Categories for Feature

Farber: the Premier must denounce this white supremacist, clearly

From my brother of another mother, Bernie Farber, in the Star:

It was Doug Ford’s “Trump moment.” We all remember the day after the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville and the murder of anti-racist protester Heather Heyer allegedly by a neo-Nazi. Trump insisted that there were “good people” on both sides.

Doug Ford may have done Trump one better. On Saturday, Faith Goldy, in the race for Toronto mayor, well-known for embracing and supporting white supremacist views, turned up at the Ford Fest BBQ in Vaughan. Following a photo-op with the premier, a scandal ensued as Ford refused to renounce Goldy, her white nationalist views and support to neo-Nazis when asked to do so in the legislature by the NDP.

Goldy is well-known to Ford. She was a colleague of the premier’s when they both appeared on SUN News panels. He was also interviewed by Goldy before she was fired from the ultra-right Rebel Media for her support of neo-Nazis in Charlottesville.

Goldy has a short but sordid history with white nationalist extremism. She didn’t start out that way. Articulate and engaging, Goldy was a devout Christian and a graduate of Trinity College at the University of Toronto. At Trinity, she received a Gordon Cressy Student Leadership Award recognizing outstanding extra-curricular contributions to the school.

From there Goldy took a sharp turn to the right. In 2015, Goldy was a co-host of a live public affairs program for Zoomer Media. I was asked to participate in a discussion on the Syrian refugee crisis. At first congenial and warm, Goldy turned right before my eyes into an anti-immigrant loudmouth hardly disguising her animus, permitting raucous racist comments from the partisan crowd.

Shortly thereafter, Goldy began her stint with Rebel Media. It seems that the influence of commentators there who engaged in anti-Semitic, racist and Islamophobic rhetoric helped turn her mind. And it was from her perch at Rebel Media that Goldy went fully into the nightmare world of white supremacy.

Warren Kinsella, author of the Web of Hate and a recognized expert on Canadian hate groups had this to say about Goldy’s experience in Charlottesville:

“The breaking point came in Charlottesville, which she was sent to cover for Ezra’s online lunatic asylum, where she’d be seen doing a stand-up not far from the woman who was mowed down by a white supremacist. That terrible week, Faith appeared on the pro-Nazi Daily Stormer, opining that there was a need for a rise in “white racial consciousness.” She also proclaimed that National Socialist types have “robust” and “well-thought-out” ideas on “the Jewish question.” Levant, a Jew and no anti-Semite himself, finally fired her.”

From that point on, her descent was rapid. She began to appear on white supremacist media sites where she recited the infamous “14 words.” (We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.) It is the credo of white supremacy evolved by David Lane, leader of the neo-Nazi terrorist group “The Order.” Lane was convicted and sentenced for violating the civil rights of Alan Berg, then a Jewish talk show host who was murdered in June 1984. Three members of “The Order” shot Berg in his driveway. Lane drove the get-away car.

Goldy’s meteoric rise in the far right continued. Appearing on a far- right television program, Goldy hyped the anti-Semitic tome For My Legionaries. Written in the 1930s, the renowned Southern Poverty Law Center describes it as “the canonical works of global fascism.” It advocated the genocide of Jews even before Hitler enacted the Holocaust. Goldy described it as “very, very, very, very spot on. . .”

David Duke, infamous former Grand Wizard of the KKK, tweeted out her messages that included such gems as “the future is far right.”

Ford has condemned hate speech but refuses to renounce Goldy by name and her associations. His words do not live up to his actions. Canadians still expect decency and leadership from those we put in office. Ford can still make this right, but not until he fully dissociates himself from those like Faith Goldy and their vile ideas.

Bernie M. Farber is chair of the Canadian Anti-Hate Network.

 


Column: the curse of the notwithstanding clause

Defeat, in politics, is almost always preceded by some sort of an overreaction.

You know: Paul Martin, desperate to avoid defeat in the 2006 federal election, declares that he will take away the federal government’s ability to use the notwithstanding clause.  Didn’t work. He lost.

