Loss of Freedoms & Canada’s End the Lockdown Movement

Loss of Freedoms & Canada’s End the Lockdown Movement

[On May 17, the Globe and Mail published an opinion piece co-authored by Bernie Farber smearing the END THE LOCKDOWN rallies. For several days, I sought to reach the editor and Opinion Page editor of the Globe. They are unreachable by phone.  I sent an e-mail proposing a rebuttal piece. I got no answer. I submitted a response which forms part of the article below. I received no answer. The Globe happily publishes smears by one of Canada’s most notorious opponents of free speech, but permits no reply. Here is the Farber hatchet job: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/article-the-overlap-between-lockdown-agitators-and-hate-groups-is-a-threat-to/]

            Since mid-March, 2020, End the Lockdown rallies have been a regular weekly occurrence in cities across Canada. At first, most of the press ignored them or dismissed them, as Ontario’s Premier Doug Ford did, a “a bunch of yahoos.” However, their staying and spread across the Dominion have made them impossible to ignore.

            So, many in the elite have changed their tune.

            Calgary’s mayor Naheed Nenshi is a Moslem who alleges that the End The Lockdown Movement is a vast rightwing conspiracy. “They are people who are marching in thinly veiled white nationalist supremacist anti-government protests,” he said. His accusations were echoed by Jagmeet Singh, he of the rainbow coloured collection of turbans, the $2,000 suits, the BMW Coup, hailed by BuzzFeed  as the “most stylish politician in Canada”. He is a supporter of the radical Sikh Khalistan movement and, in 2013, was banned from India. He heads the socialist New Democratic Party in the Dominion Parliament. Recently Singh said the protests are part of “extreme right-wing ideology.” He complained “To brazenly not follow public-health guidelines puts people at risk and that is something that we’ve seen with extreme right-wing ideology, ”

            And Bernie Farber, long one of Canada’s fiercest opponents of free speech weighed in. Writing in the Globe and Mail (May 17, 2021)he alleged: “The principal actors of the anti-lockdown movement have either been or rubbed elbows with some significant haters on the scene. Vancouver neo-Nazi Brian Ruhe, Quebec’s far-right conspiracy streamer Alexis Cossette-Trudel, a big name among France’s QAnon following, is an important mouthpiece of the francophone anti-lockdown movement. Neo-Nazi Paul Fromm is a fixture at rallies in both Ontario and in Kelowna, B.C. Antimask activist Chris Saccoccia’s social-media feeds feature Holocaust denial and racist posts.” Farber was for years the CEO of the Canadian Jewish Congress, whose lobbying brought about Canada’s notorious Sec. 319 of the Criminal Code, the “hate law”. Farber lobbied mightily to have me fired from my 25-year teaching position as an English instructor in Peel County. He now heads the Canadian Anti-Hate Network (CAHN), funded by federal government grants and a huge donation from the Bank of Montreal.

            The CAHN tosses around the smear “neo-Nazi” promiscuously. Farber’s fellow board member at the Canadian Anti-Hate Network Evan Balgord elaborated on the conspiracy theory: “We have two pandemics: We have the actual pandemic and then we have this pandemic of hate.Things are kind of getting worse both online and offline … with maybe one pandemic, we have kind of a solution for, but the hate thing, we don’t have a vaccine for that.” The Toronto Star (May 10, 2021) quoted Balgord: “Balgord said such events make for ‘fertile hunting’ for new recruits because hateful ideas are not being policed, and once someone believes in one conspiracy theory, it’s easy to believe in others. ‘We now have a greatly increased number of people who are coming into close contact with racists and bigots of all stripes with more conspiracy theories.'” he said.

            As early as last December, Canada’s censorship lobby was sounding the alarm. The Kelowna Courier (December 18, 2020) reported: “Anti-mask and anti-lockdown rallies in Kelowna have caught the attention of anti-hate groups across Canada because of what they say are ties to a known Canadian white supremacist. According to Elizabeth Simons, deputy director of the Canadian Anti-Hate Network, the presence of Paul Fromm at several local rallies dating back to the spring, and his association with rally organizer David Kevin Lindsay, are troubling.

