VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – A local man has taken to social media to speak out against anti-immigrant sentiments, after he says he recently spotted a white nationalist poster in Vancouver.
Adrian Long was waiting for the bus on Main Street near 1st Avenue when the poster caught his eye.
“I saw the picture of John A. Macdonald and I remembered hearing something about the news of the statue being removed and thought I’d go take a look. I instantly, as soon as I saw it, I figured ‘oh boy, is this some right-wing protest,’ and sure enough my hunch was confirmed.”
The poster, which Long says he tore down, reads: “It started with Cornwallis, now it’s Macdonald. We tried to warn you but you didn’t want to listen” with the hashtags #DefendMacdonald and #DefendCanada. It also features the ID Canada website and logo.
“It’s very similar to the same alt-right group’s logo in the States. They just kind of added a few maple leaves. So I recognized that and I checked the website out later and sure enough, it’s full on white nationalist, ethno-state material.”
ID Canada describes itself as an “an Ethno-Nationalist and Identitarian youth movement.” On its website, the group says it was created in response to “Canada’s decaying identity, increased third-world immigration and the prevalence of anti-European sentiments in this country.”
Long says he felt a surge of adrenaline and was upset to know that someone was posting these flyers in his neighbourhood.
As the US marks one year since the Charlottesville protest — which saw violent clashes between white supremacists and counter protesters — Long says it’s important Canadians don’t glorify an oppressive past, and don’t just point fingers at their neighbours to the south.
“[The anniversary of the Charlottesville protest and killing of Heather Hayer] just passed us by and people tend to have short memories, I’ve noticed,” he tells NEWS 1130. “I want people to know that this sort of far-right sentiment is very much active and alive, and if they could do another Charlottesville, they absolutely would.”
He believes it’s important for “good people” to be vigilant against racism.
“The Canadian context is unique because we have a history of colonialism here — the United States does as well — but here when we have the sense of a figure like John A. Macdonald, that is glorifying a colonial history that the far right actually thinks is a good thing.”
A statue of John A. Macdonald, Canada’s first prime minister, that stood outside Victoria City Hall was taken down on Saturday as a gesture of reconciliation to First Nations communities. Macdonald helped create the residential school system.
With files from Renee Bernard