The Grant Devine government in Saskatchewan used it in 1986, desperate to ensure some public sector workers were forced back to work.  His government was subsequently defeated, and a bunch of his MLAs and staffers later served time for expense account fraud, too. For good measure, the federal Conservatives wouldn’t even let Devine run for them.

Ralph Klein, desperate to keep social conservative knuckle-draggers happy, mused about using the notwithstanding clause back in 2005, to prevent same-sex couples from getting married.  A few years earlier, in 1998, he wheezed that he’d also use section 33 of the Constitution to prevent compensation for thousands of innocents who had been subjected to forced sterilization by Alberta’s government between 1927 and 1972.

He didn’t, though, in either case.  Klein’s willingness to use brute constitutional force against gay people who love each other – and against people who had been sterilized simply because they had disabilities – will follow his name throughout time, like a foul curse.

Quebec, however, wasn’t nearly as shy as Ralph Klein.  From 1982 to 1987, in fact, the separatist Parti Quebecois government actually inserted the wording of the notwithstanding clause into every single piece of legislation it passed – so desperate were they to prevent any of their laws from being challenged in court. That all was a bit too reminiscent of a certain European nation in the 1930s, so the PQ was sent packing in 1987, and the practice stopped by the Québec Liberals.

In 1988, however, the Quebec Liberals were eventually desperate, too. So they invoked the clause to prevent people from putting English words on signs.  They got condemned by the United Nations for that, so the Robert Bourassa Liberals rewrote their anti-English law to make it somehow conform with the Charter of Rights.  Bourassa went on to quit politics, and his successor got wiped out by the PQ after just a few months in power.

See the threads weaving through all of that?  See that? Desperation, and the notwithstanding clause.  In Canada, the two go hand-in-hand: desperate politicians use the notwithstanding clause – or say they’re going to, or simply start talking about it – and then they pay a steep, steep price.

The Ontario Progressive Conservative government didn’t end up using section 33. But, so desperate were they to winnow down a municipal council by a few puny seats, they said they would if they had to.

Asked for some justification, the Ontario PCs went on and on about how judges are appointed, and how politicians aren’t. (Forgetting, apparently, that it is the politicians who do the judicial appointing, up here in Canada.)

But logic is irrelevant, among the desperate. No one knew why they were so desperate, really – would it have killed them to wait a little bit, and pass their law when an election wasn’t already underway? – but desperate they were.

So: they were condemned by one of the authors of the Constitution, Jean Chretien. They were condemned by Brian Mulroney – a fellow Conservative who (like Kim Campbell, like Stephen Harper) never, ever used the notwithstanding clause. They were condemned by another Ontario Progressive Premier, the much-revered Bill Davis.

Most notably, they were condemned by the people. Across Toronto, across Ontario, across Canada: people were mad at the Ontario Tories. The polls showed it. Whatever honeymoon the weeks-old Ontario PC government was enjoying was effectively obliterated by the constitution desperation.

Does the same fate await them that befell the others? Will they carry the notwithstanding curse to the political graveyard?

Who knows. Time will tell.

But their stated willingness to use a constitutional nuclear bomb – and their sheer desperation – will not be forgotten anytime soon.

It shouldn’t be.


Who is Faith Goldy? (updated)

Good question. I remember her.

She’s tallish, slouching near the doors at Sun News Network, chain-smoking.  Smirking

“Troll with a tan,” someone at the erstwhile network said about her. Uncharitably, but not inaccurately.  That indeed seemed to be the whole package: a suspiciously deep, orange-ish tan, and the sleeveless Fox News mien.  That’s it.

When she first appeared on Sun News, they’d hand her a microphone and tell her to go stand somewhere and pretend to be a reporter.  She’d slap on fake eyelashes the size of bats – and then she’d fire off words and sentences like a speed freak running an auction.  She was terrible.

