“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” said the early twentieth century Spanish-American philosopher George Santayana. There is a popular aphorism that says “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” While the meaning of the high-brow remark is not exactly the same as that of the low-brow saying the two are complementary and both happen to apply to what I am about to discuss.
The Winnipeg Free Press, which some people still think is a real newspaper for some reason, made the same story its front page headline every day from Monday to Friday last week. While the story was presented under the guise of investigative journalism it seems to me that agitprop would be a better term for it. It is all about how a local member of the Canadian Armed Forces Reserves has been purportedly recruiting for some neo-Nazi organization called “the Base.” I won’t bore you with the details as I doubt whether a word of them ought to be believed by anyone who isn’t a gullible fool.
Why the extreme skepticism, you may ask?
Speaking for myself, the fact that it was the Winnipeg Free Press that was doing the “reporting” is more than sufficient grounds for skepticism. In my opinion that rag is little more than a Liberal Party disinformation sheet and has been ever since the days – 1901 to 1944 – when it was edited by John Wesley Dafoe. This particular story, however, would have been ringing alarm bells even if a newspaper with an as-of-yet unimpeached record for journalistic integrity could be found somewhere on the planet and had been the one to break the story. Allow me to explain why.
How many of you remember the Heritage Front?
I suspect that name will be familiar to most Canadians who were old enough and attentive enough to have been following the news in the late 1980s and early 1990s. There is a good chance they will also remember the organization’s front man, Wolfgang Droege, a man who was depicted as being pretty much the in-flesh personification of all the images and associations that the words “neo-Nazi” are intended to conjure up. Droege and the Heritage Front received an awful lot of airtime on the news, back then, because the media was trying to scare us into thinking that there was an imminent danger of a Fourth Reich being erected on Canadian soil.
How many of you who remember the Heritage Front also remember the name Grant Bristow?
Here I suspect the number will be far fewer, although he too was in the media spotlight for a brief period of time. Bristow was the man behind Droege – the co-founder, organizer, and security chief of the organization. He was also an undercover agent of the Canadian Security and Intelligence Services or CSIS which, ever since it took over the role from the RCMP in 1984, has aspired to perform for Her Majesty’s government in Ottawa the same services which both MI6 and MI5 perform for Her Majesty’s government in London. Bristow’s activities in the Heritage Front and his involvement with CSIS were both exposed by the Toronto Sun in 1994.
So why was a government spook one of the top officers of what was believed to be a neo-Nazi organization?
The facts can be interpreted one of two ways. The first explanation is that CSIS had infiltrated a burgeoning neo-Nazi movement in order to gather informative and/or neutralize any potential threat that it posed. The second explanation is that Bristow’s mission was to create a realistic looking neo-Nazi menace to frighten the public.
Before you discard the second explanation as a paranoid conspiracy theory, consider the previous neo-Nazi scare that had taken place in the 1960s.
In 1965 a man named John Beattie founded something called the Canadian Nazi Party, and the alarmist wing of the liberal media had a field day. For the next couple of years they kept the spotlight on this tiny group, reporting its every action, and blowing everything way out of proportion like a bunch of Chicken Littles trumpeting the imminent fall of the sky. The progressives demanded that the government step in and do something before this group, whose miniscule rallies they had magnified to the scale of those Hitler held at Nuremberg, took over Canada and imposed its agenda of racial purification on the country. This blitzkrieg of media disinformation culminated in the October 1966 issue of MacLean’s magazine. The cover story was an insider’s report on Beattie’s party by a man named John Garrity. The following is from his first paragraph:
I was more successful than I expected. I became a trusted officer of the party—its local Heinrich Himmler—though I've managed to avoid being linked with the nationwide publicity that has made the name of John Beattie, the unemployed clerk who is the party's leader, familiar to most Canadians.
Garrity’s story was eerily similar to Bristow’s. Each man befriended a would-be Führer, infiltrated his inner circle, and became the behind-the-scenes Himmler to his Hitler. In both cases the liberal media took a tiny molehill and blew it up into a huge mountain, but apart from the efforts of the moles, Garrity and Bristow, it is unlikely that there would have been even a molehill – just a couple of random, lone-wolf, racist fanatics.
There was one notable difference in the two cases. Whereas Bristow was working for the government, Garrity was employed by a private organization, the Canadian Jewish Congress. Not that there were not also government infiltrators. This was two decades before CSIS was formed but the RCMP, arguably a much more competent agency, was handling this sort of thing back then, and it is unthinkable that they would not have also had a mole or two. Given the infinitesimal size of the group, it seems to have resembled nothing so much as the World Council of Anarchists in The Man Who Was Thursday, G. K. Chesterton’s novel in which a Scotland Yard detective infiltrates the anarchist movement and is elected to said Council only to discover that every other member is also an undercover policeman.
