On August 24, 2019, a small anti-immigrant demonstration was held at the Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle border crossing. The event was coordinated by the Groupe de sécurité patriotique (GSP, literally translated as “Patriotic Security Group”) and supported by an assortment of far-right fanatics, including a well-known neo-Nazi who traveled from Ontario with other Canadian ultranationalists to team up with our local “patriots.”
These demonstrators, who obviously adhere to an alternative version of reality rooted in various conspiracy theories (including the so-called “great replacement” of the Québécois/Canadian/Western/White populations by means of a “mass immigration” plan that is supposedly orchestrated by the “globalist elite” at the UN; this is the exact same racist theory that inspired the Christchurch and El Paso mass murderers), had called for a gathering at Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle in order to denounce the arrival of immigrants and “illegal” refugees into Canada[i].
A failed mobilization
The August 24 rally was first called by Lucie Poulin, a key organizer with the Parti patriote (Patriot Party), which is currently trying to gather enough signatures to run in the 2019 federal election. The Patriot Party is a far-right, nationalist group in Québec which was present at the recent Vague bleue (Blue Wave) mobilizations, but whose relationship with the Vague bleue organizers has since then taken a turn for the worse following a public freak out from Poulin. Not surprisingly, the Patriot Party’s main issues are opposition to “mass immigration” and “anti-Québécois racism.”
The far-right mobilization on August 24 remained mediocre, despite the announcement made by Robert Proulx, leader of the Groupe de sécurité patriotique (GSP), that his group endorsed the initiative and would be present to ensure its security.
The day after the event, Robert Proulx – discomfited and on the verge of depression – published a video in which he expressed a negative appraisal and overall disappointment with the mobilization. Not once did he address the presence of a well-known neo-Nazi by his side all day…
Dubious new acquaintances…
Among the approximately 40 people who gathered at the border was a small contingent of Canadian “Yellow Vests” from the Toronto and Hamilton areas, as well as Peterborough’s neo-Nazi activist Kevin Goudreau… who was even invited to take the microphone a few times!
Goudreau, the infamous leader of the Canadian Nationalist Front, has a long history of ultra-nationalist militancy, and recently made headlines for calling on his supporters to kill members of the Anti-Hate Network, journalists, and antifascists.
“I’m proud of my heritage; we’ve been here for 400 fucking years. And we don’t need, these fucking… god-dam fucking ragheads (sic) coming here and telling us how to live our life. Our heritage, our homeland. (…) We’re not immigrants. We did not immigrate here. We built this country, from garbage, from nothing.”
Just before, Johane Voyer – presented as the GSP’s head of media relations – made a long speech as delirious as it was disjointed:
« (…) We are Storm Alliance, Les Gardiens du Québec, La Meute… We are Atalante, name it… EVEN, we are the antifas! (…) »
(…) Our political elites want to make Canada and Québec an overpopulated country of immigrants. (…)
Trudeau, among others, between 2019 and 2020, if he is re-elected, he wants to bring in a million. (…) Canada has the highest immigration rate in the world. We are forced back. Mass immigration, refugees, crossing on behalf of a third country, supposedly legal or illegal asylum seekers (sic). For at least 15 years, this country has accepted twice as many immigrants as the United States, and four times more than France. That means between two and two and a half times per capita (sic). If that is not the assimilation of our people, then what is it?”
“There is not a single francophone left in Manitoba anymore.”
The vociferous Michel Malik Ethier, who has previously been mentioned on this site on various occasions, pointed to the UN as the main enemy of the Québécois people:
“It’s the UN that is pushing Trudeau to do that. Trudeau uses a weapon called ‘multiculturalism’ to attain his globalist ends. The remedy, the antidote to that, is what I see before me: it is patriotism. That’s why they want to destroy nationalism altogether. Whether it is Quebec nationalism or Canadian nationalism, our nationalism is a poison for Trudeau. (…) Trudeau, leaving the door open to any migrant, puts us in danger.”
Following the example of Voyer and other speakers, Ethier then inexplicably decided to address the dozens of protesters in English. It would normally be surprising to see so many Quebec patriots demonstrating under a gigantic maple leaf and speaking in English to reach out to Canadian ultranationalists –but for these so-called patriots, the defense of “the people” and of the national territory against the imaginary threat of “mass immigration” now seems to take priority over the aspiration to national independence for Quebec!
Robert Proulx, aka “Bob the Warrior,” the leader of GSP, took the microphone next to defend the group’s practice of dressing up as fake soldiers in military surplus gear to “defend” these ultranationalist protests. True to his habit of lying compulsively, he began by saying that GSP has “ensured security at protests” for five years, even though the group has only existed for a year (at most), and even though Proulx himself only began appearing at La Meute’s protests in 2017. Once full of shit, always full of shit…
“What really hurts is to read comments on Facebook saying that we look like ridiculous dumbasses dressed in military gear.”
