A CULTURE OF DEFIANCE: History of the Reform-Conservative Party of Canada
The above video is an important one to play as the soundtrack for this story of Stephen Harper and the group he was a founding member of: The Northern Foundation. One of it's initial goals was to fight against the release of Nelson Mandela from prison, the end of Apartheid and our government's economic sanctions imposed on the white South African government.
It would be two more years before Simple Plan's Mandela Day message would be realized, but it was well worth the wait. Mr. Mandela's name is now synonymous with racial struggles, though his 1993 Nobel Peace Prize, came at a hefty price.
Harper's Northern Foundation and the Roots of Reform
So what exactly was meant by pro-South Africa group?
"‘The Northern Foundation was established in 1989, originally as a pro-South Africa group . . . lists among the founding members of the Foundation both William Gairdner and Stephen Harper ... " (1)
"... the Northern Foundation was the creation of a number of generally extreme right-wing conservatives, including Anne Hartmann (a director of REAL Women), Geoffrey Wasteneys (A long-standing member of the Alliance for the Preservation of English in Canada), George Potter (also a member of the Alliance for the Preservation of English in Canada), author Peter Brimelow, Link Byfield (son of Ted Byfield and himself publisher/president of Alberta Report), and Stephen Harper." (2)
The following excerpts are from both Trevor Harrison's and Murray Dobbin's books as sourced at the bottom of the page, and provide the framework for the pro-Apartheid South Africa stand taken by the Reform Party and Harper's Northern Foundation. As Mr. Dobbin stated in his book, Stephen Harper and Preston Manning were always very careful not to write extremist views into their policies, but the people invited to both NF conferences and Reform conventions tell a different story.
"... the notion that some Reform members may have strong Anglo-Saxon nativist inclinations is supported by more than merely the background profiles of its leaders, members and supporters. It is supported also by the words of many of its ideological mentors who depict Canada as not only historically an Anglo-Saxon country but also part of a wider Anglo-Saxon culture that is in need of recognizing and re-establishing its heritage.
"Read for example Peter Brimelow's* words bemoaning the eclipse of Anglo-Saxon hegemony. 'At the end of the nineteenth century, belief in the superiority of the Anglo Saxon values ... (was) the most social norm in every English-speaking country ... For WASP supremacists everywhere, however, the twentieth century has been a most distressing experience.' (3)
'The twentieth century has proved bitter. The values that are common to the English-speaking peoples are in a minority in the world, and on the defensive. Future historians might well be surprised that at this late date the English-speaking countries remain so self-absorbed, and despite their common ancestry, show so little conscious awareness of their common interests'.
"Voiced by some prominent Reform supporters, the notion of a 'common heritage' seems to encompass the white settler colonies of the former empire, including white South Africa. Consider, for example, Stan Water's** reluctance to criticize the slow pace of ending apartheid in South Africa: 'If history has any parallelism, you might find a very serious problem emerging in South Africa which may dwarf the objectionable features of the current administration ... I always ask Mr. (Foreign Affairs Minister) Joe Clark, if South Africa's going to change, what black Nation do you want it to imitate? Most of them are despotic...'
"Water's musings are not singular. Murray Dobbin has chronicled extensively the pro-white South Africa actions and sympathies of numerous people within the party, including Ted Byfield*** and Arthur Child. This support for white South Africa, a country whose political system was based on racial group affiliation, by many within the Reform party ... cannot be explained adequately unless one accepts the notion that many Reformers strongly identify with 'Anglo' culture. This identification is nowhere more strongly enunciated than in William D. Gairdner's**** Trouble With Canada" (3)
But Stan Water's views would not limited to South Africa:
"Water's views and his frankness in expressing them covered a wide range of issues. On the topic of despotic governments, he referred primarily to black African governments. And this commitment to democracy was qualified: 'South Africa should think twice before allowing majority rule because most black African countries live under tyranny ... If history has any parallelism, you might find a very serious problem emerging in South Africa which may dwarf the objectionable features of the current administration ... it may be impossible to transport our version of democracy to South Africa.' (4)
And of the Northern Foundation and Reform Party in general:
But despite Stephen Harper's Northern Foundation and the Reform Party, Nelson Mandela prevailed.
