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Encyclopaedia Judaica

Jews in Canada 05: Confrontation with anti-Semitism

Canadian "national" leaders and newspapers of the 1930s and 1960s - anti-propaganda bill of 1970

from: Canada; In: Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971, vol. 5

presented by Michael Palomino (2008)




[Organized anti-Semitism since 1930s - Goldwin Smith in the 1890s]

While religious bigotry was found on many levels in Canadian life, organized anti-Semitism did not appear until the 1930s under the impact of international Nazism. Goldwin Smith was a leader of intellectual society in English-speaking Canada in the latter years of the 19th century. In his published essays discussing the Russian pogroms of the 1880s he took a clear anti-Jewish position but does not seem to have exerted any influence on Canadian society.

[French speaking Canada 1930s: Fascists under Adrien Arcand - newspaper Le Goglu - preference agitation]

In the 1930s an incipient fascist movement was started in Quebec by Adrien Arcand; it had overt anti-Semitic aspirations and sought to exploit French Canadian nationalist sentiments. Also in the 1930s, a boulevard sheet, Le Goglu, whipped up anti-Jewish feelings from time to time. The achat chez-nous [[come to us for purchase]] agitation of the period was not specifically anti-Jewish, but xenophobic in nature, directed against all non-French Canadian retailers - Anglo-Saxon or Jewish.

In English-speaking Canada in the 1930s there were sporadic Nazi-minded groups, but none had the cohesion and impact of the Arcand movement. Arcand and others were interned during World War II by the Canadian government.

[Alberta province: Bible Belt]

The closest that Canada came to a political movement with anti-Semitic overtones was the Social Credit phenomenon. It captured office in the province of Alberta in 1935, and its power base was the evangelical, fundamentalist Protestantism of that rural province, called the "Bible Belt" (col. 110)

of Canada. Its first and second provincial leaders, William Aberhart and Ernest Manning, both lay preachers, were not anti-Jewish; but the Major Douglas school of Social Credit made inroads into the party ranks, and on the fringes of the party and among certain federal members of Parliament the doctrines of a world Jewish conspiracy to control the money market found adherents and advocates.

[[There is always forgotten to mention that also many, many Jews were impoverished by any collapse of any stock market]].

[Norman Jacques, John Blackmore, Solon Low]

Norman Jacques, a member of Parliament for Wetaskiwin, and John Blackmore, member for Lethbridge, frequently gave public aid and comfort to anti-Semitism. The federal leader Solon Low sometimes denounced political Zionism and international finance in one breath. However, Low changed his mind after a trip to Israel and until his retirement made speeches favorable to Israel and the Jews.

In Alberta the Douglas faction did not gain ascendancy in the party and that province's government had a favorable record in this respect. Solon Low's successor as national leader, Robert Thompson, once expelled a campus Social Credit president from the party for disseminating anti-Semitic propaganda.

[Ron Gostick]

One offshoot of the Social Credit movement was the activity of Ron Gostick, who after World War II settled in Ontario and from there carried on a political campaign of the "radical right". In the late 1940s he did not disguise his anti-Semitism, but later he soft-pedaled it; nevertheless, he included the Protocols of the *Elders of Zion and similar items in his "literature list" until the mid-1960s. Gostick had aspirations for a kind of Canadian John Birch Society but was unsuccessful in winning any sizeable support.

[David Stanley and John Beattie]

In Toronto from 1963 on, a youthful propagandist, David Stanley (who later recanted his views), and John Beattie, both avowed neo-Nazis, allied themselves with counterparts in the United States and attracted considerable public attention and notoriety but no following.


[1960s: Arcand trying a come-back]

In the post-World War II period Adrien Arcand made several attempts at a comeback before his death in 1967 but was considered a relic of the past. The climate of the new Quebec since 1960 was not conducive to his kind of movement. Some Jews there were concerned by the attitude of segments among the separatists both of the right and left; some were concerned not with anti-Semitism, for all parties denounced and disavowed it, but with the role of the Jews in a more nationalist and unilingual environment.


[1970: Anti-propaganda bill]

A result of their activity was the establishment by the Ministry of Justice of a seven-man committee on Hate Propaganda in 1965, chaired by Maxwell Cohen, which the following year recommended legislation against propaganda spreading racial and religious hatred. Such a proposal was brought before the Canadian Parliament in a government-sponsored bill and passed in 1970.> (col. 111)

[[The hot spot that religions are racist against each other can only be solved with human rights]].

[[The discrimination, expulsion and the extermination of the natives is never mentioned in the Encyclopaedia Judaica]].

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