            Fromm has been described by anti-hate groups as a known neo-Nazi. According to Simonds, far-right and white-nationalist groups and supporters are directly involved in organizing many similar rallies across Canada. ‘It’s hugely concerning seeing this trend right across the country,’ she said.”

            Jewish lobby groups have, in the past, been adept at “divide and conquer”, decreeing who may associate with whom or meet with whom without being tainted.

            However, with Canada’s End the Lockdown movement, the old tactic is just not working. That’s because of the nature of the movement, as I shall explain. If the End the Lockdown movement is not a vast rightwing conspiracy, then what is it? As they say on the dating sites: “It’s complicated.”

            On  May 17, the Globe ran an opinion piece by Bernie Farber and David Fisman entitled “Overlap between lockdown agitators and hate groups is a threat to us all” which caricatured the END THE LOCKDOWN rallies that have occurred on a weekly across the Dominion.

            A reader, uninformed by information available on the Internet or his own experience at a local rally, might conclude these rallies comprised people strutting around in funny armbands or earnest conspiracy weirdos with tinfoil hats. Nothing could be further from the truth.

            Attend one of these rallies and, although the attendees are angry at the job killing lockdowns, and  the loss of freedom to gather to worship, you find a happy atmosphere, reminiscent of a 60s love-in. Far from being a “hate group”, these rallies are joyous events, often with people dancing to boom box music and songs like Twisted Sister’s “We’re not gonna take it anymore” or Rolling Stones Mick Jagger’s new anti-lockdown song “Easy Sleazy”. No one wears a mask — well, occasionally, some wit wears one of those mediaeval doctor’s masks that looks like a bird’s beak. People embrace and hug complete strangers. Everyone is welcome. Indeed, one of the groups participating in many rallies is called Hugs Over Masks. In Toronto, a Chinese lady circulates through the crowd offering a tray of her home-baked treats free to fellow “freedom fighters.” Sadly, this elegant lady, in high heels and a fashionable dress,  was handcuffed and arrested on May 8 for being in possession of a megaphone.

            The END THE LOCKDOWN rallies are a political protestof a sort unseen since World War II. They started in Vancouver in mid-March 2020 The next weekend, they spread to Toronto. Those calling for an end to the crippling lockdown were sniffily dismissed by Premier Ford as “a bunch of yahoos”. Ironically, many of these people had been part of his populist “Ford Nation.”

            Since then, the rallies have spread right across the country. The remarkable fact about these protests is their regularity and consistency. They occur weekly in cities large and small. Movements in the past have staged mass rallies but not weekly and not right across the country. In the late ’60s, the left organized large anti-war demonstrations in major cities opposing the war in Vietnam twice a year. Similarly, in the mid-80s, the left staged large demonstrations against President Reagan’s star wars programme. Although these demonstrations were large, they were not weekly. Other groups have organized large protests but only on occasion like Right to Life’s annual pro-life rally in Ottawa  and demonstrations against specific legislation like more stringent gun control.

            The consistency and persistence of the END THE LOCKDOWN rallies are remarkable and they have spread and become a weekly occurrence from Kelowna to Penticton to Kamloops to Calgary to Edmonton to Fort McMurray to Saskatoon to Brantford and many other places. These rallies are really like ’60s “happenings.” The word goes out, usually over the Internet and concerned people show up, often with little advance notice and usually with little media attention. For instance, on May  14, over an estimated 50,000 END THE LOCKDOWN supporters gathered in Queen’s Park and heard speakers like Maxime Bernier, leader of the populist People’s Party of Canada. The rally and Mr. Bernier’s message went all but uncovered in the mainstream media. That evening, a smaller demonstration estimated at about 5,000  people supporting Palestine had sporadic clashes with a smaller group supporting Israel at Nathan Phillips Square. That was the event that got all the media attention.

            Participants hail from a wide range of backgrounds. I have talked to participants who voted Liberal, NDP, Green, Conservative or People’s Party in the last election. Mr. Farber, who, I suspect, has never attended an END THE LOCKDOWN rally, alleges participants are dedicated to “an anti-public health agenda aimed at undermining the Canadian economy and the health and well-being of Canadians”.

