Many may have expected the revitalized and expanded far right would fade with the end of the COVID mandates. As we have highlighted in numerous reports on this website, this was a vain hope. While their intervention into mainstream politics through the recent municipal elections had very limited success (mostly in the Okanagan) it was yet another opportunity for them to mobilize and proselytize.
Coming out of those campaigns they have continued with meetings at friendly venues such as “Yoga Commercial Drive” and on November 19 another “Media is the Virus/Stand United” rally at the Vancouver Art Gallery with provocateur Chris Sky was followed with a march around the area. Then on Friday November 25 a gang of these haters attempted to intimidate and abuse families coming to a Drag Queen reading event at the Kitsilano Neighbourhood House.
Wednesday December 7 there is an ultrafundamentalist rally at the Croatian Cultural Centre on Wednesday night, and on Saturday the 1oth a Langley-to-Vancouver convoy targeting Liberal and NDP ridings in Vancouver will end in another rally at the Vancouver Art Gallery.
These events are being headlined by an antisemite, a homophobe, and a women who leads a fringe party that believes LGBTQ people should be put to death.
The antisemite -- Justin Gordon, a plumber from Deroche, is the key organizer of the Saturday convoy. He has been involved in numerous pickets of media outlets and Liberal Party fundraisers. On at least two of these he has been photographed carrying a noose and gallows with the words "Trudeau" and "treason" inscribed on it. Recently he has openly embraced antisemitism.
The homophobe -- Artur Pawlowski is an extreme-right street preacher from Calgary who has been arrested at least five times for violating Covid restrictions. Pawlowski is a virulent homophobe who believes " "this [the rainbow flag] is a lie from the pit of hell, perverted symbol that God has given to us. They are using it to laugh at God, to shake their fingers at God saying, 'we don't care about your law, we don't care about you... He is talking about rainbows painted on planters at the Crossroads Market [in Calgary]. These colourful parking lot adornments have the evil six colours, not the Godly seven." " He is the leader of The Independence Party, whose goal is the separation of Alberta from Canada and its establishment as an independent nation. The party platform calls for an independent Alberta to acquire nuclear weapons. Pawlowski has also publicly stated that the "wicked evil people" in government need to be replaced with "patriots", and that "they used to hang those people" and they should be charged with treason.
On a recent Kevin Johnston live stream, Artur Pawlowski stated that the "wicked evil people" in government need to be replaced with "patriots". He also said before "they used to hang those people" and they should be charged with treason.— Stony Vyce (@TonyYvce) February 19, 2021
The Ultraright Politician -- Tyler Thompson is leader of the Christian Heritage Party of BC, an extreme Christian fundamentalist party based on Christian Reconstructionism. CHPs policy book states "we affirm that heterosexual, monogamous marriage is God-ordained as the foundation of the family, and that any other form of union whatsoever is Biblically prohibited." A footnote on page F-13 of the document notes this policy is based on Leviticus 20:13, which prescribes the death penalty for gays and lesbians. She has run twice as an unsuccessful candidate for the Peoples' Party of Canada, and was a featured speaker at a Vancouver meeting in February 2020 organized by Canada's foremost neonazi, Paul Fromm. During her speech, Tyler Thompson describer Fromm as one of her "personal friends".
People of good faith need to condemn this hate unequivocally. But condemnation alone is not enough. We have seen again and again where this hate leads and what the ultimate result will be if they are left unopposed.
Scapegoating leads to demonization. Demonization leads to targeting. For the 2SLGBTQ community, for Jews, for Muslims, for people of colour, the implications are already all too plain to see: mass shootings at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, Club Q in Colorado, The Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh and at Tops Supermarket in a largely black neighbourhood of Buffalo. And these are just a sampling of hundreds of fatal hate crimes. While these occurred in the US, the 2017 shootings at the Islamic Cultural Centre mosque in Quebec City show that we are not immune to this contagion of hate that knows no borders.
We have a collective responsibility to our neighbours and our community to denounce the increasing presence of the far right, but denunciation is not enough. We must organize against its growth, and defeat it. We must take action to give reality to the words: “Never Again”.
The far right was able to take advantage of the demobilization of progressive forces over the last couple of years as responsible people mostly suspended in-person gatherings to reduce the spread of evolving strains of the COVID-19 virus. This has left us well behind where we need to be in organizing and countering this threat. It is time for us to change that!
If you are part of an organization, be it a union, community or faith group this needs to be put on the agenda. You can get connected with the network that is beginning this process of revitalization by using the contact form on this website to securely express your interest in getting involved and get more information.
The time to act is now, while we still have time and space to meet and defeat the threat this dangerous far right movement has created.
Also check out our additional resources to learn how to take on fascism and the far right
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