Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Invokes The Emergencies Act


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Online Richard Smith

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Re: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Invokes The Emergencies Act
« Reply #32 on: February 21, 2022, 03:24:33 PM »
More outright lies and fake news from Faux. The FCC should revoke their broadcasting license.

Fox News staffer made up story about Canadian protester getting trampled — and duped Ted Cruz: report

Fox News contributor Sara Carter has retracted an "entirely fictitious" story about a Canadian "freedom convoy" protester getting trampled by a police horse, the Daily Beast reported Saturday.

“Reports are the woman trampled by a Canadian horse patrol just died at the hospital ... #Trudeau #FreedomConvoyCanada,” Carter tweeted on Friday.

Carter has 1.3 million Twitter followers, and her post was amplified by conservatives including Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Fox Nation hosts Diamond and Silk. But on Saturday morning, Carter — who claims to be an "award-winning correspondent" and is frequently called upon by host Sean Hannity — admitted the story was false.

“The Reports I was given earlier yesterday from sources on the ground that someone may have died at a hospital during the trampling was wrong,” Carter tweeted, adding that “someone was taken to a hospital with a heart condition - not due to trampling. I want to clarify this again and apologize for any confusion.”

Carter subsequently deleted her original tweet — but only after being contacted by the Daily Beast on Saturday evening. And not until after Cruz deleted his retweet – in which he had written above Carter's original post, "This...is...horrific."

"I deleted my retweet about a Canadian protestor being trampled to death because the journalist who first reported it now says it was in error," Cruz wrote on Saturday afternoon. "I remain deeply concerned about the abuse—seizing money & employing violence against peaceful protesters—that we’re seeing in Canada."

https://www.rawstory.com/ted-cruz-2656730975/

Maybe take a look at the video posted above and below where several people were trampled by police horses.  They were clearly seriously injured.  Trying to suggest this is an entirely false story simply because no one died is an example of your dishonesty.  Anyone can watch the video to confirm and see an elderly woman trampled.

« Last Edit: February 21, 2022, 03:34:17 PM by Richard Smith »

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Re: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Invokes The Emergencies Act
« Reply #32 on: February 21, 2022, 03:24:33 PM »


Offline Rick Plant

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Re: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Invokes The Emergencies Act
« Reply #33 on: February 21, 2022, 11:49:48 PM »
Blockades over, but Trudeau says emergency powers needed

TORONTO (AP) — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Monday emergency powers are still needed despite police ending border blockades and the occupation of the nation’s capital by truckers and others angry over Canada’s COVID-19 restrictions.

“The situation is still fragile, the state of emergency is still there,” Trudeau said.

Lawmakers in Parliament will vote Monday night whether to allow police to continue to use emergency powers. Opposition New Democratic Party leader Jagmeet Singh said his party will support it, ensuring Trudeau should have enough votes.

Trudeau noted there are some truckers that are just outside Ottawa that may be planning further blockades and his public safety minister noted there was an effort to block a border crossing in British Columbia on the weekend.

The emergencies act allows authorities to declare certain areas as no go zones. It also allows police to freeze truckers’ personal and corporate bank accounts and compels tow truck companies to tow away vehicles.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police said those who had their bank accounts frozen were “influencers in the illegal protest in Ottawa, and owners and/or drivers of vehicles who did not want to leave the area.”

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland said anyone affected has an easy way to have their accounts unfrozen: “Stop being a part of the blockade,” she said.

Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino said allowing police to designate Ottawa’s downtown a no-go zone has been particularly effective. About 100 police checkpoints remain.

“We saw calm, peace and quiet,” Mendicino said.

Singh, the opposition New Democratic leader, said they know there are protesters waiting in the surrounding areas of Ottawa and in the capital itself. “They need to be cleared out,” Singh said.

Singh also noted there have been convoys that have been intercepted.

“This is an attack on our democracy. This is a group of folks who are very clearly connected to the extreme right wing,” Singh said. “The organizers clearly have a goal in mind to undermine democracy. That’s something we can’t allow to continue.”

