Canadian Nationalist Party (1933)

The Canadian Nationalist Party was a fascist antisemitic party founded in Winnipeg, Manitoba by William Whittaker, a British ex-soldier who had served with the British Army in India, and a dozen Anglo-Saxon war veterans, in September 1933.[1] The party initially claimed it was for equality of all citizens, but Whittaker was soon condemning Jews in his speeches at public rallies and in the party's newspaper, The Canadian Nationalist, and its other propaganda, leading to opponents confronting him at his rallies and being violently removed, often by police. The organization was modelled on Nazi stormtroopers and would march through Winnipeg's streets wearing khaki shirts, light brown breeches, and riding boots.[1][2] Whittaker's lieutenant, Harry Simkins, and other CNP members dissatisfied with Whittaker's leadership, left to form the British Empire Union of Fascists (which soon became the Canadian Union of Fascists) in 1934.[3]

Canadian Nationalist Party
LeaderWilliam Whittaker
FoundedSeptember 1933
DissolvedJuly 1938
Merged intoNational Unity Party of Canada
NewspaperCanadian Nationalist
IdeologyFascism (Canadian)
Political positionFar-right

An Anti-Fascist League developed to confront Whittaker and a riot ensued on June 5, 1934, referred to as the Battle at Old Market Square in which 500 protesters confronted up to 100 fascists.[2][4] One

In response the CNP's antisemitic propaganda, the Manitoba legislature passed the The Manitoba Defamation Act, the first group libel law in Canada, allowing a member of a racial or religious group that was being defeamed to sue the author or publisher for a halt in the production of material. "The plaintiff did not have to prove that he was being affected personally; it was sufficient cause that his race or religion was being defame."[2] Introduced by Independent Labour Party MLA Marcus Hyman, the legislature passed the bill into law by a unanimous vote in 1934.[5]

The CNP's Ontario chairman was Joseph C. Farr, a white Protestant immigrant from Northern Ireland who had been involved in Toronto's "Swastika Clubs", which had provoked the Christie Pits riot in 1934. As Whittaker's health declined in the late 1930s, Farr became increasingly prominent.[6][7][8]

In October 1934, the Canadian Nationalist Party allied with Adrien Arcand's Parti national social chrétien du Canada to form the "National Union" and in July 1938, it merged with Arcand's party and several other fascist parties to form the National Unity Party of Canada.[9]

Whittaker died on October 26, 1938, at the age of 63, his health having declined since suffering a stroke in March.[10]

References edit

  1. ^ a b Betcherman, Lita-Rose (1975). The Swastika and the Maple Leaf: Fascist Movements In Canada In the Thirties. Toronto: Fitzhenry & Whiteside. p. 65. ISBN 978-0-8890-2122-8.
  2. ^ a b c "Manitoba History: Anti-semitism in Manitoba in the 1930s and 40s". Manitoba History. No. 32. Manitoba Historical Society. Autumn 1996. Retrieved February 24, 2024.
  3. ^ Betcherman (1975), p. 79.
  4. ^ Ryan Thorpe (19 November 2021). "Inside the war on hate". Winnipeg Free Press.
  5. ^ Longhurst, John (October 3, 2023). "An old Manitoba law created in response to a 1930s newspaper could open up ways to fight antisemitic speech in the 2020s". Canadian Jewish News. Retrieved February 24, 2024.
  6. ^ Bradburn, Jamie (March 2, 2022). "Canada goose-stepping: When the 'Canadian Führer' brought his blueshirts to Toronto". TVO Today. TVOntario. Retrieved February 25, 2024.
  7. ^ Edwards, Frederick (May 1, 1938). "Fascism in Canada, Part 2". Maclean's. Retrieved February 25, 2024.
  8. ^ Edward, Frederick (April 15, 1938). "Fascism in Canada". Maclean's. Retrieved February 25, 2024.
  9. ^ "The National Social Christian Party". Canada in the Second World War. Juno Beach Centre. Retrieved February 24, 2024.
  10. ^ "W. Whittaker Dies, Aged 63". Winnipeg Tribune. October 26, 1938. Retrieved February 24, 2024.

See also edit