            What unites these people, young and old, working class, middle-class, rural, urban, is a passionate attachment to freedoms they see being vacuumed away in government lockdowns and restrictions. Far from undermining the economy, they want the economy re-opened and the job and business crippling lockdowns ended, perhaps like the state of Florida which is wide open, with businesses open and no enforced mask mandate and an infection rate slightly lower than Ontario, which has been locked down since November.

            Some from the start some feared that enforced masking was a dry run for forced vaccination. Now, there is widespread talk of some sort of proof of vaccination being a requirement for air travel, attendance at sporting event or entry to certain jobs.

            Many are appalled by the loss of religious freedom. Three Alberta pastors have been handcuffed and jailed for holding Sunday services. Yes, in Alberta, not North Korea. A ban or severe limitation on gatherings essentially cancelled Christmas and Easter worship. Religious folk and many civil libertarians are horrified at the padlocking of defiant Christian churches as has happened to Pastor Henry Hildebrandt’s in Aylmer and Pastor James Coates’ in Edmonton.

            The essential spirit of the END THE LOCKDOWN rallies was captured at a mass protest on a scorching July 1, Canada Day, on Parliament Hill. A sea of Canadian flags and some old Red Ensigns is one section set up a booming chant of “Freedom, Freedom” to be answered by a sea of Quebec Fleur de lys flags and a few flags from the Revolution of 1837 in another section and their chant “liberte, liberte”. — Paul Fromm

groups participating in many rallies is called Hugs Over Masks. In Toronto, a Chinese lady circulates through the crowd offering a tray of her home-baked treats free to fellow “freedom fighters.” Sadly, this elegant lady was handcuffed and arrested on May 8 for being in possession of a megaphone.

            The END THE LOCKDOWN rallies are a political protest unseen since World War II. They started in Vancouver in mid-March 2020 The next weekend, they spread to Toronto. Those calling for an end to the crippling lockdown were sniffily dismissed by Premier Ford as “a bunch of yahoos”. Ironically, many of these people had been part of his Ford Nation.

            Since then, the rallies have spread right across the country. The remarkable fact about these protests is their regularity and consistency. They occur weekly in cities large and small. Movements in the past have staged mass rallies but not weekly and right across the country. In the late ’60s, the left staged large anti-war demonstrations in major cities opposing the war in Vietnam twice a year. Similarly, in the mid-80s, the left staged large demonstrations against President Reagan’s star wars programme. Although these demonstrations were large, they were not weekly. Other groups have staged large protests but only on occasion like Right to Life’s annual pro-life rally in Ottawa  and demonstrations against specific legislation like more stringent gun control.

            The consistency and persistence of the END THE LOCKDOWN rallies are remarkable and they have spread and become a weekly occurrence from Kelowna to Penticton to Kamloops to Calgary to Edmonton to Fort McMurray to Saskatoon to Brantford and many other places. These rallies are really like ’60s “happenings.” The word goes out, usually over the Internet and concerned people show up, often with little advance notice and usually with little media attention. For instance, on May  14, over an estimated 50,000 END THE LOCKDOWN supporters gathered in Queen’s Park and heard speakers like Maxime Bernier. The rally and Mr. Bernier’s message went all but uncovered in the mainstream media. That evening, a smaller demonstration estimated at about 5,000  people supporting Palestine had sporadic clashes with a smaller group supporting Israel at Nathan Phillips Square. That was the event that got all the media attention.

            Participants hail from a wide range of backgrounds. I have talked to participants who voted Liberal, NDP, Green, Conservative or People’s Party in the last election. Mr. Farber, who, I suspect, has never attended an END THE LOCKDOWN rally, alleges participants are dedicated to “an anti-public health agenda aimed at undermining the Canadian economy and the health and well-being of Canadians”.

PAUL AND LILY ON PARLIAMENT HILL.jpg

            What unites these people, young and old, working class, middle-class, rural, urban, is a passionate attachment to freedoms they see being vacuumed away in government lockdowns and restrictions. Far from undermining the economy, they want the economy re-opened and the job and business crippling lockdowns ended, perhaps like the state of Florida which is wide open, with businesses open and no enforced mask mandate and an infection rate slightly lower than locked down Ontario.

