A “Toronto Nationalist Rally” has been planned via Facebook for September 14 at U of T. The event, organized by a group calling itself the Canadian Nationalist Party (CNP), is slated to take place from 7:00-9:00 PM at 27 King’s College Circle.
U of T denies that space for this event has been booked.
The description of the event says the goal is to “discuss the nationalist movement in Canada and the future of our country” and says that “a positive and professional message must come first.” The event description also notes that they “will not tolerate verbal threats or attempts to physically intimidate our speakers, our hosts, or our attendees,” and that “anyone who violates the freedom of expression or the physical well-being of another person will be immediately escorted out and handed over to law enforcement.”
At time of publication, over 20 people have responded that they are “Going” to the event and over 70 are “Interested.”
An event that appears to be a counter-protest, called the “Unity Rally to Silence White Supremacy in Toronto” has been organized over Facebook. It’s slated to occur from 6:00-8:00 PM at Yonge & Dundas Square. Over 700 have responded that they are “Going” to the counter-protest, and almost 2000 have indicated “Interested.”
The CNP was founded by Travis Patron of Redvers, Saskatchewan. Patron is described on the CNP website as a “political economist and digital money researcher.” The party is not registered under Elections Canada or Elections Ontario.
The CNP’s 21-point platform, among other things, demands “the attempted genocide of the founding Canadian people, an agenda put forth by Pierre Trudeau and accelerated by Justin Trudeau, be discontinued immediately.” It also calls for the “cancellation of all reparation payments made to Aboriginal peoples” and “an immediate discontinuation of all drinking water fluoridation.”
“In order to carry out this program,” the CNP’s last point reads, “we demand the creation of a strong central authority in the State with the unconditional authority of parliament on the grounds they be willing to execute this program at all costs, and if necessary at the expense of their own lives.”
Plans for the rally follows a disruptive weekend in the United States, where groups of white nationalists, neo-Nazis, and the KKK clashed with counter-protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia. The groups had gathered in Charlottesville as part of a “Unite the Right” gathering to protest the removal of a statue of Civil War-era Confederate General Robert E. Lee from a public park. One person was killed and nineteen were injured after a car plowed into a crowd of counter-protesters.
Althea Blackburn-Evans, Director of Media Relations at U of T, told The Varsity that the university has “had no contact with the organizers of the event” and that “there is no space booking by the Canadian Nationalist Party…this is not an event that the university is hosting.”
Patron, speaking to The Varsity, confirmed that the CNP has not booked a space at the university for September 14.
“We’re still planning on communicating with the booking team at the U of T,” Patron said. “We haven’t done that yet but we are planning to do so.”
Patron said that the rally is planned as an indoor event, but said that the CNP has not looked at any specific halls yet. He did say that “the University of Toronto is a historically significant campus, it’s a beautiful campus, and if they are interested in hosting an event that represents traditionalist values, and a nationalist political party, then that is something we can talk to them about.”
Blackburn-Evans said that the university looks at each space booking on a case-by-case basis, based on information from the organizers. She said that she can’t speculate on whether or not an event hosted by the CNP would be permitted because they have had no contact with them.
While U of T spaces must be booked for events, much of the campus includes public property, such as city streets and sidewalks, that is accessible to anyone.
Patron also said that he has been in contact with members of Students in Support of Free Speech (SSFS), a campus group that has garnered national attention in the past year, most notably for hosting the controversial Professor Jordan B. Peterson at a number of events.
“We have had conversations with some of the members of the Students in Favour of Free Speech [sic], and there are some of them that are supporting us,” Patron said.
However, Chad Hallman, a spokesperson for SSFS, denies that Patron or the CNP has been in touch with them. “We take our nonpartisan status very seriously and frankly most of us haven’t even heard of Travis Patron or the CNP,” Hallman said.
The Varsity has reached out to the organizers of the Unity Rally for comment.
Editor’s Note: This article has been updated to include comment from Travis Patron and Students in Support of Free Speech.