In time, she’d slow down her delivery, reveal a bit more décolletage, and start sharing her views on-air.  Around the ill-fated right-wing network, it was pretty difficult to sound extreme: for many, fanaticism was the lingua franca.  But Faith Goldy – with figurative snakes slithering thorough her veins, and a clutch of metaphoric maggots in the spot where a heart should be – sounded extreme even to the extremists.

When Sun News slipped beneath the waves, however, no one was surprised to see her clutching at Ezra Levant’s dinghy, the S.S. Rebel.  The rightist trolls – living in their mom’s basement, pawing at their tiny gonads through their Avengers jammies as they eyeballed Faith’s clips on a continuous loop – loved her.  They positively ached for her. Faith was the one they wanted to marry, at a ceremony with lots of Wagner’s Rienzi, Die Meistersinger playing, and possibly an officiant from the Aryan Nations compound in Hayden Lake.

But even as the rebels sought to curry favour with the so-called alt-Right, publishing columns titled “Ten Things I Hate About Jews” and doubting the Holocaust in commentaries, Faith Goldy went further.  She was more of a race-and-religion rebel than anyone at the Rebel.

The breaking point came in Charlottesville, which she was sent to cover for Ezra’s online lunatic asylum – where she’d be seen doing a stand-up not far from the woman who was mowed down by a white supremacist.  That terrible week, Faith appeared on the pro-Nazi Daily Stormer, opining that there was a need for a rise in “white racial consciousness.”  She also proclaimed that National Socialist types have “robust” and “well-thought-out” ideas on “the Jewish question.”  Levant, a Jew and no anti-Semite himself, finally fired her.

After that, Faith abandoned all pretense of restraint.  She was fully alone, piloting in dark, dark waters.

She started reciting The Fourteen Words, the credo of neo-Nazi terrorists in the Order – “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.”  She went on someone’s show to promote a book about “the Jewish menace” – a book which calls for “putting an end to their unnatural, parasitic existence.”  She advocated for pedophile Milos Yiannopoulos, simply because she was encouraged by his brand of foul racism.  She tweeted “the future is Far Right.”  David Duke, the former Grand Wizard of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, took notice and commenced cheerily retweeting her stuff.  So did other lowlifes.

So, is Faith Goldy a neo-Nazi?  Who knows.  She certainly counts many Hitlerites among her friends and followers, doesn’t she?

Which naturally leads us to another question, one more relevant:  is Faith Goldy someone with whom Canadian political leaders should ever be seen?

No. No, they sure as shit shouldn’t.

UPDATE: I am reliably told the Premier was not aware of the sorts of things I outline above. I am also told this will never happen again.


Canadian Jewish News on our efforts to stamp out hate

Here:

An anti-racism group called Standing Together Against Mailing Prejudice (STAMP) says that it is doing everything in its power to stop the publication of Your Ward News, a neo-Nazi publication that’s once again being delivered to many Toronto households, including taking legal action.

Spearheaded by Lisa Kinsella and her husband, Warren, STAMP was formed two and a half years ago, when the Kinsellas were made aware that Your Ward News was being delivered in their neighbourhood.

“When Your Ward News started to be delivered in our neighbourhood, because their so-called headquarters are a short distance from our home, we started to oppose it,” said Warren Kinsella. “We’ve continued to push against and to fight Your Ward News.”

In a Sept. 13 press release, STAMP outlined the current legal cases against the publication’s editor, James Sears, and publisher, Leroy St. Germaine, many of which were initiated by STAMP, B’nai Brith and other groups.

In November, the pair were charged with promoting hatred against Jews and women. It was the first time a charge of promoting hatred against women had ever been laid in Canadian history.

“Lisa pushed hard for that charge to be laid,” said Warren Kinsella, adding that with all of these lawsuits, they are hoping to bankrupt Sears and St. Germaine.

READ: EDITOR, PUBLISHER OF YOUR WARD NEWS CHARGED WITH PROMOTING HATE

Next month, the two will appear in court on the charge of uttering death threats against at the Kinsellas.