            Some from the start some feared that enforced masking was a dry run for forced vaccination. Now, there is widespread talk of some sort of proof of vaccination being a requirement for air travel, attendance at sporting event or entry to certain jobs.

            Many are appalled by the loss of religious freedom. Three Alberta pastors have been handcuffed and jailed for holding Sunday services. Yes, in Alberta, not North Korea. A ban or severe limitation on gatherings essentially cancelled Christmas and Easter worship. Religious folk and many civil libertarians are horrified at the padlocking of defiant Christian churches as has happened to Pastor Henry Hildebrandt in Aylmer and Pastor James Coates in Edmonton.

DOMINION DAY RALLY PAUL 2.JPG

​​

            The essential spirit of the END THE LOCKDOWN rallies was captured at a mass protest on a scorching July 1, Canada Day, on Parliament Hill. A sea of Canadian flags and some old Red Ensigns is one section set up a booming chant of “Freedom, Freedom” to be answered by a sea of Quebec Fleur de lys flags and a few flags from the Revolution of 1837 in another section and their chant “liberte, liberte”. — Paul Fromm

Democracy is dead in Canada by Patriot Gus

Democracy is dead in Canada by Patriot Gus

Democracy is dead in Canada as proven by the Canadian Nationalist Party (CNP). When I first learned of CNP with its “Canada First” and “Traditional version of Canada” policies and directions, I immediately wanted to support it and joined as a member.

In 2019 the members were seeking Party registration with Elections Canada and once eligible, a group known as antihate.ca which is government funded and seeks to profit by squelching political opposition to the current government, threatened to release publicly the names and addresses of CNP registrars as is their right to do so for those names and addresses were public record and made available to anyone who asked for them.

As reported by CBC news, even former Winnipeg Police Chief warned that trying to publicly shame CNP members could incite violence not only for CNP members but for their families and children by those who don’t agree with CNPs political opinions. Despite the consequences of Elections Canada and antihate.ca actions, they did not heed the Police Chiefs warning.

The news report can be seen here:

Canadian Nationalist Party concerned about release of members’ identities https://www.youtube.com/embed/cNefy58KJzY
Furthermore shortly after Party registration, CNP sought to rent publicly funded spaces such is in local Legions, libraries and University campuses for meetings but were denied without reason.

Now ask yourself do you still think we’re living in a Democracy?

Salim Mansur Answers CAHN Free Speech Hater Evan Balgord

Salim Mansur Answers CAHN Free Speech Hater Evan Balgord http://cafe.nfshost.com/?p=3395

 

Opinion: I am a PPC candidate and I am not a racist
I am a member of the People’s Party. In fact, I am likely more “evil” than most. You see, I worked on the PPC immigration policy and I am a PPC candidate in London, Ont.
OPINION Sep 27, 2019 by Salim Mansur Hamilton Spectator
haskell

On Wednesday an op-ed appeared in the Spectator’s opinion section. Written by Evan Balgord, Executive Director of the Canadian Anti-Hate Network, it called for Mohawk College to cancel an event at which Maxime Bernier, the leader of the People’s Party of Canada, and YouTube talk-show host, David Rubin, were to discuss the erosion of freedom of expression in Canada.

 

Reacting to Balgord’s call to arms, a local group of Antifa activists has vowed to cause mayhem should the event at Mohawk College go ahead as planned. Their name, incidentally, is short for anti-fascist; a paradox given their totalitarian behaviour.

Of course, Balgord’s insistence that the free expression rights of a federal party leader be quashed underscores the importance of this topic and the scheduled talk. I’ll return to that in a moment.

But first I want to examine the justification Balgord gives for employing the methods of totalitarian regimes.

He makes the claim that freedom of speech and freedom of assembly must be quashed because Maxime Bernier and the People’s Party promotes racism.

By that kind of fractured logic, I must be a racist too.

I am a member of the People’s Party. In fact, I am likely more “evil” than most. You see, I worked on the PPC immigration policy and I am a PPC candidate in London, Ont.

Does this make me a racist? In Balgord’s logic it does.

But the Senate of Canada considered my years of effort in reconciling people of different faiths, especially Jews, Christians and Muslims, and together promote peace, as worthy to award me in 2017 with the Senate Sesquicentennial Medal celebrating the 150th anniversary of the founding of our Dominion.