The trucker protests grew until it closed a handful of Canada-U.S. border posts and shut down key parts of the capital city for more than three weeks.

But all border blockades have now ended and the streets around the Canadian Parliament are quiet. Ottawa protesters who vowed never to give up are largely gone, chased away by police in riot gear. The relentless blare of truckers’ horns has gone silent. A large police presence remains in Ottawa and some areas are fenced off.

The protests, which were first aimed at a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for cross-border truckers but also encompassed fury over the range of COVID-19 restrictions and hatred of Trudeau, reflected the spread of disinformation in Canada and simmering populist and right-wing anger.

The self-styled Freedom Convoy shook Canada’s reputation for civility, inspired convoys in France, New Zealand and the Netherlands and interrupted trade, causing economic damage on both sides of the border. Hundreds of trucks eventually occupied the streets around Parliament, a display that was part protest and part carnival.

For almost a week the busiest U.S.-Canada border crossing, the Ambassador Bridge between Windsor, Ontario and Detroit, was blocked. The crossing sees more than 25% of the trade between the two countries.

Authorities moved to reopen the border posts, but police in Ottawa did little but issue warnings until Friday, even as hundreds and sometimes thousands of protesters clogged the streets of the city and besieged Parliament Hill.

On Friday, authorities launched the largest police operation in Canadian history, arresting a string of Ottawa protesters and increasing that pressure on Saturday until the streets in front of Parliament were clear. Eventually, police arrested at least 191 people and towed away 79 vehicles. Many protesters retreated as the pressure increased.

Trudeau said people in Ottawa were harassed for weeks and said billions of dollars in trade were stalled by the border blockades, putting people’s jobs at risk.

The protests have been cheered on in the U.S. by Fox News personalities and conservatives like former U.S. President Donald Trump. Millions of dollars in donations have flowed across the border to the protesters.

"A flood of misinformation and disinformation washed over Canada, including from foreign sources,” Trudeau said.

“After these illegal blockades and occupations received disturbing amounts of foreign funding to destabilize Canada’s democracy it became clear that local and provincial authorities needed more tools to restore order.”

https://apnews.com/article/coronavirus-pandemic-health-canada-ottawa-justin-trudeau-8b107609b1e33aca4b13a4d46951a935

Offline Rick Plant

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Re: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Invokes The Emergencies Act
« Reply #34 on: February 22, 2022, 12:00:01 AM »
This article is from February 5th but it debunks the bogus claims from the right wing media that the "protests were peaceful". This was a violent right wing insurrection. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has every right to quickly end this illegal occupation of major Canadian cities especially in Ottawa.

Trucker convoy: Ottawa ‘under siege’ amid ‘nation-wide insurrection,’ officials say

The nation’s capital is a city “under siege” by the trucker convoy that has dug in over the past nine days amid what the chair of the police services board called a “nation-wide insurrection.”

“We are on day eight of this occupation. Our city is under siege. This group is emboldened by the lack of enforcement by every level of government,” said Diane Deans, chair of the board.

“This group is a threat to our democracy. What we’re seeing is bigger than just a City of Ottawa problem. This is a nation-wide insurrection. This is madness. We need a concrete plan to put an end to this.”

The last-minute meeting of the police service board put the decisions of Ottawa police Chief Peter Sloly in the spotlight as multiple councillors hammered him over what they described as a “mindboggling”  lack of results to end what Sloly, himself, and the Ontario premier have called an “occupation.”

Sloly said that the legal rules in place for police conduct “were never intended to deal with a city under siege,” and told members of the board that the police service does not have the resources to act to end the demonstration, including a lack of tow trucks to move the rigs encamped across the city.

“We do not have sufficient resources to adequately and effectively address this situation,” he said.

Sloly had announced on Friday that police were launching a “surge and contain” strategy with a goal to put an end to the demonstration, which is stretching into its ninth day with participants continuing to blast their truck horns at all hours of the day and night.

