…and what do I find when I get back but that we have a neo-Nazi running for Mayor of Toronto, supported by Republicans from south of the border! I’m not making this up. We have ourselves an honest-to-God white supremacist, Nazi-sympathizing, racist anti-immigrant fascist running for Mayor of Toronto! That’s Toronto, Ontario, Canada, just to be clear.
This is of course beyond nuts, because:
a) anything involving the strangely resurgent variety of Nazi/fascist ideology that’s spreading like a hardy strain of cockroaches throughout the Western world is by definition beyond nuts; and
b) OK, political systems all over the place are suffering this neo-Nazi contagion, but Toronto!? C’mon. Really?
Yes, really. This seems surpassing strange at first blush, since Toronto would appear to be about the world’s least accommodating place to stand on a corner waving a Swastika whilst singing the Horst Wessel. The whole city represents an astonishing fruition of Pierre Trudeaus’s grand vision of Canada as a cultural mosaic, with a multitude of races, cultures and languages, including one of the world’s largest LGBTQ communities, existing in an overlapping patchwork that makes it perhaps the most diverse major metropolis on Earth. It’s not that there aren’t frictions from time to time, including a certain measure of American-style race relations issues between the Police and the Black community, but overall, we Canadians have taken what often devolves into strife and even civil war in other locales and turned it into a vast, joyous, and sometimes pleasantly raucous street party. Hop on any streetcar and you’ll pass through Italian, Chinese, Korean, Greek, Portuguese, and Vietnamese communities, and many others, too, depending; up where I live there’s a “little Malta”, with a bunch of Mediterranean ex-pats making a go of it in our more wintry clime.
Moreover, there’s nowhere that anybody like me is afraid to go, nowhere I’d be unwelcome, nowhere my custom would be rejected, and nowhere I wouldn’t be sufficiently understood while speaking my native English. There is nothing to be afraid of. Nothing. It’s fun. We’re proud of it. Smug, you want the truth. Multiculturalism is Toronto’s civic religion, and once you’ve lived here a while, cities with a more homogeneous population, like in my home town when I was growing up, seem to be lacking something vital.
So what gives? Or, first things first, who is this white supremacist neo-Nazi looking to attract voters in tolerant, multicultural Toronto? Well, contrary to expectation, our local aspiring Himmler isn’t the typically scrawny, pasty, diminutive exemplar of the Master Race, but rather an attractive woman named Faith Goldy, whose undoubted good looks probably have something to do with all the positive male energy she’s drawing from Republican circles in the U.S. – I’m reminded of Nora Ephron’s description of Tricia Nixon as a “chocolate-covered spider”.
That’s pretty nice packaging for a dripping carton of societal Ebola, right? Trust me, she may not present like the standard-issue jack-booted storm trooper, but Ms. Goldy, who was for years successfully disguised as a mainstream journalist, has all the credentials. She’s the real deal. Rather than regurgitate my own version of her CV, here’s an excerpt detailing her recent exploits, pilfered from Wikipedia:
In March 2017, Goldy posted on Twitter a video of herself in the Palestinian city of Bethlehem, expressing shock that she could hear an Islamic call to prayer in the city, and suggesting that “Bethlehem’s Christian population has been ethnically cleansed”. In June 2017, she broadcast on Rebel Media “White Genocide in Canada?”, analyzing the Canadian government’s foreign immigration policies with regard to the Third World, and the effect of those policies on the demographic composition of Canadian society. She posited that the European population in the country was being replaced as a result. In response to the broadcast, several corporate entities withdrew their financial support from Rebel Media.
Goldy broadcast a livestream in August 2017 covering the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, protesting the removal of Confederate monuments. Goldy mocked anti-fascist counter-protesters and complained of apparent police bias against the alt-right demonstrators. Goldy’s video also recorded the car attack which killed counter-protester Heather Heyer. Rebel Media co-founder Brian Lilley resigned after Goldy’s broadcasts were published to the site. Goldy was fired by co-founder Ezra Levant after she appeared on The Krypto Report, a podcast on the neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer. Levant explained that he had directed Goldy not to cover the events in Charlottesville and that her appearance on The Daily Stormer was “just too far”. Goldy later stated she had made “a poor decision” in consenting to the Stormer interview.
In December 2017, Goldy appeared on the alt-right podcast Millennial Woes and recited a white supremacist slogan, the Fourteen Words: “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children”. She continued: “I don’t see that as controversial … We want to survive.” As a result of reciting the slogan, crowdfunding site Patreon suspended her account in May 2018 and she was subsequently banned from PayPal that July. After losing her Patreon account, she began receiving contributions through an alternative crowdfunding system, Freestartr. This platform was itself shut out of PayPal the same month, leaving her unable to receive payments.
Hunh. I bet you didn’t even know there was a neo-Nazi website called “the Daily Stormer”. Golly fellas, what do you mean “stormer”? Do you storm things? Or are you storm chasers? Or what? Every single day? (I can imagine a good slogan for them: We don’t chase tornadoes, and no, Mr. Liebowitz, you can’t join the club).
