Monday, October 5, 2009

Stephen Harper and the Heritage Front Revisited

The man on the right is Wolfgang Droege, former leader of the Heritage Front, a neo-Nazi group that gained prominence when it was discovered that they were operating within the Reform Party.

Mr. Droege was murdered in 2005, putting an end to an era, but there are still many unanswered questions, at least unanswered to me.

How much did Stephen Harper and Preston Manning know of his activities? Why did it take them so long to react to the infiltration of neo-Nazis into the party? Why was he and the Heritage Front employed to handle security for Preston Manning?

According to Dr. Debra Chin of the Canadian, "Stephen Harper was Reform Party Policy chief, at a time when it had numerous members of the white supremacist group Heritage Front as members. ... Mr. Harper even had Heritage Front members doing security for Preston Manning at Reform Party events in Ontario."

Later reports from CSIS (Canadian Security Intelligence Service), indicate that it was Al Overfield who actually arranged this, at least the first time. "Overfield claims to have been out of politics for 15 years when he decided to become active again. When he joined the Reform Party of Canada he claims to have “let the Reform Party executive know about his political past, and they had no problems with it." Overfield stated that Reform Party member Harry Robertson admitted him to the Party and that future Prime Minister of Canada Stephen Harper was well aware of Overfield’s past involvement in far right groups. ... Harper denied such knowledge. "

According to Paul Fromm: "The attraction of Reform for (Al) Overfield and like-minded persons was that it was strictly white bread, 100 percent white Canadians, really anti-immigration; there was really no difference between those people and them."

When Preston Manning and his father Ernest created the manifesto 'Political Realignment', they knew that they would have to wait to launch the party until they could feed off 'white hot anger'. The only problem with harnessing anger is that you also unleash hatred.

As a result, when he finally did create the Reform Party, it became a perfect draw for these groups. However, I've been studying several of the 'legitimate' organizations now advocating for the Reform-Conservatives, and their rhetoric bears little difference from much that I've read coming from so-called 'hate' groups. Hate is hate, whether it's directed at Jews, ethnic minorities, gays, women, or even Liberals.

I thought that maybe I would do a chronology of events relating to Wolfgang Droege and the Heritage Front, from a variety of sources; in an attempt to make sense of it all. As with the other posts on the subject, I don't believe for even a second that Stephen Harper was ever a skinhead or a neo-Nazi; not that the groups he's currently involved with are any less dangerous.

The Northern Foundation and the Heritage Front

"‘The Northern Foundation was established in 1989, originally as a pro-South Africa group . . . lists among the founding members of the Foundation both William Gairdner and Stephen Harper ... " (Preston Manning and the Reform Party. Author: Murray Dobbin Goodread Biographies/Formac Publishing 1992 ISBN: 0-88780-161-7, pg. 100)

"... the Northern Foundation was the creation of a number of generally extreme right-wing conservatives, including Anne Hartmann (a director of REAL Women), Geoffrey Wasteneys (A long-standing member of the Alliance for the Preservation of English in Canada), George Potter (also a member of the Alliance for the Preservation of English in Canada), author Peter Brimelow, Link Byfield (son of Ted Byfield and himself publisher/president of Alberta Report), and Stephen Harper." (Of Passionate Intensity: Right-Wing Populism and the Reform Party of Canada. Author: Trevor Harrison Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1995. ISBN: 0-8020-7204-6, Pg. 121)

"Back home, Droege held low-key meetings with his new group in his apartment. They discussed their plans for their new group, and they discussed a name: the Heritage Front. One man, James Scott Dawson, registered the name; another Gerry Lincoln, designed a logo and some letterhead. Then, in November 1989, the Heritage Front went public. Droege, Lincoln and a few others travelled to Ottawa for the founding conference of the Northern Foundation. Droege had chosen a good place for his coming-out party." (Web of Hate: Inside Canada's Far Right Network - Author: Warren Kinsella Toronto : Harper Collins, pg 263-264)

"In late February 1991, Bill Dunphy exposed in the Sun the fact that Droege and four other Heritage Front activists maintained memberships in Toronto area Reform Party riding associations. Immediately thereafter, Reform Party leader Preston Manning ordered the group expelled." (Kinsella, 1994, pg. 243)

What is odd though is the fact that if Bill Dunphy exposed the Heritage Front's involvement in the Reform Party in February 1991, why did Droege provide security for a Reform rally in Mississauga in June of the same year: "The Source said that a few days before the Mississauga rally, Droege had said to Grant Bristow (the CSIS operative): "I need your help to do security for the Reform Party . Just prior to the Mississauga rally, on June 10, 1991, it was learned that Overfield was one of the Directors of the Beaches- Woodbine Reform Party riding association. Overfield had stated that he had a couple of men who were going to handle (i.e., protect) Manning because the police were refusing to give any assistance.... Droege too was to later say to the Review Committee that "their (Heritage Front) involvement, however, was not questioned by the Reform Party; the HF was 'not an issue', even though we were one of the main organizers". (Report to the Solicitor General of Canada Security Intelligence Review Committee December 9, 1994)