Deans earlier in the week said Ottawa residents are coping with a “living hell” and said it’s clear from the chief’s response that Ottawa police have been “overwhelmed” by the situation.

“We need to take extraordinary action,” Deans said. “We need to be able to bring it all under control.”

Sloly also told councillors on the board that he does not know when the situation will end.

“I can’t provide that,” he said when asked for a timeline.

Deans asked whether the city can pursue declaring an unlawful assembly and then a riot in order to begin making mass arrests, or pursue a court injunction, in order to “bring this under control now.”

Councillors also asked about what powers could be invoked and how they might start the process to invoke either the Emergencies Act or the National Defence Act, including exploring curfews.

“We cannot allow this kind of terrorism in our community to continue in this way,” Deans said.

“I would implore our legal minds to tell us what we need to do today, who we need to ask for what authority to bring this to a conclusion.”

Carol Anne Meehan, councillor for Gloucester—South Nepean, echoed the need to explore other provincial and federal authorities, saying: “We have to use every tool available in a toolbox.”

“Everybody’s on the breaking point,” Meehan said.

Ottawa police and security experts have warned about possible escalation with counterprotests and demonstrators. More than 100 people gathered outside Ottawa City Hall on Saturday afternoon to demand the convoy supporters go home.

On the south side of Laurier Avenue, counter-protesters led chants of “go home” while a handful of the convoy protesters shouted “freedom.” Counter-protest placards displayed a hint of Canadian politeness, asking protesters to go home “please” and “thank you.”

Behind the signs, however, was a deep sense of frustration — especially among those who live and work in Centretown after eight days of near constant noise and disruption.

“It’s the harassment we’ve faced over the last week. The noise harassment, the physical harassment, people not being able to go to work, people being harassed on the street for wearing masks,” said Erin, one counter-protester who did not want to give a last name due to fears of harassment.

“It’s not a peaceful protest. Everyone has a right to peaceful protest in Canada, and I support that right. But this isn’t a peaceful protest.”

Police lined Laurier Avenue, forming a barrier between the protest and the counter-protest. Almost nobody on the protest side wore masks, while counter-protesters sported N95s and surgical masks. Despite a few tense interactions and shouted epithets between the two sides, the police presence kept interaction largely to a minimum.

Incessant honking, coupled with booming dance music, filled the air in downtown Ottawa on Saturday with heavy trucks effectively blockading the east end of the parliamentary precinct.

The smell of exhaust and smoke from propane barbecues was thick at the corner of Rideau Street and Sussex Drive, one of downtown Ottawa’s central nodes and the entrance to the Byward Market, where protesters replaced the usual tourists perusing shops and restaurants.

A group of young male protesters could be seen wheeling a wagon full of orange jerry cans from truck to truck along Wellington Street, replenishing fuel as required. Families with strollers or babies strapped to their chests also waded through the protest, while a group dressed up in Santa Claus and reindeer costumes posed for photos.

The demonstration had the same party-like atmosphere that characterized the early days of the protest. But the police presence was notably heavier, with cruisers from different Ontario municipal forces and the Ontario Provincial Police blocking off streets and, in some cases, interspersed with the protest trucks.

Sloly has faced intense criticism over his handling of the trucker convoy, which has been permitted to blockade Ottawa’s downtown core and allow hundreds of big rigs into the city.

At the same time, an emergency request for an injunction against the blaring of truck horns in the downtown core was put over until Monday at 1 p.m. Eastern, with Justice Hugh McLean saying he did not know how to craft such an order that would be enforceable.

The lawyer who brought the suit, Paul Champ, stressed residents are suffering.

“Every hour that goes by, there are individuals (suffering) irreparable harm,” Champ said of the noise levels.

Deafening horns have blasted through the city’s core for more than a week, throughout the day and into the night, with countless residents posting on social media saying they have been victims of assault, threats and property damage at the hands of individuals associated with the convoy.

Sloly initially said he did not have the legal authority to prevent members of the convoy from coming into the city, a claim two constitutional lawyers disputed on Thursday.

