Bernier and his infamous neo-Nazi friend

Paul Fromm is perhaps the leading Canadian far Right leader. Fromm has decades of involvement with the Canadian organized hate movement, from the Edmund Burke Society to the Western Guard to the Heritage Front to a myriad number of white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups. The Southern Poverty Law Centre tells us this:

From 1974 until 1997, Fromm served as a public school teacher with the Peel Region Board of Education. He was fired from his position after speaking at several Heritage Front events, one of which fell on Hitler’s birthday. A video of the December 9, 1990, event captured Fromm, in front of a Nazi flag, speaking to a crowd shouting “Sieg Heil!,” “white power,” “Hail The Order!,” and “nigger, nigger, nigger, out out out,” while performing the Nazi salute. He also hailed John Ross Taylor, a Canadian fascist, as a “hero.”

I wrote extensively about Fromm in my book Web of Hate, too. In one chapter, I detailed how Fromm participated in an extraordinary 1990 rally to memorialize neo-Nazi terrorist and murderer Bob Matthews, the founder of The Order. As Fromm paid tribute to Matthews, dozens of neo-Nazi skinheads applauded and gave fascist salutes.  Fromm’s support for white supremacy and neo-Naziism has increased in the intervening years.

And now, Fromm has a new friend. Here he is with Maxime Bernier, the leader of the alt-Right White People’s Party.

Bernier has now been photographed with the bigoted Proud Boys, with the far-right Northern Guard flashing the white power symbol, his candidates with the neo-Nazi Soldiers of Odin. And now he has fully crossed the Rubicon, and he is consorting with the undisputed leader of Canada’s white supremacist movement.

In his words, and his deeds, Maxime Bernier has shown us who he is.  We need to start believing him.


David Caplan, RIP

I am in the Yukon but was shocked to hear about the passing last night of my friend David Caplan. He was a genial, thoughtful man, and a great minister. My deepest condolences to his family, who are equally amazing people.


Yukon ho! Free Warren travel tweet thread


My latest: Butts, back, big bother

Kick me.

Here’s a little-known fact: The “kick me” sign — which is usually affixed to some hapless soul’s back or behind, for laughs — was apparently devised by merry-making Scots during the 16th Century.

They did it to celebrate April Fool’s. “Kick me” thereafter became so popular, it spread to the British Isles and then rest of the world.

And so, this week, the Liberal Party of Canada stuck a “kick me” sign to its collective keester, and invited all of us to do precisely that.

The occasion? Not April Fool’s, although it certainly felt like it could be. No, the “kick me” moment heralded the inauspicious return of Justin Trudeau’s former principal secretary, and his forever-BFF, Gerald Butts.

Butts showed up for some Liberal campaign meeting. People noticed.

Yes, that Gerald Butts. He of the SNC-Lavalin meta-scandal — the one who helped propel #LavScam into hashtag hagiography.

He — the one who told us a million times that he’s a coal miner’s son. Him, the one who also told the chief of staff to the Attorney-General of Canada that Trudeau’s cabal wanted to short-circuit the criminal prosecution of SNC-Lavalin, a Liberal Party donor.

Him, “Gerry,” who famously said of interfering in the coming corruption trial of SNC-Lavalin that “there is no solution here that does not involve some interference.”

Him. Gerald Butts. He’s back.

Now, before everyone starts reaching for the smelling salts, there is a passable pretext to justify the return of Butts. For one thing, he’s smarter than all of PMO put together. And, the wheels started to come off PMO the moment Butts left.

The Liberal Party commenced sliding precipitously in the polls. Patronage scandals sprouted up like weeds. And, of course, there was this stirring bit of oratory, which ranks up there with the Gettysburg Address: “We have recently switched to drinking water bottles out of water, when we have water bottles out of a plastic sorry away from plastic towards paper-like drink-box, water-bottle sorta things.”

So, on the one hand, it makes a bit of sense that Butts is back. But, on the other, it doesn’t at all.

Two reasons.

One, Butts — fairly or not — became the face of LavScam. And not in a good way. Former ministers Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott came to embody decency, honesty and a belief in the independence of our prosecutorial system.

Butts, meanwhile, came to be seen as a guy who may have done something wrong. Why would he have resigned if that were not so?

LavScam hammered the Liberal Party in public opinion. It shredded Justin Trudeau’s promise of sunny ways. And it left his oft-made claims to be a feminist — to be the indigenous reconciler, to be the guy who’d bring back ethical government — in tatters after he expelled Wilson-Raybould and Philpott for having the temerity to speak up for the rule of law.

There’s a second reason why Gerald Butts’ return is dumb, dumb, dumb. And it’s that hoary old chestnut, Liberal arrogance.

“Liberal arrogance” has recurred so many times in Canadian politics, it practically deserves its own entry in Mel Hurtig’s Canadian Encyclopedia series. Liberal arrogance — that Grit belief that they alone know what is best for Canada, and are in fact synonymous with all that is good in Canada — is deadly.

Liberal arrogance has felled many a Liberal government. It is the greatest Grit weakness. And the return of Gerald Butts signals its unfortunate return, in marquee lights.

Butts is back. LavScam is back. Liberal arrogance is back.

Kick them: they deserve it.