Leftists Stew About Tory Contacts With White Nationalists: The Campaign to Keep People Isolated & Not Talking to One Another

 Leftists Stew About Tory Contacts With White Nationalists: The Campaign to Keep People Isolated & Not Talking to One Another

Ontario PC candidate Donna Skelly gave a special ‘shout out’ to far-right extremists at a Christmas party for campus conservatives

May 28, 2018

An Ontario PC candidate promoted a controversial alt-right website that has a well-documented history amplifying some of Canada’s most toxic and racist personalities during an event for young conservatives in Hamilton last Christmas.

A photo from the event shows Donna Skelly, a former CHCH broadcaster turned city councillor who is currently running for Doug Ford’s Ontario PCs in the Hamilton-area riding of Flamborough-Glanbrook, waving a red hat displaying the words ‘Free Bird Media’ – an imitation of Donald Trump’s ‘Make America Great Again’ hat.

Except ‘Free Bird Media’ is an alt-right website whose video archives are filled with hours of speeches and interviews featuring prominent figures on Canada’s far-right, including two men recently charged with hate crimes.

According to a Facebook event page for last December’s “Hamilton Conservative Christmas Formal,” organized by members of McMaster University and Mohawk College’s campus conservative clubs, Skelly was booked as a guest speaker alongside characters from Canada’s online alt-right, including FBM founder Alex Van Hamme.

The photo from the event, uploaded to Facebook by Cosmin Dzsurdzsa, the alt-right website’s “creative director,” is accompanied by a message that reads:

 “Thanks to Donna Skelly – Ward 7 Councillor for the shout out!”

Facebook

Skelly’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment from PressProgress.

FBM purports to be a platform that promotes “freedom of speech,” yet the website that received a special “shout out” from the sitting Hamilton city councillor and current Ontario PC candidate is filled with speeches and interviews from some of the most radical and extreme figures on Canada’s far-right.

FBM’s YouTube channel includes videos featuring the following personalities:

Paul Fromm: Described by the National Post as “one of Canada’s most notorious white supremacists,” with extensive links to neo-Nazi groups.

James Sears: Editor of the racist, far-right publication ‘Your Ward News’ who was recently charged with hate crimes – according to CBC News, Sears published material that “portrayed Jews as dogs” and “glorified Hitler.”

Kevin Johnston: Anti-Muslim blogger who was charged with a hate crime after offering $1,000 rewards for videos of Muslim school children.

Faith Goldy: Former Rebel Media host denounced by Conservative MP Michael Chong for promoting “white supremacy” and “anti-Semitism” after she appeared on a neo-Nazi podcast. More recently, Goldy recommended a 1930s fascist book advocating the “the elimination of Jews.”

YouTube

During an interview on CBC News in January, CBC News’ Wendy Mesley questioned controversial professor Jordan Peterson about a photo featuring himself and FBM founder Alex Van Hamme with a flag featuring Pepe the Frog – a cartoon frog used as a coded symbol by the alt-right and other online hate groups.

Van Hamme, a guest speaker alongside Skelly at the Conservative Christmas event, and Peterson were also photographed with a white nationalist who was identified as a member of a group caught plastering racist flyers on the University of Toronto’s campus.

Twitter, Facebook

The Ontario PC candidate also had a front-row seat at the Hamilton Conservative Christmas Formal as Van Hamme delivered a spirited monologue on the “testicles” of “biological male professors” at universities.

Van Hamme informed Skelly and an audience of young conservatives that academia is a “feminine environment” that leaves men “castrated.”

Dzsurdzsa, the FBM director who uploaded the photo of Skelly, also openly touts his experience serving as deputy editor of the US-based Russia Insider website.

According to news outlets ranging from BBC News to Newsweek, Russia Insider is a “Pro-Kremlin propaganda” site with a track record of promoting anti-Semitism.

Russia Insider’s archives show the FBM director published articles calling on Canada to drop sanctions and establish a “healthy trade partnership with Russia”and insinuated Bill C-51 may have been “purposefully” designed to make it a “criminal offence” to express “vocal support for Russia.”

Gad Saad believes in free speech at (almost) all costs

Gad Saad is Jewish and emigrated from Lebanon due to religious persecution, yet he supports the freedom of speech of Holocaust deniers.

Gad Saad is Concordia University’s Research Chair in Evolutionary Behavioural Sciences and Darwinian Consumption. SUBMITTED PHOTO

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Gad Saad is Jewish and emigrated from Lebanon due to religious persecution, yet he supports the freedom of speech of Holocaust deniers.

That’s how committed he is to an open dialogue, something he says is being lost in the western world.

Saad is scheduled to speak Monday evening at the University of Regina on “forces that impede the free and rational exchange of ideas.”

“I support the right of grotesque, diabolical people saying that the Holocaust and anything that I might have experienced is a hoax. Why? Because that’s what freedom of speech is. It’s the right for people to be idiots, to be wrong,” said Saad, a marketing professor at Montreal’s Concordia University and the Canada Research Chair in evolutionary behavioural sciences and Darwinian consumption.

There are only two exceptions to “absolute” freedom of speech, said Saad.

The first is using words to directly incite violence against other people.

The second is defaming or libelling someone.

Those criteria aside, it is “dangerous” to decide what other people can and can’t say.

That’s what happened last month, as Saad was set to be part of a panel at Toronto’s Ryerson University, which was cancelled in protest of two speakers: Faith Goldy, a Rebel Media contributor, and Jordan Peterson, a professor who has refused to use students’ preferred gender pronouns.

The panel discussion topic was “the stifling of free speech on university campuses.”

“I guess the irony was lost on the people who shut us down that that event was stifled,” said Saad.

Saad counts himself as neither right nor left on the political spectrum, but “a classically liberal guy.” He said the political left drives most of academia, which can be detrimental.

“As a student, what you’d like to develop is your ability to critically think, to analyze different positions and then form an informed opinion,” said Saad.

“But if most of the professors tend to be almost exclusively linked to one particular political ideology, then you are removing the intellectual diversity that is needed, especially in a university.”

Saad said he has received emails from students who are afraid to express an unpopular opinion lest they be ostracized or receive a failing grade.

“Really we’re pretty much like North Korea at this point,” said Saad.

“I mean, people are walking around afraid that someone might find out the dark, dark secret that they preferred Trump over Hillary Clinton.

“You could have a million very, very good reasons to dislike Trump, and I would understand probably all of them. But is it really a good idea for professors and for students to be walking around fearful …? Is this the type of intellectual environment that we want?”

Saad said to shut down free speech in fear of hurt feelings is a “slippery slope that becomes an abyss of infinite lunacy.”

He said if people disagree with an idea, they should “fight them with better ideas.”

“Be committed to the truth, battle others peacefully through dialogue, through debate, through science, and then hopefully the better ideas win,” he said.

“But what we’re seeing today is there is a group of people that get to decide whether Gad Saad is allowed to speak on campus or not. And if people don’t see how dangerous that is, then I’m afraid we’ve already lost the battle.”

Saad is scheduled to speak Monday at 7:30 p.m. in the U of R Education Auditorium.

amartin@postmedia.com

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