Most annoyingly, US Republican politicians like Steve King and Rudy Giuliani keep showing up to lend support or give her hugs in grip-and-grin photo ops. King is an Iowa member of the House of Representatives, and well, he’s the biggest cootie I ever saw – scratch him and you get Martin Bormann. He tweeted this out a couple of days ago:
Pro-Western Civilization! Yay! You go, Goldy! Here’s Rudy:
Rudy’s crazy, of course, but I never figured him for a member of the Waffen SS. Probably he was just confused, you know how Rudy gets these days. He probably saw a pretty girl and figured why the Hell not. Shoot, point him at a hottie and he’d probably stand there smiling his dopey smile even if she was resplendent in period costume for a remake of Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS.
I wonder if Faith thinks this sort of endorsement is politically advantageous up here in Toronto?
It’s not that she has a shot at getting elected that makes me upset, since thankfully, she doesn’t. The last time I checked she was polling at about 1.5% (which makes me wonder, who the Hell are those 1.5 percenters?), about the same approval rating you’d get for mouth cancer if you took a scientific poll, you know, standard deviation +/- 3%. What’s vexing is that she exists at all, right where I live. I flee to Nova Scotia as often as possible these days, but my primary home is in Toronto, and it’s horrible to realize that what used to seem the safest of safe havens against extremism now shows signs of being infiltrated by alt-right and extreme right maniacs.
Yet Toronto never was entirely free of this sort of thing, not really; Ms. Goldy is just tipping over a rock and allowing a little sunlight to bathe the greeblies that have always lived there. I should know, actually, since decades ago, I lived just about a half-block from famed Holocaust denier Ernst Zundel, in Cabbagetown (cue the Sesame Street song: Oh, the Nazi is a person in your neigh-bour-hood). Later, one of my first assignments as a budding lawyer was on a file for the Canadian Radio and Telecommunications Commission, who were investigating a potential breach of hate speech broadcasting laws by an organization billing itself as the Heritage Front. The Heritage Front had set up shop in Toronto, under the auspices of a guy who looked a little like a smaller version of Wolfman Jack, with the similar-sounding handle Wolfgang Droege. He was quite the blonde-haired, blue-eyed Aryan, our Wolfgang:
He had just a few hangers-on, including a little weasel named Gary Schipper, whose job it was to maintain the Heritage Hotline, which was what got the CRTC interested. The Heritage Hotline was nothing more than a phone number that reached an answering machine in Gary Schipper’s residence, upon which Gary recorded an outgoing Hate Message of the Day. It was rousing stuff. Sometimes it was recordings of rants by Wolfgang, sometimes it was songs sung by Klan members (would you ever have suspected that the Ku Klux Klan boasted its own stable of recording artists?), sometimes it was an inspirational message about white genocide authored, one supposes, by Schipper himself. According to Schipper, as I recall, I shouldn’t even be typing this, because the White Race should have already gone extinct by now.
My job was to dial up the Heritage Hotline every day, and make my own recording of Schipper’s daily offering, then get it transcribed for later use as evidence. I ended up with a binder so full of ugly racist vitriol that I found it emotionally necessary to keep it under lock and key, in a dark place where it couldn’t get out and hurt anybody. At the time, I was new to the notion of home-grown versions of Adolph’s Greatest Hits, and it really was shocking.
Eventually we took them to Federal Court to get an injunction and shut the Heritage Hotline down for good. I remember at the hearing almost falling in love with a cool looking reporter, from the Globe and Mail I think, who sauntered into the court room in jeans and a leather jacket, sat down, threw his arms casually over the back of the bench, and crossed his legs, waiting for the thing to begin. He looked like Steve McQueen. As he sat there, impassive, a group of wannabe Hitler Youth, all decked out in nasty tattoos, studded wristbands, and the usual bad boy regalia, came in to offer support for their side, and when they spotted the reporter they marched over to confront him. They leaned over him looking menacing, and demanded he account for himself.
“Who the fuck are you??”, says one.
No answer. The reporter didn’t even look at him, or change his nonchalant posture on the bench.
“I said, WHO THE FUCK ARE YOU??”
The reporter lifted his gaze, slowly, looked the punk in the eye, and in a perfect Bugs-Bunny-dealing-with-Yosemite-Sam-in-the-saloon idiom said “Nyahhhh, fuck off”.
“Are YOU telling ME to FUCK OFF???!!!”
“Yes, I – am telling you – to fuck off”. The reporter then looked away and resumed his oblivious, calm, uncaring attitude, and the punk, nonplussed, stood there for a few seconds, sighed, and walked away to find his own seat a couple of rows over.
We promptly obtained the injunction, the Heritage Hotline was stifled, and a while later Wolfgang Droege was shot dead, not for any reason you’d expect, but in some sort of lover’s quarrel, or triangle, or something. His pecker got him killed, as it so often does with such guys. After that, plans for the Fourth Reich had to be shelved for a bit.
That was 26 years ago, now. Until recently, I was kind of imagining that the Heritage Front was the last of the Toronto Nazis, but you never see the last of them, really. There’s always going to be more, because there’s always going to be frightened little losers, and fear and hate go hand in hand.
Hey, Faith! What the guy from the Globe and Mail said.