Canadian Politics

A01(b) - The Far Right, Radical Right, and Extremism in Canada

Date: Jun 12 | Time: 08:30am to 10:00am | Location:

The Geographical Distribution of Anti-Immigrant Sentiment and the Electoral Prospects of a Radical Right Party in Canada: Salar Asadolahi (University of Toronto), Linda White (University of Toronto)
Abstract: In the comparative context, Canada has been regarded as a country that is immune to the electoral breakthrough of anti-immigrant radical right parties (RRPs) at the national level. Support for this claim have come from a variety of arguments which make reference to factors such as the country’s historical experience with high levels of immigration, an electorate that is largely supportive of immigration and of immigrants, and the country’s points-based immigration system and official policy of multiculturalism which have been argued to have insulated the electoral sphere from the emergence and success of explicitly anti-immigrant parties. This paper contributes to this literature by focusing on the variable of geography and the territorial distribution of key electorates throughout the country. Specifically, it examines the extent to which anti-immigrant sentiment among the Canadian electorate is dispersed across the country’s federal electoral ridings across all provinces and evaluates the implications of such a distribution for the electoral prospects of anti-immigrant parties. To do so, it draws on eight waves of the Canadian Elections Study between 2000-2021 to construct a measure of anti-immigrant nativist sentiment and examines the degree to which such sentiment is concentrated throughout both competitive and non-competitive ridings. Additionally, the paper provides an analysis of the influence of anti-immigrant sentiment on party support focusing specifically on the 2019 and 2021 elections given the participation of the People’s Party of Canada (PPC), an anti-immigrant party that emerged in the country in 2018 but has yet to win a seat in national elections.

Re-Evaluating the Canadian National Security Landscape: Gendered Leadership and Influence in Far-Right Movements: Esli Chan (McGill University), Kelly Gordon (McGill University)
Abstract: In recent years, the surge in participation within far-right movements in Canada has given rise to heightened socio-political tensions and threats of violence, necessitating a re-evaluation of the state of national security. Notably, the infiltration of QAnon, a far-right political conspiracy movement, has taken root in Canada, led by a self-proclaimed “Queen of QAnon” and her devoted following of more than 60,000 members. Despite increasing scholarly leadership on the security implications of far-right movements, scant attention has been paid to the gendered nature of leadership in far-right movements, nor the implication of the Queen of QAnon movement to Canadian national security interests. This paper seeks to evaluate the gendered dynamics of leadership and influence in far-right movements, particularly through an in-depth study of the Queen of QAnon group. I examine three key factors related to this movement: (1) the nature and stated motivations, (2) how gender informs the conceptualization of leadership structure and operations, and (3) the underlying gender dynamics influencing motives. Employing a discursive analysis of the Queen of QAnon manifesto, complemented by text extractions from online group communications, the findings will be evaluated from a gender-based perspective using an extremism manifesto risk assessment framework to illuminate potential threats to national security. By centring gendered leadership and implications for far-right movements, this research enables a new conceptualization of Canadian national security and contribute to a more robust understanding of gender dynamics within far-right movements.

Canada's fascist past and neo-fascist present: examining continuities in Canadian extremism: Simon Marmura Brown (Queen's University), Wayne (supervisor) Cox (supervisor) (Queen's University)
Abstract: This paper examines the historic rise and fall of Canadian fascist movements from the 1930s to the present. It is inspired by the recent emergence of “neo-fascism” in Canada and elsewhere, epitomized by the recent rise of far-right political, social, and cultural activisms. Existing literature often categorizes, taxonomizes, or outlines the movements, activities, and memberships of contemporary extremist movements. Those that attempt to explain where these movements come from, what motivates them, or how to diminish their appeal often relegate or reduce their analyses to material factors. In this case “neo-fascism”, like fascism previously, is explained as a consequence of capitalist crises. Existing explanations, then, are material rather than ideational in nature. This paper argues that the “fascistic” content of neo-fascism is ideological as well; it is also related to philosophic, ideological, or cultural currents which are similar to fascism in the past. To substantiate this argument, I first examine literature published by the Canadian Union of Fascists, the Canadian Nationalist Party, and the National Unity Party—fascist political organizations prominent in the 1930s—obtained from the National Archives which have not been examined or discussed since at least the 1990s. Subsequently, I examine publications by contemporary “neo-fascist” movements and moments represented by organizations like “Canada First”, the True North Party, elements of the Peoples Party of Canada, and the Trucker Convoy. Ultimately, this paper examines the ideological bases of specific and historic forms of hate, intolerance, and violence in order to better understand and more effectively combat them.