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LOEWEN: From Stormfront to your front: When hate gets a free ride

Image Credit: Compilation/Jennifer Stahn
June 24, 2015 - 8:01 AM

“Things are slowly getting better, politically, in Canada,” said “WhitePridePatriot.”

“(H)ats off the (sic) Steven Harper and the Conservatives for Finlay (sic) scarping (sic) this "law"! Hats off to Ezra Levant and Mark Styne for challenging this and making this more widely known. Most importantly, hats off to unsung heroes Paul Fromm, Mark Lamiere, Doug Christie and Barbra Kulaska who fought tooth and nail right from day one to get rid of this abomination!” said “AngryGoy”

“canadafirst” opined that, “This is a huge victory for freedom in Canada. However, we still have other unjust zionist "hate" laws that need to go.”

And a beleaguered Canadian with now-renewed hope offered, “Way to go Harper. I know we can't get everything we want, but I stand a little taller today as a Canuck. The last time I felt this good was when they ditched the long gun registry. Let's hope this passing of sensible legislation is a trend.”

No doubt PM Stephen Harper would wish away the well-wishing from Canada’s far-right political fringes. Especially as these comments were all posted on, one of the Internet’s clearinghouses of hate and one of the most popular White Supremacist bulletin boards in the aether.

But the passing of Brian Storseth’s private member’s Bill C-304 in June of 2012 gave hate mongers from coast to coast much to celebrate. No longer would they need to worry that they and their internet-spread hate would be seen before a Canadian Human Rights Tribunal. They would be able to spread hate in the name of Free Speech to this day with impunity.

Fast-forward to the present day, and your Wednesday morning monologist continues to grieve over the freedoms granted potential domestic terrorists, while regular Canadian Muslims across the country fear a new climate of Islamophobia that stares them in the face every day of the blessed year.

The passing into law of Bill C-51, PM Harper’s so-called anti-terror legislation, has been one of the most divisive pieces of legislation to pass in recent memory. And with few substantive changes made to the bill, many of us continue to be extremely uncomfortable with its language, particularly as it applies to the word “terrorism.”

Because the federal government has been twisting itself into pretzels to distance itself from any terrorism that might be White Supremacist. They’re obviously more comfortable with seeing a more darkly-complected enemy in our midst, and it’s usually Muslim (or “Islamist” as they term it).

Look at recent examples.

When PM Harper ducked into a closet to evade the stalking of deeply-troubled gunman Michael Zihaf-Bibeau, he seems to have emerged emboldened and invigorated by the realization that the tragedy could be milked for all it was worth. Zihaf-Bibeau was immediately branded a “jihadist-terrorist” and the incident would become a convenient stepping stone on the road to further eviscerating Canadian rights and freedoms as seen in the passing of Bill C-51.

Several weeks later, Canada was heartened to hear of the RCMP foiling the Valentine’s Day plot to shoot up a Halifax Mall. The three young people involved shared a sinister fascination with the Columbine shooters, and Nazi iconography and ideology. And yet, both the RCMP and the government insisted on their plot to kill numerous innocents in a mall to be anything but terrorist in nature.

One wonders if the government views the recent murder of Edmonton Police Service Const. Daniel Woodall in a similarly benign manner. After all, Const. Woodall was the lead investigator on a troubling case involving Norman Walter Raddatz, whose year-long anti-semitic harassment of a fellow-citizen and his family brought him to the attention of the EPS.

In the end, Raddatz, who routinely described the police as “pigs” and gays as “sodomites,” a loner who flirted on his Facebook page with ideas espoused by the domestic terrorist “Freemen-On-The-Land” movement, lay dead in his basement; but not before murdering Const. Woodall.

We live in terrible times, it would appear. And the murder of nine parishioners in a Charleston, South Carolina church is only the latest abomination in that country’s long history of racially-motivated hate criminality.

And, again, it is an example of White Supremacist hate. Killer Dylann Roof’s so-called “manifesto” attests to this sad fact.

Surely it is time that our federal government calls attention to domestic terrorism and its threat. Much can be done in the way of education to draw attention to appropriate ways of dissenting in a nominally democratic country. Much can be done by a government to ensure that its citizens are vigilant against voices that would seek to deny expression to minorities.

But that government, it would seem, needs to be something other than the one led by PM Stephen Harper. Because the only potential terrorists he sees in our midst are potential political dissenters, and people who appear a little darker than most of the rest of us.

— Jeffrey Loewen is a Kelowna-based writer who plays music by day and politics by night

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