The Heritage Front
A report to the Solicitor General of Canada
December 9th, 1995
II. TARGETING THE EXTREMISTS
This chapter outlines the reasons why CSIS decided to target the leaders
of the white supremacist movement. The general process by which CSIS decides
whether to investigate a particular individual is described in Annex
2.1 Targeting the Extremists
The targeting of the white supremacist movement, since the establishment
of CSIS, has been reviewed continuously since 1985. The individual targets
have changed, and the scope of the investigations has narrowed and then
recently expanded again. Over the years, a considerable number of people
in positions of authority, both in government and the judiciary, have known
of and approved the Service's operations in this area.
The list of those who have scrutinized the targeting of individuals in the
white supremacist movement since the creation of CSIS includes: seven Solicitors
General; four Inspectors General; twelve members of the Security Intelligence
Review Committee; and four Directors of CSIS. In addition, judges of the
Federal Court have granted warrant powers to the Service to investigate
in this area.
In this section of our report, we examine how the Service targeted the individuals
in the white supremacist movement. We review:
CSIS has never issued a targeting authorization specifically against the
Heritage Front per se.
- the grounds upon which white supremacists were targeted; and
- who was targeted.
CSIS began to investigate members of the white supremacist movement from
the creation of the new civilian agency, although targeting took place earlier,
under the RCMP Security Service.
The most significant change to the targeting process during the period was
that the scope of the investigation narrowed. Recent targeting certificates,
however, show that the Service has again expanded its information collection
efforts to include those who participate in acts of serious political violence.
The Targeting Approval and Review Committee (TARC) minutes of February 1988
state that "although no concrete acts of violence have taken place
yet, it is seriously believed that these organizations have the capacity
to perform such actions."
After five years of investigating the extreme right, CSIS concluded in the
1990-91 TARC submission, that the "investigations since 1985 have
documented the violence and petty criminal activity by skinheads and others
but nothing that could be considered a threat to the security of Canada."
CSIS continued to investigate the extent to which the extreme-right constitutes
a threat, by "focusing on the leadership".
2.2 The First Certificates of the 90's
Targeting the "extreme right" in 1990-91 took place under
sections 12, 2(b) and 2(c)
of the CSIS Act. In 1991-92, targeting was only under 2(c). Counter-terrorism
investigations are, of course, under 2(c), "political violence".
The 1990-91 targeting submission defined the extreme right "as racists,
fascists and anti-semites who are prepared to use violence to achieve their
The leaders were said to:
"plan and direct the advancement of a white-supremacist philosophy
which includes the use of serious violence as a tactic to achieve their
stated political objective."
CSIS' aim was to provide preemptive intelligence of the
"leaders capabilities in gaining support for their extremist
political doctrine in 1990 and beyond. Financing, offshore direction and
support as well as the connections to other groups will be included as objectives
of our investigation."
The Service also sought to develop human sources close to the extreme-right
in order to ascertain the white supremacist strategy. CSIS sought to differentiate
its investigation from criminal investigations.
In March 1991, TARC added a significant condition:
"The range of investigative techniques to be deployed under
this authorization will be subject to consultation with the Minister."
From this point on, the Service was required to send an aide-mÈmoire
to the Solicitor General - prior to implementing the TARC Certificate.
2.3 The Second Targeting Series
The 1992-93 submission to TARC against the white supremacists was approved,
pursuant to s.2 (c) of the CSIS Act. The rationale was:
The Service stated that the racists had taken "a more pro-active
stance to further their political objectives." Proof for the statement
was "the increasing presence of hate literature and racist hotlines,
as well as a number of high profile criminal cases."
- the increased coordination between extremist groups in Canada and
- the use of "modern technology to compile data on individuals
considered to be threats to their racist ideology"; and
- the operation of three hotlines to "propagate a racist ideology
and recruit followers".
In what appeared to be a return to broader and more preemptive information
collection, TARC approved an authorization against "Serious Violence
Associated with Racist and Anti-Semitic incidents". The investigation
collected information on racist and anti-semitic
"incidents that have the potential to manifest themselves into
acts of politically motivated violence. Occurrences, that involve circumstances
reasonably suspected of having a politically motivated intent, will be the
subject of Service enquiries with local authorities."
The 1993 TARC submission highlighted two developments:
The Service added
- "a noticeable shift towards more violence-prone groups on the
part of a growing number of white supremacists, particularly within the
ranks of neo-nazi skinheads "; and
- the "growing emergence of sophisticated weapons within the white
"We continue to differentiate hate crimes and incidents of racially
motivated violence from activities which are directed by the white supremacist
leadership in pursuit of their political objectives."
As in the previous year, the submission expressed concern about the links
forged within and between the Canadian white supremacists and their foreign
The 1993 submission acknowledged that the Heritage Front had become "the
most prominent white supremacist organization in the country,"
prominent enough to inspire the creation of a counter group called "Anti-Racist
Action". The latter was "allegedly preparing to use violence
and 'direct action' tactics to counter the white supremacists."
2.4 The Current Certificate
The most recent TARC Certificate sought to show the stronger links between
incidents of racial violence and the political objectives of the white supremacists.
"The supremacists, said the Service, have demonstrated an ability
to plan and direct groups to carry out acts of violence on behalf of their
ideals. More importantly, they had shown a propensity for violence and are
prepared to resort to violence to achieve their political objective of establishing
a whites-only 'Aryan' homeland."
1 Threats to the Security of Canada, Section 2(b) of the CSIS Act:
"foreign influenced activities within or relating to Canada
that are detrimental to the interests of Canada and are clandestine or deceptive
or involve a threat to any person."
2 Threats to the Security of Canada, Section 2(c) of the CSIS Act:
"activities within or relating to Canada directed toward or
in support of the threat or use of acts of serious violence against persons
or property for the purpose of achieving a political objective within Canada
or a foreign state,"
- Leader of the Church of the Creator, George Burdi established a security
team for the COTC and Heritage Front.
- A COTC member was arrested on weapons offenses.
5 Criminal Incidents cited: - clashes between anti-racists and the
Heritage Front in Ottawa (May 93) and Toronto (June 93); - Wolfgang Droege
and several supporters charged with assault, armed robbery, kidnapping and
forceable confinement; and - both George Burdi and Eric Fischer face criminal
- 1993 attempt by Dennis Mahon (Ku Klux Klan Leader from Oklahoma) to
enter Canada to support Wolfgang Droege at his Canadian Human Rights Tribunal
hearing. Stopped at the airport.
- July 1992 visit of Americans Tom and John Metzger (head of White Aryan
- Fall 1992 - David Irving, British revisionist historian visits Canada.
Deported by CEIC.
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