I am professor emeritus, political science, at Western University where some of my work was dedicated to defending Canada’s liberal democratic values of rights and freedoms against those seeking to erode them.

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I am a survivor of genocidal war in Bangladesh, former East Pakistan, waged by the Pakistani army and Islamist collaborators, who have weaponized my faith-tradition for political purpose, causing havoc across the world.

I came to Canada as refugee. I am Muslim. And now I see the ideology and people that wrecked my homeland ensconced in my adopted country. They have become embedded in our mainstream political parties, pushing their anti-modern values into the bloodstream of Canadian culture and politics.

Yet, Balgord insinuates members and supporters of PPC, including me, are racists.

It is far-left ideology that motivates Balgord’s totalitarian behaviour and it’s now promoted in our universities and condoned by many in the media. Under this worldview, one must worship at the altar of identity politics. Heretics will be “burned at the stake” (increasingly, the threats and violence are becoming more than just figurative).

They want to stifle free speech in the name of fighting racism.

The irony is the activity of Balgord and his Antifa supporters are vulgar, un-Canadian and, plainly stated, racist.

It was the Chinese dissident and prisoner of conscience, Liu Xiaobo, who stated in his 2010 Nobel Peace Prize address that he could not deliver in person: “Freedom of expression is the foundation of human rights, the source of humanity, and the mother of truth. To strangle freedom of speech is to trample on human rights, stifle humanity, and suppress truth.”

Liu Xiaobo died in hospital in 2017 after spending years in Chinese Communist prisons and just being released from his latest sentence.

If we allow Balgord and his people to stifle our free speech, we are then heading down fast on a slippery slope toward a state of affairs against which individuals like Liu Xiaobo, Vaclav Havel, Solzhenitsyn and others struggled at the risk of their lives.

I found freedom in Canada. Balgord wants to take away that freedom from me on the false argument that allowing PPC to hold a free speech gathering in Hamilton will stoke racism.

I will speak on Sunday night at the event in Hamilton. I will talk about freedom and that without free speech there is no freedom.

Canadians fought and sacrificed twice in the last century defending freedom and saving Europe from totalitarian serfdom. Children of those Canadians who died in Dieppe and Normandy will not be bulldozed into silence by Balgord and his Antifa thugs.

Salim Mansur is the PPC Candidate for London North Centre

 

Antifa Terrorists threaten to shut down Dave Rubin and Maxime Bernier event at Canadian college 

Antifa Terrorists threaten to shut down Dave Rubin and Maxime Bernier event at Canadian college  

 

Cowardly administrations & and the anti-free speech terrorists. Antifa Terrorists threaten to shut down Dave Rubin and Maxime Bernier event at Canadian college .

As a publicly funded institution, Mohawk should provide space and security for such an event. If the threat is beyond them, call the police. Let the cops get out from behind their revenuing photo raadar and do their real job of ensuring law and order!

 

Evan Balgord of the wildly anti-free speech Canadian Anti-Hate (anti-free speech) Network says Mohawk College shouldn’t have rented space for the event. Au contraire, as a publicly funded institution if must not and should not discriminate. We are all taxpayers.

 

 

BREAKING: Activists threaten to shut down Dave Rubin and Maxime Bernier event at Canadian college
Culture

BREAKING: Activists threaten to shut down Dave Rubin and Maxime Bernier event at Canadian college

It appears that Dave Rubin’s event with Canadian candidate for Prime Minister Maxime Bernier may have its venue cancelled. This development occurred after local threats against the venue by Antifa, as well as the publication of a bizarre and defamatory op-ed in The Hamilton Spectator.

“It appears that my event with [Maxime Bernier] on September 29th has been cancelled due to threats from Antifa and this insane piece in the local paper. The school is now demanding 10 times the original security costs and could demand more before showtime,” Rubin tweeted this evening.

Dave Rubin

@RubinReport

It appears that my event with @MaximeBernier on September 29th has been cancelled due to threats from Antifa and this insane piece in the local paper. The school is now demanding 10 times the original security costs and could demand more before showtime: https://www.thespec.com/opinion-story/9614811-mohawk-college-should-have-declined-to-rent-space-to-maxime-bernier/ 

View image on TwitterView image on Twitter
2,223 people are talking about this

The op-ed, written by Evan Balgord, states that Rubin is a “far-right YouTube personality and a significant part of a radicalization process ushering people into the neo-Nazi movement.”