He also announced on Friday that police will be stepping up their response in a “surge and contain” strategy, and said police will investigate any reports submitted to them of alleged criminal conduct.

Ottawa police have declined to answer questions about how many reports of death threats, rape threats and intimidation have been made to them so far.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford called the continued demonstrations “unacceptable” on Friday and described the conduct taking place on the streets of Ottawa as an “occupation.”

The Ottawa police force also called it an “occupation” on Friday, as did Conservative MP Pierre Paul-Hus.

“I spent the week undergoing the Siege of Ottawa,” Paul-Hus wrote on Twitter.

“If the motivation of truckers could be understood, the current situation is quite different. I ask that we clear the streets and that we stop this occupation controlled by radicals and anarchist groups.”

Language used by police and federal officials has been shifting over recent days, increasingly leaning on descriptors like “unlawful” and “illegal” in their comments about the demonstration.

And while Ottawa police have multiple options available to them, ranging from declaring an unlawful assembly or seeking a court injunction, to deploying additional RCMP resources or acting to remove the demonstrators, it remains unclear what the day will bring.

Multiple community groups cancelled plans to counter-protest over recent days, though some individuals have stressed they remain committed to doing so despite the risk of violence from the convoy.

Police have said they expect in the ballpark of 1,000 counter-protestors, something that one expert says has the potential to spark violence as tensions rise if the groups come into contact with each other.

“One of the lessons from Charlottesville was that there was just a real failure of the police there to keep the two groups apart and to establish any physical separation from the two groups,” said Regina Bateson, an assistant professor at the University of Ottawa studying violent collective action.

She has studied the organizing and activities involved in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol and the Unite the Right white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017.

The latter left one counter-protestor, Heather Hyer, dead after James Alex Fields Jr. plowed his car into counter-protestors in the vicinity of the rally. He was convicted of first-degree murder in 2018.

Bateson said she thinks the new approach outlined by police on Friday is “wise,” and that she hopes they are weighing the risks to counter-protestors from those involved in the convoy.”

“I hope that they’re aware of the risks involved in having counter-protesters and the original group of demonstrators on the ground at same time in close proximity.”

Predicting what could happen next is challenging, she added, noting that there has been growing evidence to suggest that extremists in the U.S. are showing a willingness to “behave in ways that are different and unexpected.“

That can make it difficult for law enforcement to gauge the impact of their actions, or envision scenarios that were previously unthinkable, such as the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, she said.

“This is a moment that demands a lot of imagination on the part of law enforcement and government officials,” Bateson added. “Just because something seems fantastical, just because something has not happened here before does not mean it’s impossible.”

https://globalnews.ca/news/8597478/ottawa-trucker-convoy-risk-of-violence/

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Re: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Invokes The Emergencies Act
« Reply #34 on: February 22, 2022, 12:00:01 AM »


Offline Rick Plant

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Re: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Invokes The Emergencies Act
« Reply #35 on: February 22, 2022, 01:28:44 PM »
Trudeau wins House vote on Emergencies Act

Although streets around Parliament have been cleared of protesters, the prime minister said “there continues to be real concerns.”

OTTAWA, Ont. — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau won approval from the House of Commons on Monday night for the Emergencies Act, which he put into play a week ago to end the convoy blockades in Canada.

The Liberal government won the vote 185-151 with the support of the New Democratic Party.

Outside the House of Commons, the streets around Parliament Hill have been cleared of trucks and protesters, although police still control access to the area.

Trudeau has said from the start that the never-before-used emergency measures would be targeted and temporary. On Monday morning, he told Canadians the state of emergency is not over.

“There continues to be real concerns about the coming days,” he said, “but we will continue to evaluate every single day whether or not it is time and we are able to lift this state of emergency.”

When asked if he considered the vote one of confidence in his minority government, Trudeau replied, “I can’t imagine anyone voting against this bill as expressing anything other than a deep mistrust in the government’s ability to keep Canadians safe at an extraordinarily important time.”