Donald Proulx, of the Patriot Party, followed with a series of dubious statistics on “the assimilation of Francophones”:
“[The Francophone nation across Canada] In 1766, we were at 99%; we can say that things were going very well at that time. (…) Today, we are talking about being down to 20%. With massive and illegal immigration, it will continue to drop much more quickly. (…) Nationalist parties are taking off in Europe right now. We need that kind of politics here, and it should have started at least 15 years ago. The Patriot Party is going to be there, not just at the federal level, we are going to be there at the provincial level, and we are going to target the municipal, we are going to be everywhere.”
A discrete opposition
A discrete antifascist mobilization remained in proximity to, but separate from, the demonstration all day long, observing the bigots from a distance. It was decided on the spot not to engage in a direct counter-protest – given the circumstances, it was better to simply leave them with the rope they needed to hang themselves!
Lucie Poulin and Robert Proulx both boasted about their close collaboration with the police in their respective video reports on the event, stating that the police closely escorted them throughout the day. Police officers were even seen joking and socializing with the bigots.
Complicity in Lacolle
Most of the demonstrators took several hours to reach the border crossing at Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle, but for some, the trip was much shorter.
André Lafrance, a municipal councillor for Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle, was present at the rally. Far from dissociating himself from the racists, he joined the small crowd and even published a photo album of the day accompanied by raving commentary.
It also seems that the racists’ meeting point, IGA Dauphinais, was not chosen by coincidence; the owner of the IGA and the attached shopping center went above and beyond to accommodate the rally, and the protesters were warmly welcomed –both in the parking lot and, after their protest, in the mall restaurant. We are observing a clear pattern, here, and will pay greater attention in the future to this preoccupying complicity in Lacolle.
The infighting continues…
After the fiasco that was the Vague bleue (Blue Wave) in Trois-Rivières, the small national-populist milieu currently rallied around the GSP has just proven that its members are no better than their rivals the Gardiens du Québec (Guardians of Quebec), considering that they went so far as to give a nice platform to a well-known neo-Nazi!
For the record, before the small rally on the 24th, Lucie Poulin had already stirred up drama in the milieu by attacking both John Hex (the main organizer of the Vague bleue) and Storm Alliance for not having immediately endorsed her initiative. Her criticism was then echoed by Robert Proulx and Sylvain Lacroix of GSP, who were still frustrated at having been told by the organizers of the Vague bleue not to come out to the event’s second edition wearing paramilitary outfits (hence Proulx’s comment above). In response, Éric Trudel, the leader of Storm Alliance, stated that “the Stormers” would no longer return to the border, stressing that the individuals behind the demonstration on August 24thare those who are always stirring up shit within the movement.
Speaking on behalf of La Meute, an organization in crisis and full of hypocrites, Wolfric Oullet (dictator-in-chief Sylvain Brouillette’s right-hand man) took a moment to criticize former Meute members and “dissidents” who joined or endorsed the demonstration: “You gang of fools are not worthy to bear our name and wear our colors after having burned them and with what you are now doing with them. Shame on you all, you gang of imbeciles.”
What we are currently witnessing in Quebec is a rise to the surface of all the most pathetic elements of the far-right, in a context where the two main organizations active in recent years – La Meute and Storm Alliance – are withdrawing. All kinds of individuals, a little less skillful and more frank in their racism, are taking advantage of this withdrawal to put themselves forward.
A situation to keep an eye on.
[i] The Lacolle border crossing has become a priority gathering area for the far-right in its opposition to immigration. A large number of migrants cross the border at Roxham Road, close to the Lacolle crossing, to flee an increasingly repressive situation in the United States. Since the Trump regime has refused to renew various agreements allowing people to remain in that country legally, people come to Canada in the hope of finding refuge here. However, because of the hypocritical and deadly “Safe Third Country Agreement,” migrants are denied refugee status if they show up at a regular border crossing. This is why they are forced to cross at an irregular passage. Roxham Road has become one of the most important (and most famous) of these crossing points.
Rather than recognize the situation at the border for what it is – the tip of the iceberg of a global humanitarian crisis fueled by imperialist wars, ecological destruction, and racism – far-right organizations cling to the issue of what they call “illegal immigration” to attract media attention and stir up racist sentiments and behavior. It is important to note that according to the Quebec Bar Association, there is no such thing as “illegal immigration”; it is not a legal category. The use of the term “illegal immigrants” is just a word trick meant to suggest that refugees are doing something wrong or are criminals.