"The expulsion enraged the Heritage Front, which saw the Reform Party's policies as very similar to, if not indistinguishable from, its own. How could a party that went on record opposing immigration policies that "radically alter" Canada's ethnic make-up turn around and shun a group like the Heritage Front, Droege asked, when the Heritage Front supports the very same approach? Privately, spokesmen for B'nai Brith and the Canadian Jewish Congress admitted that Droege had a good point." (Kinsella, 1994, Pg. 243-44)

"The Heritage Front - This Ontario group is led by Wolfgang Droege, a forty-one-year-old naturalized Canadian from Germany who recently served two years in jail for plotting to overthrow the government of Dominica. His front claims a membership of 300 people. It has distributed its literature, calling for an all-white Canada, in various Toronto locations, including public schools. The Canadian Jewish Congress has lodged hate literature charges against the Front. Droege denies being racist, but does see Canada's immigration policy as a threat to whites, 'the most precious force on this planet ... we believe that eventually white people will become a minority in this country because of our immigration policies ... We are racial nationalists working for the interest of whites everywhere." Droege has given the Reform Party his seal of approval. 'They have given us some hope,' says the Heritage Front leader." (Rosie DiManno, Toronto Star, June 19, 1991)

"... an anti-Semitic column by former Texas KKK Grand Dragon Louis Beam Jr. (in one of the neo-nazi publications) the August 1992 issue carried a lengthy account of Wolfgang Droege's involvement with the Reform party.

Mr. Droege's comments are not unlike those of Reform Party member Doug Collins in his book Immigration. The Destruction of English Canada. When this became public, it was an embarrassment for the reform Party and they immediately demanded an investigation, suggesting that it was the Progressive Conservative party behind it. However the report indicated that the PCs had nothing to with it, but in fact stated that the party had been warned prior to the revelations.

I'm looking into it a little deeper, because this is important, especially if there are still links to the Reform-Conservatives. Wolfgang Droege may be dead, but intolerance within this party is still very much alive.

8 comments:

  1. did you check out canadian dimension, they ran a story many years ago about harper's U of Calgary brain trust, his advisors from the dept of poli science, who just happened to be americans who just coincidentally used to work for the CIA, as contractors, of course, just doing academic work, or maybe to influence albertan public opinion, well just look at the political climate there, esp in calgary, no doubt shaped by local media who got their opinions where, how??

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  2. I'd never heard of that connection. Thanks. I did come across an old Hansard from the Alberta (?) Legislature ... can't remember for sure. They were discussing cross burnings. Droege was in jail at the time but his wife/girlfriend was still running the show. The reporter who broke the story said he was surprised at how many 'suits' attended these things. This was right in the legislative business. To look at Harper now it's hard to imagine , but when you look at older photos. I don't know. He's a strange one. Maybe if he wasn't so bloody secretive.

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  3. How odd, indeed. I had understood Harper was pro-Israel Evangelical Christian, a religion supposed to believe Jews are destined to govern the world. Heritage Front? Or was the Heritage Front a double blind for something else?

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    1. Well ... look at the relationship between the far right groups of the 1930s. The Fascists, in Italy, had absolutely no interest in the Nazi racial doctrines - but nonetheless the two became fast friends owing to more fundamental grounds of agreement, such as their perspectives on democracy and civil rights. Harper was swimming in these circles as a matter of public record (he was interviewed by the SIRC over the Heritage Front affair, but he wasn't one of them - just an ideological ally for as long as they weren't a liability to him (which was until Heritage Front etc hit the headlines in the late 80s).

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  4. Hi there. How far left are you willing to be pushed? How 'bout world government? Here are some videos you might enjoy:

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    I recommend "While You Were Sleeping (2010)" as the first to see.

    Regards,
    Kathleen Moore
    HABEAS CORPUS CANADA
    The Official Legal Challenge
    To North American Union
    www.habeascorpuscanada.com

    FACEBOOK GROUPS:
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    * Habeas Corpus Canada (group)
    * Alice in Referendumland (free sample chapter linked)
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    * CAMPAIGN for the TRUTH on NORTH AMERICAN UNION, 9/11 and QUEBEC "SECESSION"
    * Constitutional Clubs of Canada
    * Domain Name Hell (general interest)

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  5. No it was jsut a neo-Nazi group that infiltrated the Reform Party

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  6. Hi Emily - thanks for this good work. A correction - toward the top the Debra Chin piece is in the Canadian, not Guardian.

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