"It claims that common sense Canadians ... who appreciate Canada's British and Christian heritage and oppose forced bilingualism, destabilizing immigration policies and government promoted official multiculturalism. It adopts the National Citizens Coalition slogan "More freedom through less government.'
"...The foundation's magazine carries a half-page ad in every issue for the Phoenix, a pro-white South Africa magazine, and regularly solicits support from members on special causes, from property rights to English language rights. Attacks on homosexuals and homosexual rights are frequent ..."
"The South Africa Connection: There is good reason to believe that groups sympathetic to (white) South Africa have seen the party as an ally, especially in the days when trade sanctions, strongly supported by Canada, were proving damaging to the South African economy and it's prestige. That was in 1988-89. And it was during this period in particular that a number of pro-South African groups organized efforts to undermine Canadian policy and to spread pro-South African literature across the country. All of these groups had some degree of contact with the South African embassy in Ottawa ... Key individuals in those organizations have also played and continue to play important roles in the Reform party.
"It's not surprising that these individuals and the South Africa embassy would see Reform as a friendly party. Stan Water's frequent sympathetic references to (white) South Africa ... His attacks on Canada's giving aid to black African countries and his labelling of them as despotic, corrupt dictatorships cast Waters as a hero for the extreme right. William Gairdner, the man most often used as a key-note speaker by Preston Manning, is also an outspoken supporter of South Africa. In 'The Trouble With Canada', he repeatedly decries Canada's policy on South Africa and, like Waters, levels attacks on the "One party dictatorships of Black African countries...."
"Ted Byfield is also a prominent figure in the pro-south Africa community.... Byfield has also written for 'International Conservative Insight', a far-right foreign affairs magazine published by the Canadian Conservative Centre and featuring articles by South African ambassadors and many of Canada's far right-wing journalists - including Lubor Zink, Peter Brimelow, and Reform member Doug Collins of Vancouver.
"Water's military background and his business connections got the attention of pro-South African activists long before he became external affairs spokesman for the Reform Party .. and that attention paid off ... Arthur Child the president of Burns Meats ... has openly supported South Africa for twenty years ... he is also on the board of Canadian-South African Society (CSAS) ... founded in 1979 and was involved says Child, in 'trying to counteract the anti-South African sentiment in Ottawa ... we distributed information on South Africa - mostly to MPs.
"(CSAS) was founded to bring together Canadian and American subsidiary business interests in South Africa ...Their profit levels are high - often twice their returns in companies ventures in Canada - due to their ability to pay low wages and almost no benefits to black labour.' "Most of the thirty member board are from Ontario ... a few were from the west ... one of these was Norman Wallace of Saskatoon ... a founding member of the Reform party ... He set up Eagle Staff Import Export Ltd. to further business ties with South Africa.
"Wallace created considerable controversy in 1987 when he and others involved in a group called the Indian Business Development Association put up money for a South African tour for five Saskatchewan Indian leaders ... intended to give the Pretoria regime a public relations weapon - using aboriginal conditions in Canada to demonstrate the Canadian government's hypocrisy. But as active as he was, Wallace was not the most prominent South African supporter to join the Reform Party early on. That title belongs to Donovan Carter, a former television broadcaster in Calgary ... Carter was identified as a paid agent of the South African embassy by the program "The Fifth Estate" in November 1989. He was a member of the Calgary group called the Western Society of South Africa. He was also host of a TV show called 'South Africa Report'....
"... Carter discussed his work with Patrick Evans, the embassy's First Secretary and they decided that the most effective way to undermine Canadian policy was to set up "a friends of South Africa" front groups across the country ... his operation fell apart when two of his recruits from Winnipeg, Geoff Shaw and Ihor Wichacz, became increasingly worried about the tasks they were assigned and went public. At first they were simply engaged in letter writing campaigns .. using their own and other people's names in letters to the editor ... then they were asked to infiltrate anti-apartheid groups. Worried, they spoke to ... CSIS (the Canadian Security Intelligence Service), who told them to go ahead.
