Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Canadian Fascists


Canada fascism Nazi xenophobia anti-semitism

Efforts to transform local movements into national political organizations have generally failed. Ideology provides much stronger glue than localized hostility toward some practice or group. Perhaps one of the hidden benefits of a divided Canadian dualism and pluralism is that it is difficult to muster a mass response to a putative scapegoat group. In times of crisis — like the Great Depression — it becomes possible to mobilize anger and xenophobia as a political movement.

One cannot, therefore, take too lightly the appearance of fascist movements and parties in Canada in the 1930s. Of these, there were three main examples: the Canadian Nationalist Party led by William Whittaker and based in Winnipeg, the Canadian Union of Fascists (a pro-Mosleyite, British fascist organization), and the Parti National Social Chrétien (PNSC). The PNSC was the largest and most successful of the three, the political wing of a Quebec-based fascist movement under the leadership of Adrien Arcand (1899-1967). Heavily influenced by the rise of anti-Semitic movements in Europe and especially by Adolf Hitler’s German National Socialist (Nazi) Party, Arcand was an enthusiastic promoter of an all-white, all-Christian vision of Canada. The PNSC looked beyond the borders of Quebec, seeking sympathizers among Anglo-Canadians under the umbrella of the National Unity Party of Canada (NUPC). The emergence of Ku Klux Klan chapters in Ontario and on the Prairies, as well as the deeply entrenched anti-Asian sentiment among Euro-British Columbians made fertile ground for Arcand’s message. Following on the example set by European fascists, Arcand’s group took to wearing distinctive uniforms festooned with swastikas. While Hitler had his “brown shirts,” Benito Mussolini in Italy his “black shirts,” and Oswald Mosley in Britain his “green shirts,” in Canada the fascists were “blue shirts.”  (more...)

Canadian Fascists


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books fascism Canada politics xenophobia anti-semitism

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