If you think white supremacy or the alt-right doesn’t exist in N.B., you’re not looking in the right places.
An August episode of a conservative satirical podcast reported that a rock in the shape of Pepe the Frog exists in New Brunswick.
The Anti-Defamation League declared Pepe a hate symbol in 2016, as the cartoon character has increasingly become associated with white supremacist groups.
The podcast creators joked that they were thinking of painting the rock green and described it as an alt-right mecca.
Discriminatory acts in N.B.
Jacqueline McKnight, a member of No One is Illegal Fredericton, said there’s always a fear that these smaller acts could grow into something like Charlottesville, where a unite-the-right” rally erupted in violence that ended in the murder of a counter-protester.
“No, we don’t really have … like 500 people that are ready to march tomorrow in a white supremacist rally like we did see in Charlottesville,” McKnight said.
“These more covert and kind of less visible acts — so I’m talking about putting those posters up, I’m talking about people posting things on Facebook that are really, -really inflammatory, using social media as a way to gain traction — those things are really, really dangerous and they’re things we need to not dismiss as some kind of innocuous thing. This is how that starts.”
In the early hours of Sept. 28, three white supremacist posters were taped onto a Maliseet welcome sign on St. Thomas’ campus during a week of conferences toward Indigenization.
One poster read “Equality is a false God.” Another poster pictured an Aryan man and a woman with the words “We have a right to exist,” accompanied by a web address for a white supremacist blog.
The third poster was of a man with a “big brother” label across his eyes. The poster also said: “Critical thought is a crime” at the top and “Free speech is a fundamental Canadian right. Help us defeat cultural Marxism” at the bottom of the poster.
There was a QR scan code and link in the bottom right corner, directing people to a website, edited by American white supremacist Richard Spencer .
There have been other acts throughout New Brunswick as well.
A group called the Nationalist Socialist Canadian Labour Revival Party has also sprung up and attempted to recruit people in Fredericton recently. In August, a man was asked to stop flying the confederate flag at the flea market in Sussex; on Sept. 30, several people held an anti-immigrant protest in Odell Park; and in October, racial slurs and water bottles were thrown at Syrian students at a Moncton high school football game.
Joanne Owuor Larocque, an immigrant herself, is director of settlement services for children and youth and community at the Multicultural Association of Fredericton. The organization has seen a rise in outright racist attacks on newcomers in recent years.
“We worry that we’re going to continue to see more issues,” she said, adding that they’ve already seen incidents of name calling, physical assaults and vandalism.
“We hear from some of the youth, who are the victims of a lot of these outright racial acts, and they say, ‘You do not know how terrifying it is. You don’t know who the person is that hates you. You don’t know why they hate you. You don’t know where you might be attacked from and that’s our life every single day.’”
“‘You don’t know why they hate you. You don’t know where you might be attacked from and that’s our life every single day.'” Joanne Owuor Larocque
A professor’s website
Ricardo Duchesne, a sociology professor at the University of New Brunswick, is the creator and one of the moderators for a website called the Canadian Council of Europeans (CCE), which claims to be a platform for people “dissatisfied with political correctness and mass immigration.”
White supremacist posters referencing Duchesne’s website have been pasted up in other parts of the country, including one that directly references one of his books, Canada in Decay: Mass Immigration, Diversity and the Ethnocide of Euro-Canadians.
“There are a number of people and groups who walk the line between alt-right and alt-lite, to the extent that it’s not always easy — or even possible — to tell which side they’re on.”
One is too many
But those close to the ground with the province’s immigrant community, like Owuor Larocque at MCAF, fear the views expressed on Duchesne’s website, and on other social media platforms, could influence others.