Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Health, Wealth and Stealth of Right-Wing Coalitions

I have read several times, a piece written in 2001 by David Lethbridge, a journalist, university professor and activist against mostly anti-Semitism, but indeed any racial intolerance. What Lethbridge uncovered in his article Prescription For Fascism: Alternative Medicine and Right-Wing Politics (1), was a connection between some of the new homeopathic, wellness groups and various 'hate' and fringe organizations, here and in the U.S.

He also links in several places, members of the Reform-Alliance-Conservative movement, and while I initially felt that some of the connections were pretty flimsy, there are two names that keep coming up, though they are certainly not the only ones: Stockwell Day and Craig Chandler.

So I took a closer look at Lethbridge's article and googled a few of the names, and there appears to be a disturbing trend.

Dr. John Stackhouse in his review (2) of Marci McDonald's book: The Armageddon Factor, which was mostly critical; admitted that he was a bit surprised by the number of these groups tied to several key cabinet ministers in Harper's government, in particular Stockwell Day. I, and many others, who have been sounding the alarm for some time, weren't.

Much of this goes back to the inception of the Reform Party, when they adopted a motion to allow right-wing fringe groups to join them, including Doug Christie's Western Canada Concept*, a separatist party. "In short the party leadership was trying to broaden it's right-wing support while not entirely surrendering it's attraction to fringe elements, at least some of whom were present at the Winnipeg Convention." (3)

In fact, some early members of the Reform Party created their own organization to act as a vanguard for these groups, called the Northern Foundation.

"... the Northern Foundation was the creation of a number of generally extreme right-wing conservatives, including Anne Hartmann (a director of REAL Women), Geoffrey Wasteneys (A long-standing member of the Alliance for the Preservation of English in Canada**), George Potter (also a member of the Alliance for the Preservation of English in Canada), author Peter Brimelow, Link Byfield (son of Ted Byfield and himself publisher/president of Alberta Report), and Stephen Harper." (4)
Harper would later claim that he was kicked out of the the NF for not being right-wing enough, and yet several of the original members, still play a prominent role in the movement, including Link Byfield (scroll down a bit) and REAL Women of Canada.

So I'm going to post a series of articles based on Lethbridge's Prescription for Fascism, since several of the names he mentions can also be found in McDonald's Armageddon Factor, bringing them into more contemporary context.

Continue to Health Coalitions


*Stockwell Day's father was a friend of
Doug Christie and a member of the Western Canada Concept Party. He often wrote articles for the party's newspaper.

"His father, Stockwell Day, Sr., was long associated with the Social Credit Party of Canada. In the 1972 federal election he was the Social Credit candidate running against New Democratic Party leader Tommy Douglas in the riding of Nanaimo—Cowichan—The Islands. Day, Sr., supported Doug Christie and was a member of the Western Canada Concept." (Wikipedia)

**One of Harper's new patronage senate appointments, Bob Runciman, a former Mike Harris MLA, was supportive of APEC:

“Leeds MPP Bob Runciman wrote [APEC] a supportive letter last month ... Runciman will be the English preservation group's guest speaker at its April 27 monthly meeting, according to Garner.” (Kingston Whig-Standard, April 11, 1987)

“It is ‘extremely important’ that the various groups opposed to French-language services ‘pull together,’ said Ontario Progressive Conservative MPP Robert Runciman.” (The Ottawa Citizen,
November 6, 1989)


1. Prescription For Fascism: Alternative Medicine and Right-Wing Politics, By David Lethbridge, April 2001

2. Marci McDonald, “The Armageddon Factor”, By Prof. John Stackhouse, May 18, 2010

3. Of Passionate Intensity: Right-Wing Populism and the Reform Party of Canada. Author: Trevor Harrison Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1995. ISBN: 0-8020-7204-6, Pg. 115-116

4. Harrison, 1995, Pg. 121

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