We should mention that despite our feelings about the late Rob Ford’s tenure as mayor of Toronto, we were not suggesting that he was sympathetic towards neo-Nazis (the explanation provided by his office did a good job of putting this to bed), but that his handlers should have been more diligent in preventing Latvis from being photographed with Mr. Ford. In any case, Latvis himself denied his entire history of being involved in the biggest White Power bands of the 1990s and suggested he would sue Mr. Kinsella for defamation.
Considering that the Internet exists which documented his active and enthusiastic involvement in the neo-Nazi movement, as well as the following post made on his own Facebook profile explaining to his friends why he publicly denied his involvement, it would have been a very difficult case for him to make which is probably why he didn’t sue:
Now, fast forward a few years.
Last weekend, the Bloor West Village Ukrainian Festival took place in Toronto. It is an event, like other similar festivals, that celebrates Ukrainian culture including food (we loves us our perogies), dance, and music. As this writer also has connections to Ukraine, it sounds like a good time and a blast to attend.
But based on what the good folks at the Left Chapter observed while watching a video of the parade, there was a bit of a fly in the ointment:
|The portrait on the side of the banner closest |
to the viewer is that of Stepan Bandera.
Yeah, those are members of the Canadian chapter of Right Sector.
And who are Right Sector?
Critics at home say the party’s inflammatory rhetoric and violence is helping Russian media to depict Ukraine as overrun with “neo-Nazis” who threaten the Russian-speaking population.
Activists claiming to be Right Sector members were involved in Kiev’s Maidan protests from late November, but the group did not attract much attention until violent clashes with police in central Kiev on 19 January, in which it played a leading role.
A leading figure in the Right Sector, Andriy Tarasenko, says it aims not for closer ties with Europe but rather to “build a nationalist Ukrainian state and stage a nationalist revolution”.
Dmytro Yarosh calls himself a follower of Stepan Bandera, a nationalist leader who fought Polish and Soviet rule in the 1930s and 1940s but is seen in Russia and eastern Ukraine as a Nazi collaborator.
Some far-right activists interviewed by the BBC’s Gabriel Gatehouse in Kiev in early March made it clear that they wanted a Ukraine “just for Ukrainians”.
Other articles on Right Sector are equally enlightening:
- Ukrainian far-right group claims to be co-ordinating violence in Kiev
- ‘Right Sector’ hackers attempt to blackmail Polish government
- Kiev Pride 2016: Why are Ukraine’s politicians silent on attacks against LGBT people?
- The Assault on Kiev Pride
- Ukraine: When the Right Sector Runs the Courtroom
- Ukraine government in armed standoff with nationalist militia
- Ukraine: Overwhelming new evidence of prisoners being tortured and killed amid conflict
Now, much like Rob Ford who was pictured with Jon Latvis, we don’t believe the organizers intended on having a far-right ultranationalist group join in on their parade, however we would apply the same criticism as we did in Mr. Ford’s case when we suggest they should have done a more thorough job checking into the groups participating.
But it might be of interested to our readers to know that Latvis actually has a bit of a connection here as well:
Yep, he’s a supporter of Right Sector: