FYI.

This story is over 5 years old.

Group still plans to hold white nationalist rally in Toronto

There is concern — even from organizers — about the potential for violence

A white nationalist group is still planning on going forward with a rally in Toronto, despite concerns — even from organizers — that violence could erupt in the wake of a deadly white supremacist protest in Charlottesville, Virginia.

A group calling itself the Canadian Nationalist Party says it had been planning since early July to hold the event on the grounds of the University of Toronto. On Monday, as details of the planned rally emerged, the university said they have no approved any booking for the rally — and in a statement to VICE News indicated they have told the organizers they do not have permission to use their space.

Advertisement

“[The rally] certainly has garnered a lot more attention [after the Virginia rally],” said Canadian Nationalist Party founder Travis Patron, who said there has been discussion within the group in regards to cancellation due to a risk of violence. “At this point I don’t want to cancel it and I don’t want to backtrack at all.”

Patron added their group will provide security.

Patron says the Canadian Nationalist Party first began in June of this year. The group has become a subject of debate on white supremacist forum Stormfront, where it was first advertised — by an anonymous account — in late May. Despite branding itself as a party, it is not registered with Elections Canada and therefore cannot field candidates in elections.

The group says it “supports nationalism, opposes homosexuality, transsexuality and Islamification of our country.” On its website, it lists 21 “platform points”, which include cutting all “reparation payments to Aboriginal people,” calling for an end to a so-called “genocide” of European people in Canada, and a policy point to slash immigration levels. They also call for the “impeachment” of the prime minister — a process that does not exist in Canada.

But Patron denied their group holds white supremacist views. “We certainly do represent the rights of European Canadians, but we do not do that exclusively.”

The Facebook event for the demonstration currently has about 120 people interested in the Toronto Nationalist Rally. The event’s Facebook page has received a slew of comments arguing against the rally, affiliating it with alt-right and Nazi ideology.

Advertisement

“We certainly do represent the rights of European Canadians, but we do not do that exclusively.”

A separate event, seemingly unconnected to the white nationalist rally, entitled: “Unite Rally to Silence White Supremacy in Toronto,” is set to take place on the same day in Yonge-Dundas square — thousands interested in that event.

University of Toronto Students’ Union is lobbying the university to ensure the rally doesn’t take place on its property and has also organized a counter protest in the event that it does go ahead.

Patron said if the university rejects their proposal, they intend to find another venue.

Chimwemwe Alao, vice-president equity for the University of Toronto Students’ Union, fears that the “potential for this to be a very violent situation is incredibly high.” Alao said, should the event go forward, they would look to protect marginalized students while still “publicly condemning the white nationalist rally.”

Patron told VICE News the rally was not inspired by the Virginia white nationalist rally.

Another controversial event which has sparked debate is scheduled to take place at Ryerson University a few blocks away next Tuesday, labelled as a panel discussion to discuss the “stifling of free expression” on university campuses. Panelists include The Rebel’s Faith Goldy and Jordan Peterson, a U of T professor who made national headlines last year for his refusal to use and protest against gender-neutral pronouns.

Correction: August 16, 9:24 a.m: An earlier version of this story suggested that the Canadian Nationalist Party had begun on Stormfront in 2015. In fact, the forum made reference of a hypothetical Canadian Nationalist Party, and not Patron’s organization.