I am pleased that Foreign Minister Freeland pushed back hard, but I am disappointed that she had to do so. Housakos is giving aid and comfort to white supremacists by dismissing the threat they pose. There are two things to push back against here--the threat and the international support.Conservative Senator Leo Housakos yesterday asked me if white supremacy is a threat. Watch our exchange: pic.twitter.com/1z2pGMDdQz— Chrystia Freeland (@cafreeland) April 10, 2019
First, Canadians have been killed and beaten by white supremacists in Toronto and Quebec and elsewhere, and this rising movement threatens to do more of the same. How much Islamist extremist violence has there been in Canada the past few years? The same is true in the US--white nationalists are more of a threat than Islamist extremists. See here for a set of analyses from TSAS--the key network in Canada on these issues. People panic about cyber, and hacking is an important issue. But you can recover from hacking, those who are murdered by white supremacists can't come back. So, yeah, white supremacy is a threat to Canada.
Second, yes, it received support from outside Canada. There is plenty of evidence of transnational white supremacy--that the latest shooters seem to cite the guy who killed so many kids in Norway. But if you want to take about state sponsors, we have two at least (leaving out Hungary, Poland, and, yes, Israel, thanks to Bibi, for their Holocaust denial): Russia and the US. It is a matter of Russian policy to be supporting white nationalism in the West--it is part of their efforts to undermine western democracy. While the US may not have a formal policy of supporting white supremacy in Canada, the white nationalists in the White House--Trump and Miller--are definitely encouraging and inspiring these people to come out and be unashamed in their hatred. While much bigotry is part of Canada and its history (notice the "secularlism" effort in Quebec), there is no doubt that Trump is creating a friendlier environment. And the far right media in the US and Canada are more than just a bit acquainted with each other.
Andrew Scheer has been playing footsy with Faith Goldy, with Rebel media, and with other elements of the far right. I would have to look back and see how much of this started before Maxime Bernier started his People's Party (which is not so surprisingly chock full of deplorables) which might be scaring the Conservative Party a bit. But given the Rebel influence, I think this embrace of the far right is not so new.
Anyhow, the reality is that the far right of Canada is infused with white nationalism, and, as a result, Conservative politicians like Housakos are willing to give cover to them.
So, yeah, the Conservatives in Canada have a big problem. And it may cause them to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory if they keep at it. Only one thing is certain--more Canadians will be harmed by white nationalism.