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This article was published 14/11/2017 (218 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
One of Canada’s most notorious white nationalists claims his planned conference in Winnipeg will go ahead one way or another, regardless of efforts by local activists to shut it down.
Following news that Frederick Paul Fromm — a longtime self-proclaimed "white nationalist" activist, though he is generally viewed as a white supremacist — was planning to hold a far-right gathering in the city, local anti-fascist organizers began mobilizing to stop the conference from taking place.
"I’ll have to wait to see what happens, but I don’t cancel," Fromm told the Free Press, when asked if he was concerned his speech would be disrupted.
'One way or another people who want to hear me will get together with me' — Frederick Paul Fromm
"One way or another people who want to hear me will get together with me."
In an interview on Tuesday, Fromm confirmed he’d be delivering a speech entitled "Charlottesville Changes Everything," tonight at an airport-area hotel.
When contacted Tuesday, a spokesman for the hotel declined to say whether Fromm was a registered guest, despite the fact his booking was confirmed by multiple sources.
Later in the day, the general manager for the hotel declined any comment on the matter.
Two spokeswomen — one for the Winnipeg hotel and one for the company’s North American office — did not respond to requests for comment by the time of publication.
Fromm’s planned speech will be hosted out of his hotel suite, he said, with guests being charged a $10 fee to hear it. The visit is part of an ongoing Canadian tour, with recent stops including Kelowna, Victoria, Calgary and Edmonton. Fromm confirmed he has contacts with far-right activists in the city, but wouldn’t say if local supporters helped fund his trip to Winnipeg.
The decision by the hotel to allow Fromm’s event to take place is being denounced not only by local anti-fascists, but also a number of organizations representing Jewish groups.
"When white nationalists come to our city to promote their toxic worldview, we must use our freedom of speech to declare that racism, anti-Semitism and hatred in any form are not welcome in Winnipeg," said Joel Lazer, a spokesman for the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg (JFW) and the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA).
"It is shameful that a local hotel is reportedly providing a platform to (and therefore profiting from) Paul Fromm, a notorious white nationalist, to peddle his bigoted agenda.
"On behalf of the JFW and the CIJA — two organizations at the forefront of fighting hate and promoting human rights — we urge the hotel to rethink whether it is worth degrading its own reputation for the sake of a few dollars."
In an interview with the Free Press Monday, a spokesman for B’nai Brith — the oldest Jewish service organization in the world — also denounced the news of Fromm’s planned conference in the city.
Local activists say they originally were hoping the hotel would choose to deal with the situation internally and cancel Fromm’s booking. However, if that doesn’t happen, they are planning to counter-demonstrate the far-right gathering. As of Tuesday night it remained unclear whether the hotel was considering cancelling Fromm’s planned stay.
Anywhere from 20 to 100 protesters could attend the hotel tonight if the speech goes ahead, said Omar Kinnarath, an anti-fascist organizer with Fascist Free Treaty 1. Should the hotel cave to pressure and cancel his booking, Fromm said, he’ll simply find another hotel or venue to hold the event.
Fromm is a former educator who was dismissed by the Ontario College of Teachers in the late 1990s for his association with neo-Nazi organizations — although he denounces the term neo-Nazi as a misnomer.
He identifies as a white nationalist and used to host a radio show on the neo-Nazi and white supremacist website Stormfront. He also has long-standing ties with some of North America’s most well-known Ku Klux Klan members, white supremacists and neo-Nazis, including David Duke, Don Andrews, Don Black and the late Ernst Zundel, among others.
Ryan Thorpe likes the pace of daily news, the feeling of a broadsheet in his hands and the stress of never-ending deadlines hanging over his head.
Updated on Wednesday, November 15, 2017 at 7:21 AM CST: Edited