Rubin has recently interviewed three Democratic presidential candidates on his popular YouTube show, The Rubin Report. The notion that a moderate, classical liberal talk show host who advocates for ideological diversity and free speech is “ushering people into the neo-Nazi movement” is beyond insane. One has to wonder how this opinion piece got past the editors at The Spec.

The Post Millennial reached out to Rubin who said, “I don’t know where these threats came from, nor who the ‘journalist’ who wrote this ridiculous piece of fiction is. I was looking forward to talking to Maxime about freedom and liberty in front of hundreds of good people. I intend to be at the event as expected.”

That journalist’s bio lists him as the Executive Director of the Canadian Anti-Hate Network. This is a group that also convinced a Winnipeg gallery to cancel a People’s Party of Canada event, in coordination with Winnipeg anti-fascist groups and the arts community.

Rubin says that at this point they are unsure if they will need to seek out a new venue or if the matter can be settled, but he has already committed to waiving his speaking fee to put toward the security costs that the venue is now attempting to enforce. Rubin has made a career of open dialogue and debate.

Dave Rubin

@RubinReport

Hi @ebalgord, can you point out my far right cred? Or how I’ve led anyone to the neo-Nazi movement? I lost family in the Holocaust and grew up around survivors you sniveling, pathetic, weasel of a human…

View image on Twitter

Dave Rubin

@RubinReport

I have just offered to cover the 10x security fee myself. cc: @BarrettWilson6 @GadSaad @MaximeBernier

722 people are talking about this

The fact that a popular talk show host and a legitimate candidate for Canadian Prime Minister could be labelled as hateful figures is preposterous enough. But now they have now been targeted by far-left ideologues to the point where their speech is in danger of being silenced. This is unacceptable and Canadians must not stand by and let it happen.

BLOW IT OUT YOUR EAR, BERNIE!

THE CANADIAN RED ENSIGN

The Canadian Red Ensign

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 4, 2019

Blow It Out Your Ear, Bernie!

It would almost seem as if Bernie Farber is trying to set a world record. That would be the world record for the number of unrelated news stories in which someone who is neither a celebrity nor a world leader appears within a short period of time. In the last half of August he appeared in connection with three stories of which I am aware. Perhaps there are others that I have not seen. He appeared on television and was quoted in the newspapers in connection with the story about a member of the Canadian Armed Forces Reserves who was accused of recruiting for a supposed neo-Nazi organization. He was also quoted in reference to the sentencing of Dr. James Sears who had been found guilty of the promotion of hatred in his satirical Your Ward News. I am sure that few of you will be surprised to learn that rather than lamenting and decrying this latest blow to freedom of thought and expression, as any decent Canadian would, Farber expressed an attitude that struck me as being smug, self-satisfied, cocky, hubristic, and downright arrogant.

The third story is the one that really takes the cake. Grant Hunter is a member of Alberta’s provincial Legislative Assembly and a minister in the province’s government. He holds the portfolio for red tape reduction. I have not checked, but I suspect that Alberta is the only province in the Dominion with such a ministry. Since red tape is generated by bureaucracy, expanding the bureaucracy for the purpose of reducing it seems slightly counterproductive to me, but apparently Mr. Hunter is of another opinion. He has come under criticism for a tweet that said the following:

Wernher von Braun said, “To conquer the universe you’d have to solve two problems: gravity and red tape.” We’ve made it clear that we are committed to reducing red tape in Alberta. Lots more to come.

It is not the part of the tweet in which he toots his own ministry’s horn for which he has been criticized, but for the opening quotation. He removed the tweet after a bunch of triggered snowflakes jumped down his throat. A more appropriate response would have been to tell them to stuff it.

