Craig Chandler, a long time Reform-Alliance-Conservative supporter and organizer, used his Progressive Group for Independent Business (PGIB), to help the unite the right, with the motto "Unite the Right to Unite the Country."
His group has contributed to the success of Mike Harris, Stockwell Day and Stephen Harper, to name a few. He's kind of an "energy bunny", who's often been controversial, and while I would never agree with his ideology, I kind of like him simply because he's honest. He may exaggerate his importance, but there's no denying his influence.
I also appreciate that on his Concerned Christian Coalition website, he clearly states that it is FOR profit. It's a business, not a non-profit organization. In this way he doesn't have to hide his political stripes, as so many of them do, though usually not well.
In David Lethbridge's 2001 article: Prescription for Fascism (1), where he writes about the "quackery" movement and ties many of the groups with the extreme-right, he lists among them Citizens' Voice for Health Rights . The head of CVHR is Debbie Anderson who was part of the National Executive, and BC chair of Chandler's PTIB. She was also involved with the "Roots of Change" Conferences. (I should mention though that Canadian Wholesale Direct, a relatively well respected health-food distributor, lists Anderson's CVHR first under its heading "Health Freedom" (1)).
Tom Walkom in the Toronto Star, wrote of Chandler's initiatives, reminding his readers that they were independent of the "Winds of Change", run by David Frum and Ezra Levant.
When influential conservatives held a conference to unite the right two years ago, Craig Chandler couldn’t even wangle an invitation. “I called to get in but (organizer and journalist) David Frum wouldn’t let me,” the 27-year-old former Reform party candidate recalled this week. “He said they were full. It was a kind of cliquey, elitist sort of thing.”
So Chandler got his own back. Yesterday, he kicked off his own two-day, unite-the-right conference in Toronto. And David Frum wasn’t there. Instead, Chandler’s Roots of Change conference is attracting the kinds of blood-and-guts rightists who sparked the Reform party, but who – as Reform attempts to become more respectable – find themselves relegated to the sidelines. (2)
They may have been sidelined but they continue to support and influence the party, with their various grassroots movements. Chandler recently had an audience with Stockwell Day, so they are obviously still on speaking terms. I'd be happy if someone from this government just answered my emails.
I should also point out that if they were in fact on the "sidelines", or part of the "fringe" their speakers included not only Stockwell Day, but Link Byfield, Mark Montini from the Leadership Institute, Steve Jalsevic from the anti-abortion Campaign Life Coalition* and Michael Coren of the Financial Post, to name a few.
Lethbridge, mentions not only Debbie Anderson speaking on behalf of Citizens' Voice for Health Rights, but several others including:
Mark Mix of the National Right to Work Committee: a union busting organization from Springfield, Virginia. You can listen to Mix's interview on Fox News here. A director of the NRWC is none other than Morton Blackwell, and need I remind you, that besides the Leadership Institute, that Preston Manning designed his own institute after, he is also one of the founders of the Council for National Policy, the vanguard of both the Religious Right and the Republican Party in the U.S.
I already mentioned Mark Montini from the Leadership Institute above. He is one of the most influential speakers and Republican pollsters in the U.S. I love his motto: "If Mark doesn’t light your fire, your wood is wet". (LMAO) I've visited his site and I guess my wood must be soaked.
He is a vocal opponent of same-sex marriage and was sued by a gay couple for stealing a picture of them and then using it in one of his campaigns.
Ron Leitch of the Preservation of English in Canada (APEC) - was a long time associate of Ron Gostick and an early Reform Party supporter.
Jocelyn Dumais of the Quebec-based ADAT - another union busting group.
Robert Metz of the Freedom Party of Ontario - Their platform is the usual laundry list of neocons everywhere: tax reductions, and opposition to welfare programs, the Human Rights Commission, affirmative action programs, multiculturalism and official bilingualism, yada, yada, yada.
John Thompson, executive director of the MacKenzie Institute, a right-wing think tank based in Ottawa, with a pro-war agenda (fear mongering) - The Western World's scarcely recognized war with the Islamic Jihad stumbles on; handicapped by the unwillingness of most Muslims to engage in the war (so far, anyway) and by our own common inability to correctly name or identify the enemy. As we get lost in the minutia of homegrown Jihadists, airport security and fighting in Afghanistan, we are losing sight of the forest on account of the trees. Maybe if they can't see the forest for the trees, their wood is just wet.
They don't all sound like "fringe" and in fact many are quite legitimate, showing that Chandler is better connected than his opponents suggest.
I'm going to continue with a few more "Health"/Right-wing connections, so stay tuned, because as Lethbridge concludes:
" Wherever we find tendencies to irrationalism and conspiracy-mongering, there we find fertile ground in which fascism can grow, or a movement which fascism can exploit. These tendencies are rife within the ever-expanding and overlapping alternative medicine, New Age, and tax refusal circles. While the class basis for these tendencies is essentially petit-bourgeois, it is by no means restricted to this class; certainly, sectors of the working class are being strongly influenced by these same forces. It would be foolish to dismiss fascism's entry into these areas which are often considered purely marginal or simply bizarre. On the contrary, much political and agitational work needs to be done on this front, as on so many others, where fascism has found a new foothold." (1)
Next: Religion vs Knowledge
1. Prescription For Fascism: Alternative Medicine and Right-Wing Politics, By David Lethbridge, April 2001
2. Chandler’s Roots of Change Conference attracts fringe elements: Unite-the-right’s downmarket element. Meeting attracts those relegated to sidelines, By Thomas Walkom, Toronto Star, March 21, 1998