December 17, 2017

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No hotel room for far-right gathering

Leader mulls legal action

ADRIAN LAM / TIMES COLONIST FILES</p><p>Paul Fromm, Canada First Immigration Reform Committee director, talks to the media during a protest in Victoria, B.C. in 2010.</p>

ADRIAN LAM / TIMES COLONIST FILES

Paul Fromm, Canada First Immigration Reform Committee director, talks to the media during a protest in Victoria, B.C. in 2010.

Facing backlash over news Frederick Paul Fromm would be holding a Wednesday night conference at the Hilton Winnipeg Airport Suites, the hotel issued a statement saying it has cancelled the notorious Canadian white nationalist’s room.

“We appreciate and acknowledge your concerns regarding Mr. Fromm’s proposed event... Due to safety and security concerns, the reservation has been cancelled and Mr. Fromm will no longer be staying at the hotel,” a spokesman for the hotel company wrote in an email to Helmut-Harry Loewen, a retired University of Winnipeg professor with a specialization in neo-fascism.

“Our goal is to provide quality accommodations for our guests, employees and members of our community visiting our hotel. Racism in any form is not tolerated,” the statement read.

Anti-fascists soon called off a protest planned for outside the hotel, which was to respond to Fromm’s far-right gathering and his presentation entitled Charlottesville Changes Everything.

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Facing backlash over news Frederick Paul Fromm would be holding a Wednesday night conference at the Hilton Winnipeg Airport Suites, the hotel issued a statement saying it has cancelled the notorious Canadian white nationalist’s room.

"We appreciate and acknowledge your concerns regarding Mr. Fromm’s proposed event... Due to safety and security concerns, the reservation has been cancelled and Mr. Fromm will no longer be staying at the hotel," a spokesman for the hotel company wrote in an email to Helmut-Harry Loewen, a retired University of Winnipeg professor with a specialization in neo-fascism.

"Our goal is to provide quality accommodations for our guests, employees and members of our community visiting our hotel. Racism in any form is not tolerated," the statement read.

Anti-fascists soon called off a protest planned for outside the hotel, which was to respond to Fromm’s far-right gathering and his presentation entitled Charlottesville Changes Everything.

"We’re very happy and feel very positive that Hilton made the right decision. Morally and ethically, it was the right call," said Omar Kinnarath, a local organizer with Fascist Free Treaty 1.

"It’s great and shows that community organizing and community pressure works. We did something together today, the hotel, anti-fascists and all the groups that have been involved in this whole thing."

Kinnarath went on to thank hotel staff for their patience when fielding calls from concerned community members during the past two days.

Following his arrival in the city Wednesday, Fromm characterized the Hilton’s decision to cancel his booking as a breach of contract. He added he’s "disappointed, but not surprised."

Fromm said he’s been in contact with a lawyer and is considering legal action.

Citing help from local supporters, Fromm said the presentation would go on as planned and some 20 people were expected to attend. He did not make clear if the meeting would take place at another hotel in the city.

During a press conference Wednesday, Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman denounced Fromm’s visit.

"Winnipeg and Winnipeggers are voicing their repulsion with the prospect of Mr. Fromm espousing his hate in the city of Winnipeg. I want to let those Winnipeggers that are expressing their repulsion know that I’m with them and I’d encourage them to continue to express their condemnation... in a lawful manner," Bowman said. "Certainly, I find the hate he is promoting in cities across Canada, and now purportedly in Winnipeg, unwelcome and repulsive, and the vast majority of Winnipeggers will share those views as well."

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 activist, though he is generally viewed as a white supremacist, 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.media@mail.com

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History

Updated on Wednesday, November 15, 2017 at 8:52 PM CST: updates with Fromm quotes, new headline

9:49 PM: adds new photos

November 16, 2017 at 7:51 AM: New headline

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