[Reform Party member] Carter did not restrict himself to promoting South Africa in his work with front groups. Through him Shaw and Wichacz regularly received material from a whole range of right-wing groups, particularly from the U.S. Wichacz told 'The Fifth Estate'; 'I started getting a lot of right-wing revisionist literature, stuff concerning Lyndon Larouche ... literature that the Holocaust never happened. Literature, let's say, from Posse Comitatas ... ... Carter worked closely with Stan Waters after joining the party soon after its founding. 'I've been sending him certain intelligence reports that we get from England. I happen to be associated with the best intelligence group in the world'.
"Carter confirms that it was Stan Waters who wrote the rather cryptic foreign policy, which appeared in the 1989 Blue Book, and also confirms that it was inspired by Canada's policy towards black African states and South Africa: 'It most definitely was. I have letters from him saying that's what he thought'.
"There is little doubt that many pro-South Africa activists have found their way into the Reform Party. Some have gained prominence. Maurice Tugwell, a friend of Stan Waters, is former head of the Center for Conflict Studies ... An expert in counter-insurgency, he is also on the board of the Canadian-South African Society and an active member of the Reform Party. Angus Gunn, a Reform member in Vancouver, is president of the Canadian Buthelezi .. which has sent $ 100,000.00 to Buthelezi ... the Zulu chieftain ... a rival of Nelson Mandela ...
"Doug Collins is a member of Canadian Friends of South Africa ... and has written numerous sympathetic articles ... Collins is also a member of CFAR ... an extremist right-wing group founded by Paul Fromm. While Manning felt obliged to stop the candidacy of the outspoken Doug Collins (he wanted to run for the reform Party in 1988), he seems less concerned about Donovan Carter, a man whose activities - including organized spying for a foreign power - have been mostly clandestine and therefore not an embarrassment to the party." (5)
*Peter Brimelow was also around during the early days. Dubbed a paleoconservative, his book: The Patriot Game: National Dreams & Political Realities, was an inspiration to Stephen Harper and his friend John Weissenberger: “Brimelow’s book, that was a big influence at the time,” Weissenberger says. ... We both read it with great interest and discussed a lot of the points in it. Brimelow identified a number of areas of conflict within Canada that the current system was papering over, the Quebec question being the largest one. We were so impressed that we actually went to one bookstore and we said, ‘OK, we want to buy ten copies of this book, what deal will you give us?’ So we bought ten copies and gave them to all our friends.” (6)
**Stan Waters was a founding member of the Reform Party of Canada and the first elected senator, though he never served. He was seen as one of the [Reform] party's most popular early spokesmen and policy communicators, speaking at numerous party rallies and events from 1987 to 1991. (Wikipedia)
***Ted Byfield was not only an early Reform Party member but also the founder of the secretive Civitas Society, that now plays an integral role in the Reform-Alliance-Conservative movement.
****William Gairdner was not only an early Reform Party and Northern Foundation member, but his book the Trouble With Canada ".. helped lay the groundwork for Reform Party policy." (7) He is also a founding member of the Civitas Society.
1. Preston Manning and the Reform Party. Author: Murray Dobbin Goodread Biographies/Formac Publishing 1992 ISBN: 0-88780-161-7, pg. 100
2. Of Passionate Intensity: Right-Wing Populism and the Reform Party of Canada. Author: Trevor Harrison Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1995. ISBN: 0-8020-7204-6, Pg. 121
3. Harrison 1995. Pg 170-171
4. Dobbin. 1992 Pg. 93
5. Dobbin. 1992. Pg. 100-107
6. Stephen Harper and the Future of Canada. by William Johnson, ISBN 0-7710 4350-3, 2005, Pg. 52
7. Dobbin, 1992, Pg. 165