The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: orgs/canadian/sirc/heritage-front/HF-II-Targeting-Extremists


This chapter outlines the reasons why CSIS decided to target the leaders 
of the white supremacist movement. The general process by which CSIS 
decides whether to investigate a particular individual is described in 
Annex A.  

   2.1 Targeting the Extremists

The targeting of the white supremacist movement, since tie establishment 
of CSIS, has been reviewed continuously since 1985. The individual 
targets have changed, and the scope of the investigations has narrowed 
and then recently expanded again. Over the years, a considerable number 
of people in positions of authority, both in government and the 
judiciary, have known of and approved the Service's operations in this area.  

The list of those who have scrutinized the targeting of individuals in 
the white supremacist movement since the creation of CSIS includes: seven 
Solicitors General; four Inspectors General; twelve members of the Security 
Intelligence Review Committee; and four Directors of CSIS. In addition, 
judges of the Federal Court have granted warrant powers to the Service to 
investigate in this area.

In this section of our report, we examine how the Service targeted the 
individuals in the white supremacist movement. We review:  

   * the grounds upon which white supremacists were targeted; and  
   * who was targeted.  

CSIS has never issued a targeting authorization specifically against 
the Heritage Front per se.  

CSIS began to investigate members of the white supremacist movement from 
the creation of the new civilian agency, although targeting took place 
earlier, under the RCMP Security Service.  

The most significant change to the targeting process during the period 
was that the scope of the investigation narrowed. Recent targeting 
certificates, however, show that the Service has again expanded its 
information collection efforts to include those who participate in acts 
of serious political violence. The Targeting Approval and Review 
Committee (TARC) minutes of February 1988 state that "although no 
concrete acts of violence have taken place yet, it is seriously believed 
that these organizations have the capacity to perform such actions."

After five years of investigating the extreme right, CSIS concluded in 
the 1990-91 TARC submission, that the "investigations since 1985 have 
documented the violence and petty criminal activity by skinheads and 
others but nothing that could be considered a threat to the security of 
Canada." CSIS continued to investigate the extent to which the 
extreme-right constitutes a threat, by "focusing on the leadership".  

   2.2 The First Certificates of the 90's

Targeting the "extreme right" in 1990-91 took place under sections 
12, 2(b)[1] and 2(c)[2] of the CSIS Act. In 1991-92, targeting was only 
under 2(c). Counter-terrorism investigations are, of course, under 2(c), 
"political violence".

The 1990-91 targeting submission defined the extreme right "as racists, 
fascists and anti-semites who are prepared to use violence to achieve 
their political objectives."

   The leaders were said to:  

   "plan and direct the advancement of a white supremacist philosophy 
   which includes the use of serious violence as a tactic to achieve 
   their stated political objective."  

CSIS' aim was to provide preemptive intelligence of the

   "leaders capabilities in gaining support for their extremist 
   political doctrine in 1990 and beyond. Financing, offshore 
   direction and support as well as the connections to other groups 
   will be included as objectives of our investigation."

The Service also sought to develop human sources close to the 
extreme-right in order to ascertain the white supremacist strategy. 
CSIS sought to differentiate its investigation from criminal 

   In March 1991, TARC added a significant condition:  

   "The range of investigative techniques to be deployed under 
   this authorization will be subject to consultation with the Minister."

From this point on, the Service was required to send an aide-memoire to 
the Solicitor General - prior to implementing the TARC Certificate.  

   2.3 The Second Targeting Series

The 1992-93 submission to TARC against the white supremacists was approved, 
pursuant to s.2 (c) of the CSIS Act. The rationale was:  
   * the increased coordination between extremist groups in Canada and 

   * the use of "modern technology to compile data on individuals 
     considered to be threats to their racist ideology"; and  

   * the operation of three hotlines to "propagate a racist 
     ideology and recruit followers".

The Service stated that the racists had taken "a more pro-active stance 
to further their political objectives." Proof for the statement was "the 
increasing presence of hate literature and racist hotlines, as well as a 
number of high profile criminal cases." 

In what appeared to be a return to broader and more preemptive 
information collection, TARC approved an authorization against "Serious 
Violence Associated with Racist and Anti-Semitic incidents". The 
investigation collected information on racist and anti-semitic  

   "incidents that have the potential to manifest themselves into 
   acts of politically motivated violence. Occurrences, that involve 
   circumstances reasonably suspected of having a politically 
   motivated intent, will be the subject of Service enquiries with 
   local authorities."  

   The 1993 TARC submission highlighted two developments:  

   * "a noticeable shift towards more violence-prone groups on the 
     part of a growing number of white supremacists, particularly 
     within the ranks of neo-nazi skinheads[3]";

   * the "growing emergence of sophisticated weapons within the 
     white supremacist  milieu".  

   The Service added

   "We continue to differentiate hate crimes and incidents of 
   racially motivated violence  from activities which are directed 
   by the white supremacist leadership in pursuit of their political 
As in the previous year, the submission expressed concern about the 
links forged within and between the Canadian white supremacists and 
their foreign counterparts.  

The 1993 submission acknowledged that the Heritage Front had become 
"the most prominent white supremacist organization in the country," 
prominent enough to inspire the creation of a counter group called 
"Anti-Racist Action", The latter was "allegedly preparing to use 
violence and 'direct action' tactics to counter the white supremacists."

   2.4 The Current Certificate

The most recent TARC Certificate sought to show the stronger links 
between incidents of racial violence and the political objectives 
of the white supremacists.

   "The supremacists, said the Service, have demonstrated an ability 
   to plan and direct groups to carry out acts of violence on behalf 
   of their ideals. More importantly, they had shown a propensity for 
   violence and are prepared to resort to violence to achieve their 
   political objective of establishing a whites-only 'Aryan' 


1. Threats to the Security of Canada, Section 2(b) of the CSIS Act:  

   "foreign influenced activities within or relating to Canada that 
   are detrimental to the interests of Canada and are clandestine or 
   deceptive or involve a threat to any person."  

2. Threats to the Security of Canada, Section 2(c) of the CSIS Act:  

   "activities within or relating to Canada directed toward or in support 
   of the threat or use of acts of serious violence against persons or 
   property for the purpose of achieving a political objective within 
   Canada or a foreign state."

3. * The Leader of the Church of the Creator, George Burdi established 
     a security team  for the COTC and Heritage Front.  
   * A COTC member was arrested on weapons offenses.  

4. * July 1992 visit of Americans Tom and John Metzger (head of 
     White Aryan Resistance). Deported.  
   * 1993 attempt by Dennis Mahon (Ku Rlux Rlan Leader from 
     Oklahoma) to enter Canada to support Wolfgang Droege at his 
     Canadian Human Rights Tribllnsl hearing. Stopped at the airport.  
   * Fall 1992 - David Irving, British revisionist historian visits 
     Canada. Deported by CEIC.  

5. Criminal Incidents cited:  

   - clashes between anti-racists and the Heritage Front in 
     Ottawa (May 93) and Toronto (June 93);  
   - Wolfgang Droege and several supporters charged with assault, 
     armed robbery, kidnapping and forceable confinement; and  
   - both George Burdi and Eric Fischer face criminal charges.

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