Racist graffiti was spray-painted on the entrance to the Muslim Association in Ottawa. A teen has been arrested in this and five other cases.

Racist graffiti was spray-painted on the entrance to the Muslim Association in Ottawa. A teen has been arrested in this and five other cases.
Photo Credit: CBC

Right-wing extremism not new, but more visible

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Incidents of racist graffiti in the nation’s capital, Ottawa, last week raised concerns that the election of Donald Trump for U.S. president may have unleashed right-wing extremists in Canada. But researchers say extremists have always been here and it’s just that rhetoric during the campaign may have emboldened them to act.

Trump ‘fueled the fire’

“Just because Trump was elected, it doesn’t really mean that people all of a sudden have become radicalized or extreme,” says Ryan Scrivens, a doctoral candidate in the School of Criminology at Simon Fraser University. “I think that what he’s done however is fuel the fire in the sense that he’s made hatred, or discussions around hatred, a little bit more legitimate.

“This type of activity is not new in Canada. What Canada has typically done is just…lived under the façade that we’re this multi-cultural, great society to live in and that we don’t have problems…but we need to keep in mind that these individuals, they’re not coming out of nowhere.”

Researcher Ryan Scrivens says Canadians must acknowledge that right-wing extremism is a problem in Canada too.
Researcher Ryan Scrivens says Canadians must acknowledge that right-wing extremism is a problem in Canada too.
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Right-wing extremist groups fluid

Scrivens and other researchers have found there are about 100 active right-wing extremist groups in Canada. Typically they only exist for about three months and individuals frequently move between groups using online connections.

Research from 2011 found that law enforcement agencies tended to not prioritize right-wing extremists, but instead focussed on potential jihadi terrorists. But as right-wing or racist crimes increasingly made the news, public reaction has caused some agencies to pay more attention to them.

Scrivens says, success in dealing with such extremists has been greater where law enforcement has worked with community groups and human rights groups. Police also get help from reformed extremists.

Anti-black graffiti was spray-painted on the Parkdale United Church in Ottawa.
Anti-black graffiti was spray-painted on the Parkdale United Church in Ottawa. © Andrew Foote/CBC

Not just someone else’s problem

“I think a big thing we need to do is just acknowledge the fact that right-wing extremism is a concern in Canada,” says Scrivens. “For the longest time these groups resided in hiding…We thought the threat was coming from other parts of the world…when in fact these individuals reside here.”

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2 comments on “Right-wing extremism not new, but more visible
  1. Avatar Victor says:

    If right wing extremism means racism or anti democracy forces then there rs reason to worry.

    F “right wing extremism” means the democratic values Trump or Farage defend agains liberal (and destructive) dogma then Canada needs a lot of it.

    Basically liberals are anti western culture and values because under their “democratic” fig leaf lies Messianism as per Prophet Marx whose Holy Book will deliver humanity to the Promised Land of Milk and Honey. In reality to the hell of Soviet Union, Mao’s China and Castro’s cuba.

    Liberal-left has turned politics into religion; there is a Messiah, there is absolute truth and demonizes those outside the faith.

    At las it seems liberal-left ideas are crumbling like the Berlin Wall. Common sense people decided that enoughsof it and let us return to the democracy started by the Greeks, where the common people decide, not a caste of bureaucratic, political and academic “priests”. This means returning to the most advanced version of democracy the World has ever known; the anglo-franco-northern european democracy produced by those Western cultures and to which people of many races have come to adhere to.

    The left will not prevail because it is a dogmatic religion. Like the Church was pushed back by the Renaissance so will the left will be pushed back by democrats who believe in rule by the common sense of ordinary people, no caste of “priests”, clever but made mad by dogma.

  2. Avatar jim cowan says:

    It might be instructive if having apprehended one or more of those “racists “we could read of their logic for this sick behavior. I would guess that a fair percentage of them do so because in their everyday life no one pays any attention to them. Once they can see their action on the evening news they can strut and preen, jerk and pretend to themselves that they are indeed somebody. The fact that they do it and keep their names secret shows that that really is their main intention with minimum disturbance to their weary lives.