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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Chapter Twenty-Nine Continued: Ron Gostick

A CULTURE OF DEFIANCE: History of the Reform-Conservative Party of Canada

Ronald A. Gostick (1918-2005) was the son of Edith Gostick, one of the first Social Credit MLAs. Like Preston Manning and Stockwell Day, he grew up in a household where the party was not only discussed but lived.

Gostick attended Crescent Heights High School when William Aberhart was principal and his mother, like Ernest Manning, was an insider who spent most of her time promoting Social Credit and defending her boss.

Her son also grew up listening to anti-Semitic rants from both parents, and developed a narrow view of the world, based on religious prejudice. Convinced that not only were the banks ruining Canada, but also that his Christian fundamentalist faith was under attack, he became one of the largest distributors and publishers of hate literature, from his home in Flesherton, Ontario, where he had moved after serving in the army during WWII.

Many historians will gloss over William Aberhart's bizarre religious beliefs, which were denounced by his mainstream religious contemporaries; without wondering how those beliefs affected future generations.

James Keegstra grew up in a social credit home and even attended the Calgary Prophetic Bible Institute, and Stockwell Day's fundamentalism borders on extremism. Preston Manning has stated that he learned from the ugly side of this movement:
As I grew up, I learned that the "prairie populism" with which I was familiar—the Social Credit movement in Alberta—was not an isolated political aberration, but part of a much broader political tradition ... Years later, I developed a more objective view of populism, including a healthy fear of its darker side and a more realistic assessment of its potential as an agent for political change. (1)
And yet, like Stephen Harper, he tapped into the "darker side" for political gain.

Ron Gostick would mentor people like Paul Fromm, teaching future generations to hate, based on his fundamentalist beliefs. Yet in today's world if he set himself up as a member of the Religious Right, he would be able to get away with saying many of the things he said, without the anti-Semitic overtones.

To do that he would just have to call himself a Christian Zionist and become a 'friend of Israel'. As one pastor in Jerusalem recently stated:

"It's the worst kind of anti-Semitism. At the end, these Evangelicals say that all the Jews will be dead except those who become Christians. But in the meantime, the Israelis are happy to fill their hotels with them and use their help to get American weapons." (2)

It might do some of these religious zealots some good to read a bit of hate literature. I think they'd be surprised to see how their views differ little from those of people who were once arrested for saying the same things, they now get away with.


1. The New Canada, By Preston Manning, 1992, MacMillan Canada, ISBN: 0-7715-9150-0, pg. 7

2. An Evangelical at Armageddon, By Tim McGirk and Tel Meggido, April 07, 2008

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