At any rate, while the Canadian Jewish Congress was a private organization, it was working very closely with the Liberal Party, which was the governing party in the Dominion at the time, as, unfortunately, it is now. In the same year that Beattie founded the Canadian Nazi Party – indeed, the same month – Prime Minister Lester Pearson appointed a Special Committee to study “hate propaganda” and report back to the Minister of Justice with recommendations as to potential legislation. The Canadian Jewish Congress had been petitioning Parliament to pass such legislation for years prior to this. Maxwell Cohen of McGill University was named chairman and among its seven members were a vice-president of the Canadian Jewish Congress, the then executive editor of the Winnipeg Free Press, and a far left journalist and law professor from Quebec whom Pearson was about to bring onto the front stage of Canadian federal politics. This was not an objective committee that would look into the question of whether or not there should be legislation against hate propaganda, it was a very left-leaning committee that would start from the conclusion that there ought to be legislation against hate propaganda and devise reasonable sounding arguments that the Minister of Justice could use to sell the idea to Parliament.
Do I really need to point out how having an organization called the Canadian Nazi Party all over the news would facilitate that process?
The reasons why the Canadian Jewish Congress wanted hate speech laws passed don’t really need to be explained as they are fairly obvious. The reasons why the Liberal Party leadership was set on passing such laws do require an explanation. Freedom of thought and freedom of speech were, after all, supposed to be among the basic pillars of classical liberal political philosophy. Most people would probably acknowledge that there are reasonable limitations on even these basic freedoms but hate speech laws are not among them. Laws against the incitement of violence and other criminal behaviour were already on the books and were sufficient to cover the incitement of racially motivated violence and crime. Hate speech laws were not necessary, therefore, to deal with such incitement, and would only serve the purpose of suppressing the expressions of thoughts which certain people did not want expressed.
The Liberal Party, historically, was the party that wanted to move Canada away from her British roots and connections into a closer relationship with the United States – or, as the old Tories such as George Grant and Donald Creighton liked to put it, to sell us out to the Americans. This was bad enough, but at the time of which we are speaking, the leadership of the party had fallen into the hands of ideologues of the totalitarian far Left. Lester Pearson, according to the highly credible testimony that Elizabeth Bentley gave to the United States Senate Subcommittee on Internal Security in 1951, had been an aware and willing participant in the Soviet spy ring she operated while he served in the Canadian embassy in Washington D. C. during the war. If he kept his far left ties hidden, the so-called “three wise men” that he brought into the Liberal Party for the 1965 election, the aforementioned Pierre Trudeau, Gérard Pelletier and Jean Marchand wore theirs on their sleeves. Under Pearson’s patronage they rapidly rose in the ranks of the Liberal Party and Trudeau was, from his entrance into federal politics, groomed by Pearson to be his hand-picked successor as Party leader and Prime Minister.
The free expression of ideas, which had been so important to classical liberals like J. S. Mill, was of no value or consequence to this kind of leftist, except insomuch as it pertained to the expression of their own ideas. Communists, whenever and wherever they seized control of a state, used its power to brutally suppress all dissent to their new order. In the 1960s, the hard Left was itself undergoing an internal transformation as it shifted its focus from economic class to race, sex, etc. and so “hate speech” laws were particularly appealing to them. So was the idea of dangling a perpetual Nazi threat before the public. What better way to distract people from the perpetual menace of the many-headed hydra that had sprung from the seed planted by Cromwell’s Puritans, grown into Jacobinism, evolved into Bolshevism, and which was rapidly spreading throughout the globe, than by keeping them fixated on the threat of a rival totalitarianism which resembled Communism in almost every way, but which had died, at least insofar as being a real threat to civilization goes, with its Führer in 1945.
The same issue of MacLean’s that featured Garrity’s story also contained an article by Blair Fraser entitled “Hate”, which told about the Cohen Committee, its report which had been submitted to the Minister of Justice in November of 1965 and brought before Parliament early the following year, and Pearson’s promise at a press conference that hate speech legislation was on its way. The article was filled with specious arguments designed to allay the Canadian public’s fears that such legislation would be a threat to freedom of speech. Fraser was wrong in his prediction that such laws would be passed by the following year but he was only off by three years. Pierre Trudeau succeeded Lester Pearson as Liberal leader and Prime Minister in 1969 and the following year acted on his own recommendations as a member of the Cohen Committee and introduced the legislation that added Sections 318 to 320 to the Criminal Code.