The Conservatives and Bloc Québécois voted against use of the sweeping enforcement measures and accused the prime minister of overreach.

Convoys rolled into Ottawa in January soon after the government of Canada introduced vaccination rules for cross-border truckers. The mandates turned out to be the least of their grievances.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh has said the threat posed by the so-called Freedom Convoy justified use of the act. “They came here to overthrow a democratically elected government,” he said last week. “It is a movement funded by foreign influence, and it is fed on disinformation. Its goal is to disrupt our democracy.”

Big rigs and protesters occupied Ottawa streets for almost three weeks, holding out against Ottawa Police Services, which failed to manage the crisis.

“Hurtful and racist symbols were everywhere … the incessant honking was unbearable,” Ottawa Centre MP Yasir Naqvi told POLITICO over the weekend. “Nearby parking lots were used as urinals, our skies were filled with firecrackers as they were hurled down streets every night, and the air was thick with diesel fuel.”

Protesters also shut down key trade corridors for a time along the U.S.-Canada border, including at the Ambassador Bridge in Windsor, Ont.

Once the Emergencies Act was invoked, police created a perimeter around key blocks in downtown Ottawa and established checkpoints to control entry into the area.

On Friday, a wave of municipal, provincial and federal police forces began to clear the streets in a massive sweep that lasted three days. Police said Monday that they’ve made 196 arrests and towed 115 vehicles.

https://www.politico.com/news/2022/02/21/trudeau-wins-house-vote-emergencies-act-00010474

Online Richard Smith

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Re: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Invokes The Emergencies Act
« Reply #36 on: February 22, 2022, 06:07:41 PM »
Moving on from the false claim that the police didn't trample anyone?  Is that indigenous elderly woman on video chanting "peace, love, and happiness" one of those dangerous terrorists that had to be oppressed?  Thankfully she was using a walker when the police horses trampled her or she might have escaped to spread her violent propaganda. 

Offline Rick Plant

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Re: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Invokes The Emergencies Act
« Reply #37 on: February 23, 2022, 12:14:28 AM »

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Re: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Invokes The Emergencies Act
« Reply #37 on: February 23, 2022, 12:14:28 AM »


Online Richard Smith

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Re: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Invokes The Emergencies Act
« Reply #38 on: February 23, 2022, 03:24:44 PM »
New polling suggests majority of Canadians support Emergencies Act
https://globalnews.ca/video/8630386/new-polling-suggests-majority-of-canadians-support-for-emergencies-act

No retraction of your falsehood that no one was trampled?

Offline Rick Plant

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Re: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Invokes The Emergencies Act
« Reply #39 on: February 24, 2022, 12:21:42 AM »
This convoy occupation in Canada was an insurrection full of neo Nazis and right wing extremists. This article lays out the domestic terrorism threat that Canada faces and domestic terrorists were part of the convoy occupation just like on 1/6.   

Canada’s right-wing extremism problem
Trump's malignant populism has turned far-right violence into a domestic terrorism threat


Jan 27, 2021

For Canadians, there has been much to unpack after four years of Donald Trump. And while we fancy ourselves above the darker forces of racism, nativism, fear and demonization (not to mention misogyny) that have been unleashed under Trump, our proximity to our neighbour to the south – and a porous social media – has made us particularly vulnerable to the spread of right-wing extremism of the kind witnessed during the attack on the Capitol on January 6.

While conservative columnists dismiss the idea it could ever get to the same point here, the anti-state and anti-government sentiments expressed by those who took part have already infected the mainstream in Canada. On the same day as armed protestors attacked the Capitol, in Toronto a motorcade of supporters waving Trump 2020 and Stop The Steal flags drove from Queen’s Park to Bayview Village mall as part of a show of support for the former president.

The truth is the cult of Trump has deeper roots than we’d like to believe in Canada.

Since Trump’s election in 2016, anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim sentiment has been on the rise in Canada. (One of Trump’s first acts as president was to impose a ban on travel from Muslim countries.) A 2019 EKOS poll found that some 40 per cent of white Canadians now view immigration as a “threat.”