The objection to the quotation is based not upon what it says but upon who said it. Wernher von Braun was a German aerospace engineer – in layman’s terms that means rocket scientist. He turned twenty-one shortly after Adolf Hitler became Germany’s Chancellor in 1933 and in 1937, like any other German in those days who valued his professional career – the philosopher Martin Heidegger and the industrialist Oskar Schindler are other famous examples that come to mind – he joined the Nazi Party. He served the Third Reich in his professional capacity as one of the leading scientists in their rocket development program, and yes, the rockets were designed for military purposes rather than space exploration. Then, following the Reich’s defeat in 1945, he and several others who had worked under him were drafted by the United States government to serve their military in basically the same capacity. It was undoubtedly von Braun who was foremost in legendary filmmaker Stanley Kubrick’s mind when he made fun of the American government’s recruitment of scientists, engineers, and other technical experts from Nazi Germany in his hilarious 1964 dark comedy Dr. Strangelove or How I Learned How to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. However, von Braun served the United States much longer than he served the Third Reich and was essentially the architect of the American space program.

Unlike Bernie Farber, Wernher von Braun was a brilliant scientist who achieved great things, and until very recently the idea that he was tainted with the crimes of the government he worked for at the beginning of his career and that quoting him is some sort of grave moral offense would not have been taken seriously and anyone silly enough to propose it would have found himself laughed to scorn. Sadly, those days are behind us and so we find CBC News reporting on Hunter’s tweet, the silly backlash, and its removal, and sure enough, there is Bernie waiting and ready to toss his two cents in:

“It was an unnecessary quote,” said Bernie Farber, chair of the Canadian Anti-Hate Network and former CEO of the Canadian Jewish Congress.
“He’s at best a controversial figure. He is for sure a Nazi and … it was silly to quote a man like him. Politicians have to know better,” Farber said. “I just think it shows his [Hunter’s] thoughtlessness.”

Farber, whose organization monitors hate groups, said he doesn’t think people’s concerns about the quote’s use are being overblown. It would have been easy to quote a Canadian economist or another figure on the topic of red tape, he said.
“I just think [Hunter] should acknowledge he should have made a better choice in terms of who to quote and apologize,” Farber said. “That’s always the way forward out of things like this to acknowledge your mistake and move forward.”

Not a single one of these statements is accurate. Von Braun, at his best, was a genius, a pioneer in the field of rocket science, whose work laid the foundation of space exploration and gave subsequent generations a new heroic role model to add to policeman, soldier, and fireman – the astronaut. As for his being a Nazi, it would seem that English verb tenses are not Farber’s strong suit. The present tense is hardly appropriate for someone who has been dead for forty-two years and whose membership in the Nazi Party ended thirty-two years prior to his death. Perhaps Farber holds to a rather twisted version of Calvinism and believes “once a Nazi, always a Nazi.” It was not silly to quote von Braun, what is silly is Farber’s attitude about all of this. There is no indication here of any “thoughtlessness” on Hunter’s part, and there is absolutely no need for him to apologize. Indeed, there is a need for him, Hunter that is, not to apologize, because he is the victim of a form of bullying, and the true way forward in this situation is to refuse to apologize to people who do not deserve an apology and to tell them to take their manufactured offense and blow it out their ears.

If anyone should be apologizing over a quotation it ought to be the news media apologizing to the Canadian public for inflicting so many Bernie Farber quotes on us. By uncritically accepting him as the expert on hate and hate groups that he has appointed himself to be, much as the American media used to do with Morris Dees and his Southern Poverty Law Center [sic] before that organization’s reputation finally collapsed under allegations of hypocrisyshady fundraisingserial defamation, and the like, they have lent him a credibility that in my opinion he does not deserve. Incidentally – or perhaps not, I’ll let readers judge for themselves – when Farber and Evan Balgord founded the Canadian Anti-Hate Network, of which Farber is chairman, last year it was with a start-up grant from the SPLC, and the organization, in a letter to the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security that was signed by Farber and Balgord, along with two of its board members, said of itself “The organization is modeled after, and supported by, the esteemed Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) in the United States.”