Let us recap: the leadership of the Liberal Party was determined to pass “hate speech” laws, it appointed a Special Committee to come up with a report to persuade Parliament to approve such laws, while selling the Canadian public on these laws was left to the media, which for the most part serves as a propaganda arm of the Liberal Party. Conveniently, the jobs of both the Special Committee and the media were made easier by the appearance on the scene of the Canadian Nazi Party, whose leader was propped up behind the scenes by a private investigator working for the Canadian Jewish Congress, which had long wanted hate speech legislation and was working closely with the Liberal Party towards achieving that end. It is difficult, for anyone capable of adding two and two together and coming up with four, to avoid the conclusion that the Nazi scare of the 1960s was a fake scare, created to make hate propaganda legislation an easy sell.
The uncanny resemblance of Bristow’s story to Garrity’s strongly suggests that the second Nazi scare was a fake scare too. The motive is not as obvious as with the first scare but consider the following facts. During Pierre Trudeau’s long premiership, the Liberal Party had shifted government policy drastically to the left on immigration, abortion, homosexuality, preferential treatment for victims of “discrimination” in employment, and a myriad of other social, cultural, and moral issues. The Grits had never had to take these policies to the polls because the New Democrats were even further to the left and the Progressive Conservatives, under Robert Stanfield, Joe Clark, and Brian Mulroney were completely dominated by the wets and easily intimidated by accusations of racial, religious, sexual, and cultural bigotry. Then, in 1987, the protest movement that had been growing in the West in response to the Liberals’ heavy-handed imposition of their leftist agenda, the non-opposition to that agenda provided by the Progressive Conservatives, and Ottawa’s arrogance in general, formed the populist Reform Party of Canada. For a time, at least, the Reform Party was willing to take relatively right-of-centre positions on some of these issues, and that frightened both the Liberals and the Progressive Conservatives. The Liberals were terrified of having to take their radical agenda to the polls and find out what Canadians actually thought of it. The Progressive Conservatives were – with good cause, as events proved – afraid that their voting base would defect to the Reform Party. (1) The Heritage Front was formed in 1989 and the liberal media immediately tried to tie it to the Reform Party. The plot of Liberal Party strategist and anti-racist activist Warren Kinsella’s 1997 Web of Hate: Inside Canada’s Far Right Network revolves around such supposed connections.
The question, then, of who exactly CSIS was serving, when its agent Grant Bristow helped found the Heritage Front, is rather moot. The Progressive Conservatives, who were in power in Parliament at the time, had a motive for creating a new fake Nazi threat. The Liberal Party which had created CSIS – the Act forming the new intelligence agency passed Parliament one week before Pierre Trudeau stepped down as Prime Minister – and to which civil servants have an obnoxious tendency to be loyal regardless of who the governing party in Parliament happens to be, also had a motive. Both parties had the same motive – to smear the right-populist Reform Party by association. If I had to bet on who was ultimately responsible, however, my money would be on the Liberals.
Under its present leadership the Liberal Party is the furthest to the left it has ever been. It is in power in Parliament at the moment, but the next Dominion election is in October and the wave of popularity that swept this government into office four years ago has been ebbing fast, due to its own overweening arrogance, gross incompetence, and a huge scandal in which it’s unethical and perhaps criminal behaviour has been exposed. It has resorted to accusing the leadership of the Conservative Party of links to “white supremacy” and “white nationalism.” It has also expressed its desire to bring back something similar to Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act which was repealed by Parliament six years ago. Section 13 defined it as an act of discrimination to communicate via telephone or internet anything “likely” to expose someone to “hatred or contempt” on the grounds of membership in a group protected against discrimination. Worded that broadly, it covered virtually any negative criticism of such groups, and unlike the hate speech provision of the Criminal Code, did not come with a presumption of innocence for the accused or the right to any sort of real defense. It was a terrible law, far more in keeping with the totalitarian mindset of actual National Socialism than with the principles of justice and freedom enshrined in our traditional Common Law. Earlier this year, the government instructed the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights to conduct a study of the dissemination of hate on the internet – in other words, to come up with arguments for bringing back Section 13, or even something worse, if that is conceivable.
Now, a newspaper that served the Liberal Party faithfully for over a century, just happens to have discovered a neo-Nazi organization that nobody has heard of before but which is supposed to have embedded itself in the Canadian Armed Forces. Yeah right. Sometime, probably years down the road, it will be revealed that this “Base” is as much a phony set-up as the Canadian Nazi Party and the Heritage Front were – mark my words.
If we fail to remember the past and allow ourselves to be fooled by this nonsense for yet a third time, then shame, shame, triple shame on us.
(1) I was one of the defectors. I eventually grew disgusted with the Reform Party and allowed my membership to lapse – on the verge of its final merger with what was left of the Progressive Conservative Party. This disgust had nothing to do with the Reform Party’s right-of-centre positions, real or imagined, which if anything I would have preferred more of, but with its hostility to our Loyalist heritage which it illogically blamed for the country’s slide into far-leftism, its indifference to the monarchy, and its barely concealed, anti-patriotic, preference for the constitution, institutions, and traditions of the United States over our own.
My Last Post
2 years ago