is on the edge of gaining power in the West. Far from it. But the societal atmosphere surrounding their arguments has radically changed. And it has changed on a broad front regarding people who aren’t of the same colour or religion. Many mainstream political parties have adjusted their policies to occupy, for example, the anti-immigrant political space of the negative nationalist parties.” page 249, in John Ralston Saul, The Collapse of Globalism, Chapter 25, Negative Nationalism.

    NOTE: Saul is here referring mostly to European political parties and he provides examples starting in the mid- to late 1990’s in Italy, Austria and France that included ex-fascists in their leadership or played to racism.

    Sam Gunsch

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    TheBigTyrk says:

    I’m glad you finally recognized the true left in many of her members, Warren. Bringing it up to the larger stage, you must now realize the dangers in the great fiasco a merging of Libs/NDP WOULD create. Please re-analyze your support of that possibility, Warren, it is fraught with dangerous repercussions to Canadian values.

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      Warren says:

      There have been Holocaust minimizers in every party, over the years. But, whenever they come to light, the parties (including Manning’s Reform, BTW) kicked them out.

      Here, Andrea Horwath angrily – and I mean angrily – defended a fool who says you are “pretty messed up” if you are opposing the “religion” of National Socialism.

      Nobody candidates come and go. But I had expected better of Horwath, I think.

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        TheBigTyrk says:

        Ahhhhh but Warren, surely you realize true socialists (of whom there are a high percentage in all NDP levels) have many, many ideals most Canadians vehemently oppose. It is the proverbial tip of the iceberg. Please remember this as you amuse yourself concerning a merger with such people, they WILL take over; history is a wonderful teacher!

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          smelter rat says:

          I’m a lot more opposed to what the “true corporatists” of our current Reformacon party believe.

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    Ottawacon says:

    At the end of the day, most NDP supporters are moral relativists of one form or another

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    Patrick Deberg says:

    Let me go out on a limb here.

    This is a guy that thinks you can’t change Nazi’s. He’s wrong. And it’s not “allright” to hold views that would inflict grevious hurt on another person. And that’s what were talking about here. Not “freedom of expression” or a free press.
    It’s a poision that will infect others if left unchecked. That’s why it HAS to be challanged at every step or utterance. If someone says ” I hate fags” The next week someone gets thrown off a bridge to his death. In Rwanda the word “cockroach” was bandied about and then hundreds of thousands were hacked to death. By people you thought meant you no harm. That’s why this back off government crowd are so troublesome. They think they have a God given right to hate anything different. So they cut brake lines and draw crosshairs on signs thinking their clever until some anders freak mows down kids with a semi auto. They them cry they had nothing to do with anything. They lack the honesty to admit they themselves are the ones stoking fires they can’t put out and rather like the colours. The world is one hell of an angry place right now and ontario is an example of some of the polarization that is working to turn the province into a war zone. The truth of the matter is that angry old white men are first with the matches to ignite a fire because of some perceived injustice that does not exist. The culture war is a fabrication by those to lazy to think of what they really mean. No one has been stealing Christmas like the brain dead talk radio hosts like to drag out when it suits them. It’s rather the snuffing out of the words of Jesus Christ so they mean something alien to what the season is about. It’s a fabrication to justify an ugly, ugly interior. That’s why some one would threaten an eighty year old woman in her home. The same guy that thinks the muslims are “stealing ” their culture. and goes to church out of duty and nostalgia, not dedication and commitment. I hope those that fight publicly to expose this bullshit continue to try. Good on you Warren. The mark of a true Irish warrior was someone who could make love in the morning, write a poem in the afternoon and cut the head off his enemy that night before retiring to play the harp before bed. I’ll raise a glass to you.

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    Brendan O'Farrell says:

    Warren, it is right to criticize Marco for his strange comments but it is too much to suggest Andrea Horwath and the NDP agree with those strange comments. Horwath and the NDP obviously do not believe agree with those strange comments. I am a Liberal myself and Horwath should get him to fully retract the comments fully but suggestions that she or the NDP have ever had similar musings is going too far.

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    Skinny Dipper says:

    From the Toronto Star: “The context was simple. He tried to condone Nazism. He tried to suggest it was just like any other faith tradition,” Farber, the Liberal candidate for Thornhill and former CEO of the Canadian Jewish Congress, told the Toronto Star Tuesday.

