Toronto

New anti-hate group aims to monitor 'growing threat' of far-right extremists in Canada

A new group is hoping to launch a website later this month that will provide profiles of far-right hate groups operating in Canada.

Canadian Anti-Hate Network to launch website with profiles of groups spreading hate

A member of Soldiers of Odin, an anti-immigrant group, clashes with anti-racism protesters in Nathan Phillips Square in downtown Toronto. (YouTube)

A new group says it is planning to research, monitor and expose more than 100 far-right groups spreading hate across Canada.

The Canadian Anti-Hate Network, formed by more than 15 academics, journalists, legal experts and community leaders, says it will launch a website in the next few weeks that will provide profiles of hate groups operating in Canada.

Bernie Farber, chair of the network, said the organization is a way for people already keeping an eye on the Canadian far right to pool resources online, while the profiles will draw attention to the names, locations and ideologies of the groups.

"We have seen the ebbs and flows of hate groups and the damage that they can do," Farber told CBC's Metro Morning on Tuesday.

"It has been more low key in the last 10 years, but we are now seeing the rise again, mostly through social media, chat rooms and that type of thing." 
Bernie Farber, chair of the Canadian Anti-Hate Network, said it only takes a few people getting involved with a far-right group 'to create havoc.' (Lisa Xing/CBC)

The network takes its inspiration from the Southern Poverty Law Center in the U.S., which tracks hate groups south of the border in a "hate map" and through a blog called "hate watch."

Farber, an expert on white supremacism and former CEO of the Canadian Jewish Congress, explained that hate in Canada can look different than in the U.S. and can vary significantly from province to province. 

He said though there aren't "hundreds and hundreds" of people involved in home-grown hate groups, they are "undeniably" on the rise. 

"The sad part is it doesn't take a lot of people to create havoc," he added.

Crowdfunding campaign for resources

Farber said the network is hoping to raise $50,000 through its crowdfunding campaign to pay for its website, office space and researchers in Toronto, where the group was recently incorporated.

"Domestic hate groups are a growing threat in Canada," the network says on its crowdfunding page.

"Yet there is no organization to counter groups like the alt-right, neo-Nazis, Soldiers of Odin, Northern Guard, Blood and Honour, and the Worldwide Coalition Against Islam." 
A Toronto police officer grabs a protester at a rally outside city hall that was attended by several groups the newly-created anti-hate network is concerned about. (YouTube)

The first public statement made by the network was to call for criminal charges against Gabriel Sohier Chaput, a Montreal IT consultant who goes by the name of "Charles Zeiger" and is reportedly a leading neo-Nazi propagandist.

Part of the network's mandate is to provide information to journalists, law enforcement, policy makers, and community organizations, and to foster public education and awareness. 

now