Hate crimes, which saw a sharp increase during the early days of the pandemic thanks to anti-China conspiracies, have risen by 60 per cent between 2014 and 2017, according to Statistics Canada. Hard to remember now in the blur of a global pandemic, but anti-Muslim protests were a weekly occurrence in Toronto before COVID-19 struck.

More alarming, there are now an estimated 300 active far-right extremist groups in this country, some 30 per cent more than before Trump came to office. It’s no coincidence.

Barbara Perry, director of the Centre on Hate, Bias and Extremism at Oshawa-based Ontario Tech University, says “a mélange of different interest groups, if you want to call them that, have come into the same space. I’ve been likening it to a Venn diagram of all that’s wrong with the country.”

The ground is shifting. “Politically motivated” and “ideologically motivated” groups have also entered the lexicon of far-right extremism usually associated with neo-Nazi groups. They include anti-Muslim groups, conspiracy theorists, militia groups and the incel (involuntarily celibate) online subculture. Most worrisome among them are anti-state and anti-government elements “that tend to be very aggressive in language and affiliate with the militia movement in the U.S.”

Perry says that as these groups have become more active online, the banal sort of street-level violence usually associated with the far-right has turned into something more violent: arson, firebombings and murders.

In recent years, the number of acts of domestic terrorism carried out by individuals associated with far-right groups have outnumbered acts of Islamic-inspired extremism in Canada. Our national security apparatus has taken notice. So have the feds, for the first time adding two neo-Nazi groups – Blood & Honour “an international neo-Nazi network whose ideology is derived from the National Socialist doctrine of Nazi Germany” and its armed branch, Combat 18 – to the list of terrorist organizations in 2019.

And while there are anti-hate laws in Canada that could be used to control extremism online, getting the police to enforce them is another matter.

Muslim community groups say Canada needs to go further. They’re calling for a review of current regulations to police online hate and a national plan to dismantle “xenophobic, white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups” after the murder of a volunteer caretaker outside a mosque in Rexdale in September. 

Experts who follow right-wing movements agree that there’s also a larger conversation that needs to be had about the role of social media in spreading hate online. But already, some conservative commentators are likening that effort to an “attack on free speech.”

White Supremacy

Canadians have a tendency to be complacent when it comes to our own racism.

After the mob attack on Capitol Hill, the Globe’s John Ibbitson offered in Canada’s paper of record that it was  “absurd” for observers on the left to “conflate” support for the Conservative Party in Canada (he called them Tories) with the kind of white nationalism behind Trump south of the border.

Opinion-makers over at the National Post argued that the attack “was not about white supremacy at all.” And that if Trump’s racist brand of populism were going to take root in Canada it would have happened by now.

Well, it has. The assault on Washington was more than just about goonery or malignant masculinity run amok. It was something more insidious. Yes, there were a lot of so-called “average folks” on Capitol Hill that day who believed that the election was “stolen” from Trump. One-issue types like anti-abortionists were also present in large numbers. Trump is their messiah. But five people died, including one police officer.

And among the cosplay types in the contingent of QAnon conspiracy theorists who sucked up most of the media attention, there were also armed members of militia groups there to “arrest” politicians for treason. Pipe bombs were discovered in front of the Republican and Democratic national committee offices, as well as in a truck near the Capitol. Weapons were also seized, which was only revealed days later after the FBI laid charges against several individuals, including attackers linked to neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups.

Canada is not only not immune to the kind of fanaticism witnessed south of the border – it’s an active participant in the global growth of right-wing extremism.

The UK-based Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD) has linked more than 6,600 right-wing extremist social media pages, channels and accounts to Canadians and some 6,352 Canadian users who were “closely connected” to extremist accounts on Twitter. Its June 2020 report identified subgroups of right-wing extremists in Canada that have posted content endorsing explicit violence and illegal hate speech online.