“The court agreed that there was a case there to be pursued and that’s the next fight we’ve got with these creeps,” said Warren Kinsella. “So we’re hopeful we’re going to be successful there.”

Last year, STAMP successfully lobbied for Canada Post to stop delivering Your Ward News.

“When the publication first started showing up a few years ago, I thought it was odd, considering it was billing itself as being news about the ward that I lived in,” said Rob Johnston, a resident of one of the neighbourhoods that’s been receiving the paper.

“It certainly didn’t feel, or appear to me, like news, but more opinion and personal-attack focused. It was all about hate. It was being shoved in our faces.”


“Save your pretty words”

“This was your moment to do [acknowledge the victims]. To speak to that issue by acknowledging the apology, the findings of the investigation and then to speak to your decision. You did none of that. You played politics with our experiences.

Save your pretty words until they can be backed up by action and stop saying you support survivors when you can’t even be bothered to acknowledge them. Because it’s 2018.”

Wow.

Read my friend Kristin’s thread, here.

She’s got guts.


Keesmaat wants debates that exclude others – and that aren’t diverse. That’s wrong. Here’s why.

A few days ago, John Tory put out a press release laying out what he wants to see in the Toronto mayoral debates.  Given all the crap that is going on, with notwithstanding clauses and protests and grandmothers being handcuffed and whatnot, it didn’t get a lot of attention.  It should have.

Tory laid out some of the things he wants to see in the debates in which he will participate.  They are:

  • He’s not showing up if organizers permit white supremacists like Faith Goldy and James Sears to participate
  • He wants to have some of the other credible mayoral candidates present – even those who have been strong critics of him
  • He wants the debates to be as diverse as the city itself, and not just a couple caucasians participating

Jennifer Keesmaat hasn’t insisted on the same sorts of things, to my knowledge.  She wants to exclude other candidates, for example.  That’s wrong.

Yesterday, John Tory got asked about all of this stuff.  What he said is significant [and I’ve edited it for brevity]:

Discussions about debates are taking place [with] my campaign. We have issued, as a campaign, a series of criteria that are fair – and that should apply to all debates. I will not debate in the presence of a couple of candidates that have openly and consistently advocated racism, and white supremacist views.  That has no place in the city, let alone in the debate for the mayoralty.  The second thing that I have said – in light of the fact there are some 35 candidates, I think, running for mayor – these debate organizers should make more of an effort to make sure that that other people are represented.

I’m quite willing to debate. And I look forward to debating. But I believe that having just two [candidates] is not reflective of the fact that other people have spent a lot of time and effort to campaign in good faith. The debate organizers should be making an effort to make sure that some of those people should be represented in the debates that we have. And I am pleased to say that a number of the debate organizers have agreed with that, and I have confirmed my participation in these debates.  

This is another reason why I’m supporting Tory: he isn’t afraid of critics or criticism. And: he won’t give legitimacy, in any way, to bigotry. And: he wants the mayoral campaign to be as multicultural as Toronto is.

Like I say, he’s a good guy. If you live here in the Centre of the Universe™, you should vote for him.


Column: notwithstanding this, notwithstanding that

Show of hands: how many of you expected the Ontario government to lose the constitutional challenge of its Bill 5, which aimed to reduce the size of Toronto’s city council?

No one?

Exactly. No one – no one who has been paying attention, at least – expected Doug Ford’s government to lose.

Municipalities are creatures of provincial legislatures, as we lawyers like to say. Provinces can do anything they want to municipalities – even legislate them out of existence.

But Ford lost. In a scathing decision, Justice Edward Belobaba concluded that the newly-minted Ontario government had violated the Charter of Rights and Freedoms with their bill. Specifically, the free speech rights of those seeking a seat on city council.

So, chagrined and chastened, Ford and his government decided to invoke section 33 of the Constitution to override Belobaba’s decision. The non abstante provision. The notwithstanding clause.

What does it all mean? Nothing. It means we are precisely at the point we all expected to be at: with a smaller city council here in the centre of the universe.