    First, I see that Bernie Farber is using his favourite word again, “context.” He used it when he fought against the book “Three Wishes: Palestinian and Israeli Children Speak” by Deborah Ellis. When someone uses the word “context,” I translate that as meaning “Not according to my point of view.”

    The NDP candidate did commit a faux-pas in Canadian politics–don’t talk about Nazis or naziism. Yes, he did talk about Nazi sympathizers and naziism as a religion. I have no problem with naziism being referred as a religion with a set of rules or beliefs and a larger-than-life leader, Adolf Hiter. Naziism of the 1930’s and 40’s may have not been a spiritual religion like Christianity and Judaism. It was (and for some still is) a belief system.

    From what I have read in this posting by Warren and in the Toronto Star, I don’t believe that the NDP candidate mentioned that one should not criticize naziism. He mentioned that it may be futile do debate someone about their belief system if that person refuses to budge.

    Warren, I will respectfully disagree with your insinuation about reading “Mein Kampf.” Years ago when I went to university, my first year Political Science professor had the class reading “The Communist Manifesto.” I don’t think I had the impression that he wanted us to become commies. Then again, UWO wasn’t a hotbed of marxist thought. He just wanted us to be exposed to other political thoughts and opinions. Today, I would encourage those who are interested to read “Mein Kampf,” and scour the internet for the North Korean Press Agency, Jerusalem Post, Haaretz, Al Jazeera, the BBC, and some paper called the Toronto Sun. I do hope that people will be exposed to what others think.


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    Walker says:

    Rick Telfer’s legs must hurt from all those backflips. Just get over it Ricky boy….your guy screwed up. Fire him or admit you let such elements roam wild in your party.

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    mike says:

    I know Anthony. Not in a come to my house and have a drink way, but I know him. He’s a fairly decent human being. I think his statements on this topic are late night ramblings. If he were speaking well, and he can, I think his point would come across better; Nazi’s suck, but they won’t listen to reason…so don’t waste your time…just oppose them…..that’s what I hope his point was. I’ll ask him when I see him next.
    I’m against any sort of belief that minimizes the value of any human being for any reason. You might be a nutcase Hudak supporter but I support your right to exist. I don’t support anyone’s belief that anyone is less a human being for their race, color, creed, or ad infinitum of things. I wholeheartedly oppose any creed or belief system that diminishes your humanity or mine. I think Anthony would agree with that.

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    Sam Gunsch says:


    Anthony Marco says: “And just as I can’t condemn other people’s religion, I can’t,”

    Marco chose to characterize Nazism as a religion. And he explicitly says he can’t condemn other people’s religion. And he says if anyone tries persistently to challenge someone about supporting the religion of Nazism, then they are ‘messed up.’

    So I think I made a fair characterization of Marco’s comments when I said: “I’d want to know if he really is suggesting we look the other way? ”
    What other interpretation is reasonable?

    How about this, Rick, if you think ‘look the other way’ is not accurate…
    would Marco’s comments amount to saying,
    1) “Oh well, we’ll just have to agree to disagree.”
    2) “Live and let live”
    3) “Everyone has a right to their view”

    All of these implying in my view that somehow Marco thinks it’s healthy for society for citizens to be passive and not confront anti-Semitism or Nazism or racism when we hear it or read it?

    Marco can easily clear this up by saying something like:
    1) I (Marco) meant only that no one should waste their time talking directly to neo-Nazis or old gray-haired Nazis…but I do in fact condemn the religion of Nazism. And citizens of this democracy are not ‘messed up’ if they choose to speak out and condemn any defense of Nazism or anyone who believes in this Nazi religion.

    2) Rick…fill in something here for Marco if you like…

    3.) Rick… what would you say in response to the German Chancellor who said neo-Nazis and old-Nazis must be confronted? Was he wrong to say that to his fellow Germans? Why would Marco be right to say the opposite here in Canada?

    Isn’t it that the case that in democracy, we citizens have an obligation to speak out and defend our society from sick ideologies, against prejudice, against racism and so on?

    And if someone wants to be an elected representative of the citizenry as a whole, I expect them to show leadership, including the persistence to challenge and criticize and if necessary condemn as needed.

    Sam Gunsch

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