The study also found that Canadians are “highly active” on forums associated with white supremacy, behind only the U.S. and the UK in posting on extremist message boards – including one now-defunct U.S.-based website linked to some 100 hate crimes.

The report noted that concentrations of right-wing extremist activity in western Ontario, Alberta and Quebec were “often defined by regional concerns that reflected the demographics or politics of the province or city in question.” But there’s been a shift  since Trump came to office: Muslims, immigrants and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau have emerged “as shared objects of scorn and antipathy.”

That antipathy boiled over last July, when former Manitoba Canadian Armed Forces reservist Corey Hurren drove his pickup truck through the gates of the Prime Minister’s residence at Rideau Hall to “arrest” Trudeau. Hurren, whose social media accounts suggest he’s a fan of global conspiracy theories, was reportedly angered over what he saw as Canada “turning into a communist dictatorship.” He reportedly had four guns in his possession, including a restricted weapon. Friends and family came to his defence suggesting recent financial hardship contributed to his actions.

It was only a matter of time. Anti-Trudeau hysteria has become a lightning rod for separatist sentiment out West. The RCMP has had to investigate a number of credible death threats against the PM, including after a pro-pipeline demonstration in Calgary in 2018, which included anti-government conspiracy theorists alongside protestors wearing hoodies with an image of a noose hanging from a tree and the words “Come West Trudeau.”

The cult of Trump has not only fuelled the emergence of the secessionist Maverick Party in the oil patch (Canada’s Rust Belt), it also seen the Conservative party move to lend credibility to far-right narratives to hold on to their base out West. 

Conservative Party leader Erin O’Toole’s recent removal of MP Derek Sloan over his acceptance of a financial donation from a well-known figure in white supremacist circles is only symptomatic of a growing problem in the party of giving voice to out-there factions on the far-right, including conspiracy theorists, anti-vaxxers and anti-government agitators.

Anti-Muslim antagonism, meanwhile, has been firmly rooted in the party since before Stephen Harper tried to ride the “barbaric cultural practices” snitch line to election victory in 2015. His successor, Andrew Scheer, took up the mantle by openly courting Canada’s xenophobic and virulently anti-Muslim Yellow Vest Movement. (Scheer spoke at the group’s United We Roll rally in Ottawa in February 2019 taking the mic after white nationalist Faith Goldy.)

Scheer followed that outrage in March 2019 with a tweet describing the massacre of 50 Muslim worshippers in Christchurch, New Zealand, as an attack on “freedom” – failing to acknowledge that Muslims had been murdered because of their faith. A hastily arranged meeting with Muslim leaders would follow in Regina.

al Qaeda playbook for the far-right

The landscape on the far right is quickly evolving, a fact recognized by Canada’s spy agency, the Canadian Security Intelligence Services.

Back in May 2020, CSIS updated its definition of extremism to include “politically motivated” and “ideologically motivated” acts of violence. CSIS also identified “violent misogyny” of the kind associated with the incel movement as a form of terrorism.

The online group (which was among those targeted by former White House strategist Steve Bannon in swing states during the 2016 election) has been linked to two attacks in Toronto. The 2018 van attack carried out by Alec Minassian, who boasted to police about being inspired by incel, killed 10 people (many of them women) and injured 16 others. More recently, the murder of a 24-year-old mother and attempted murder of two others in a machete attack has led to terrorism-related murder charges against a 17-year-old who cannot be named.

The pandemic, says CSIS, has added another layer to the volatile mix on the far right. According to declassified Canadian intelligence files obtained by Global News last year, extremist groups have been promoting disinformation about COVID-19 in an attempt to capitalize on the pandemic.

Police in Quebec have linked the burning down of cellphone towers to the conspiracy theory that 5G wireless tech is the cause of the coronavirus. In Ontario and BC, recent anti-mask and anti-lockdown protests have attracted some familiar anti-Muslim agitators, white nationalists and neo-Nazi enthusiasts.

Meanwhile, militant white supremacist groups modelled after militias in the U.S. are adding new chapters in Canada.