The only difference, in fact, is this: Doug Ford decided to avail himself of the notwithstanding clause, something the Constitution explicitly permits him to do.

Section 33 was not conjured up by a Québec separatist, either. It was mostly the invention of Alberta PC cabinet minister Merv Leitch. He suggested it to Alberta Premier Peter Lougheed, who in turn suggested it to Pierre Trudeau, Jean Chretien, Roy McMurtry and Roy Romanov.

None of them liked it. But they all went along with it. Tories, Grits, Dippers. Everyone was in on it.

So, now we are all where we expected to be: with a Toronto city council that is smaller – and which needed to smaller, in my opinion. The only difference is that a little-used part of the Constitution has been once again used. That’s the honest truth.

And, let’s be honest about something else, too. Not many folks can spell “notwithstanding clause,” let alone feign interest in it. To most normal folks, it is just another case of politicians being preoccupied only with themselves.

And that, to me, is Doug Ford’s biggest problem. Not that he overturned a court decision everyone expected him to win. Not that he used a constitutional provision no one knows about. Not any of that.

No, Doug Ford’s big problem is this: he has done the thing that Canadian voters most dislike – he has put the Constitution back on the agenda. He has sent the constitutional cottage industry into overdrive. He has gotten us talking about the thing that most often divide us. That brings out the worst in us.

Trust me, here. I was privileged and honoured to work for the greatest politician this country has ever seen, Jean Chretien. He didn’t lose a single election in 40 years. He did that, mainly, by saying this: “Vote for me, and we won’t talk about the Constitution.”

Whenever the Constitution would be raised by some politician seeking more power, Chretien would be dispatched to wrestle it back into its cage, like a lion tamer. Canadians loved him for it. (I sure did.)

So: Doug Ford’s mistake wasn’t in overturning a court decision everyone expected him to win. Doug Ford’s mistake wasn’t in pissing off some New Democrat political welfare cases, who (predictably) didn’t want to lose their council seats.

Doug Ford’s mistake wasn’t even invoking section 33, really. Not even that.

No, his mistake was in rousing the Canadian constitutional beast. The beast is now awake, and it is out of its cage, and it is going to start consuming everything in sight. As it always does.

Hands up, anybody who thinks it was a good idea to start talking about the Constitution again.

Didn’t think so.


CBC: “Your Ward News is back, but community group still fighting to ban hate rag”

Lisa Kinsella, managing partner of The Daisy Group and one of the founding members of Standing Together Against Mailing Prejudice. The group vows do everything it can to sop the publishers of Your Ward News from delivering copies to people’s mailboxes. (CBC)

CBC – A group called Standing Together Against Mailing Prejudice (STAMP) says it will do everything it can to stop the publishers of a controversial newspaper, after it began appearing again this month in east-end Toronto mailboxes.

Your Ward News publishes once a season and bills itself as the “world’s largest anti-Marxist publication.” But it’s been widely criticized as a purveyor of hate speech against women, as well as Jews, the LGBT community and other minorities. Its editor and publisher both face charges of wilfully promoting hatred.

“[It’s] this kind of explosive hate rag that’s filled with anti-homophobic statements. It’s anti-women, it’s anti-Semitic,” said Lisa Kinsella, managing partner of The Daisy Group and one of the founding members of STAMP.

“It’s just this vile piece of hate that keeps showing up in our mailboxes every once in a while and we are going to do everything we can stop that from happening.”

The newspaper is the brainchild of editor-in-chief James Sears, who has presented himself in the past as pick-up artist Dmitri The Lover and had his licence to practise medicine revoked after pleading guilty to sexually assaulting patients.

“Sears, St. Germaine and Your Ward News can run, but they can’t hide,” Kinsella said. 

“We will use every legal means at our disposal — civil, criminal and administrative — to shut them down, and get this disgusting hate out of our communities,” she added. 

We want to assure everyone who is getting this garbage dumped in their mailbox, we are not going to stop fighting, we are not going to give up.  We will not rest until Your Ward News is no more.”

 

Full story here.