I first remember hearing the name Bernie Farber around the turn of the millennium. At the time the Liberal Party, headed by Jean Chretien, had been governing the Dominion since 1993 and their Immigration ministers had been trying to strip several elderly men of their citizenship and deport them. These were men of German and Ukrainian ethnicity, who had fled to Canada as refugees following the Soviet takeover of Eastern Europe at the end of the Second World War. They had been teenagers during the war and had been forced by the Nazis to serve the German forces in various auxiliary capacities, usually as interpreters but in some cases also as guards. On February 2, 1997, CBS aired an episode of 60 Minutes in which the main segment was entitled “Canada’s Dark Secret.” In this segment Mike Wallace interviewed a private investigator named Steven Rambam who claimed that Canada was a haven for Nazi war criminals. The Liberal government, in response, was trying to project an image of clamping down on Nazi war criminals and since there were no Adolf Eichmanns or Klaus Barbies at hand to prosecute they decided to pick on these men instead. Cheering them on at every turn was the Canadian Jewish Congress, which had hired Rambam and for which Bernie Farber worked as Executive Director for the Ontario Region and National Director of Community Relations. Later Farber was promoted to Chief Executive of the entire organization before it was taken over by the Canadian Council for Israel and Jewish Advocacy which soon after renamed itself the Centre for Jewish and Israel Affairs and dissolved the CJC. Farber had also been interviewed by Mike Wallace in the aforementioned 60 Minutes segment and in the controversy surrounding the attempted deportations was frequently quoted as supporting the government’s actions.

Peter Worthington, the late, great, founding editor of the Toronto Sun, went to bat for the elderly Ukrainians who were being so unjustly railroaded. He was particularly incensed over the cases of Wasyl Odynsky and Helmut Oberlander. Odynsky had been forced by the SS, during the German occupation of the Ukraine, to serve as a concentration camp guard. The Nazis told him they would kill him if he refused and would kill his family if he ran away. Oberlander, a Ukrainian of German ancestry, was forced by the Nazis to serve as a translator and supply guard for the Einsatzgruppe. Neither man served the Nazis voluntarily, nor was either of them an active participant in the war crimes of the Schutzstaffel. As Worthington put it in his column for April 29, 2001:

Men like Odynsky and Oberlander were victims, too – first of Sovietism which seized their country, then of the Nazis and now of a misguided quest for justice without discretion. 

That column, entitled “Ukrainian Teens Were Nazi Victims” was written as a rebuttal of one by Bernie Farber that had appeared the previous day, itself in response to an earlier column by Worthington on the subject. Farber took the position that these men deserved to be deported, because even though they may not have tortured and murdered anyone themselves, their labour as translators and guards – forced labour, remember – enabled those who did commit these crimes. This is a particularly disgusting form of the fallacy of guilt by association and Worthington, quoting from Farber’s column, rightly, in my opinion, said “In my view, that statement by Farber is so wrong, mistaken and out of line, that it inadvertently demeans the Holocaust.”

This would not be the last time Worthington and Farber would lock horns on this subject and while Worthington always got the better of Farber the latter never retreated one iota from his position. In 2012, when Stephen Harper’s Immigration Minister Jason Kenney stripped Oberlander of his citizenship – one of many reasons why I have nothing but contempt for the present premier of Alberta – Farber told the Globe and Mail “It matters not if he was a translator or a cook – they were all part of the pirate ship and they helped oil the wheels of genocide.” Earlier this year, when the Federal Court of Appeal dismissed the 95 year old Oberlander’s motion to have the fourth (!) revocation of his citizenship overturned, Farber was again all over the news gloating and saying that he hoped the Liberal government would quickly deport him.

My point, if it is not obvious, is that someone who cannot tell the difference between the Nazi thugs who tortured and murdered civilians and kids who were forced by these same thugs to do their bidding, should not be taken seriously when he poses as an expert on Nazis and Nazism. Someone who for over twenty years acts as the head of the cheerleading squad while governments, Liberal and Conservative alike, try repeatedly to denaturalize and deport an elderly man, who has been a law-abiding subject of Her Majesty for his entire adult life, because the unit that he had been forced to serve by the invaders of his country of birth when he was still a teenager were responsible for war crimes, caring neither about the aforementioned difference nor the trauma being inflicted upon this man’s family, has absolutely no business whatsoever lecturing the rest of us about “hate.” When he throws a silly conniption about a government minister quoting the leading American aerospace engineer we should pay him no heed.

Good luck with the Nobel Prize, Bernie, but you can take your silly posturing and blow it out your ear!