According to CSIS, the tools used by these groups to recruit online – in particular members of the Canadian military – are modelled after Islamic fundamentalist groups like Daesh and al Qaeda. In January 2020, former Canadian Armed Forces reservist Patrik Mathews was arrested with two other suspected members of the neo-Nazi organization The Base after allegedly planning to attack a gun rights rally in Richmond, Virginia, with the aim of “causing chaos and accelerating the initiation of a civil war.”

It’s unclear to what extent members of the military are involved in armed far-right groups but it’s enough of an issue that back in December, the Department of National Defence created an advisory panel on systemic racism and discrimination to find out. The group, says Floriane Bonneville, press secretary for the Minister of Defence Harjit Sajjan “will provide advice on how we can ensure individuals who hold racist or white supremacist beliefs are not allowed to enter into or remain in our organization.”

National security agencies “ignoring the challenge”

Facebook and Twitter have moved to cut off lifelines to far-right groups in the wake of the January 6 events in Washington, including here in Canada. But many of those folks are already moving to other platforms.

Heritage minister Steven Guilbeault has signalled plans to bring in regulations to fine social media companies that don’t police online hate. Daniel Savoie, a spokesperson for the minister, says those regulations will include “the spread of illegal content, including hate speech… terrorist propaganda, as well as violent and extremist content.”

The National Council of Canadian Muslims says that’s not enough. It’s calling for legislation separate from anti-terror laws to dismantle white supremacist groups.

But NCCM CEO Mustafa Farooq says that so far “national security agencies have ignored the challenge.”

He fears increased violence after the knifing murder of volunteer caretaker Mohamed-Aslim Zafis outside IMO Mosque in Toronto last September. That was followed by threats to downtown mosque warning of “another Christchurch.” The 34-year-old man charged with Zafis’ murder has been linked by the Canadian Anti-Hate Network to the UK-based neo-Nazi cult group known as 09A (Order of Nine Angels). Other militant white supremacist groups like the Three Percenters are said to have several Alberta mosques under surveillance. 

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh has gotten behind the NCCM’s effort, tabling a motion in the House this week calling on all parties to condemn white supremacy and list the Proud Boys, the group Trump exhorted to “Stand back and stand by” before the attack on the Capitol, as a terrorist organization. But that’s a trickier proposition. Its counterpart here in Canada, which has been linked to acts of violence, bears only a passing resemblance to the more militant U.S. group. Says Bernie Farber, chair of the Canadian Anti-Hate Network: “We have to show great care who we list as a terrorist organization so that it meets the constitutional test. You can’t call them terrorists just because they’re bad people.”

So what’s the solution?

Besides pushing social media companies to police online hate, Farber says getting police to enforce anti-hate laws already in place has historically been a problem. Human rights laws have been another avenue used to keep online hate in check. But that’s become more difficult since the Harper government repealed section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act in 2013, the provision that prohibited online communications “likely to expose a person or persons to hatred or contempt.”

“There’s no silver bullet,” says Perry, who notes “grooming” for entry into hate groups is already taking place on video gaming platforms.

More worrisome, she says, is the emergence of anti-state “lone actors” who do not necessarily affiliate with any particular group or movement but have been responsible for the deadliest incidents of violence in Canada. Those include Justin Bourque, who shot five RCMP officers killing three of them in a deliberate attack in 2014 aimed at sparking an “anti-government rebellion.” And, of course, Alexandre Bissonnette, the Trump fan and convicted murderer of six Muslim men at prayer in a mosque in Quebec City in 2017, whose online activity in the weeks prior to his attack included incel websites. Nineteen others were also injured in that attack.

Perry says anti-state actors “have emerged as the angriest, most aggressive element” online in recent months. “And to the extent that some are connected to militia and/or patriot movements, they are also often armed and trained. That’s a dangerous combination of attitude and skill.”

Trump may be out of the spotlight but the far-right forces given license under his presidency are already regrouping.

https://nowtoronto.com/news/donald-trump-and-the-rise-of-right-wing-extremism-in-canada

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