Since its inception, the People’s Party of Canada has been dogged by near-constant reports about the unsavoury histories of party executives, as well as unearthed evidence of troubling comments, beliefs, and behaviour by candidates.
Perhaps it’s because these headlines have become so routine that recent revelations about Shaun Walker — a white supremacist who, for a time, led a seminal neo-Nazi operation — working as an Ontario organizer for the PPC failed to grab much immediate attention this week.
Walker served as chairman and CEO of the National Alliance, an American white supremacist group, for roughly one year until, in July 2006, he was arrested, charged, and ultimately convicted for his part in violent hate-crime beatings carried out in hopes of starting a “race war.”
The neo-Nazi was an operative with Maxime Bernier’s party until Thursday. PPC spokesperson and Bernier confidant Martin Masse told Radio-Canada Thursday afternoon that Walker had been canned.
In the early days of the party, amid mounting criticism, the PPC resorted to having all riding association members sign a vow, pledging they had “done or said nothing in the past, and will do or say nothing in the future, that would embarrass the party” or otherwise bring it into disrepute.
PPC spokesperson Johanne Mennie tells Canadaland that Walker “did not disclose any information in our ‘non-embarrassment’ pledge about his past in the United States” and that “a background check only yielded Canadian results.”
Given that Bernier followed Walker’s now-private Twitter account, on which he made no attempt to hide his ideology, the party ought to have been at least somewhat aware of his views. Not only did Walker interact with and favourably retweet virulent white nationalists and anti-Semites, he also dabbled in conspiracies, such as tweeting on multiple occasions that the war crimes carried out by the Assad regime in Syria amounted to a “false flag.”
Walker came up through the National Alliance under the guidance of its founder, William Luther Pierce. Pierce is the author of The Turner Diaries, the ultra-violent, race-war novel which laid the foundation for modern, extremist white supremacy. His book, acting as both bible and blueprint, is known to have directly inspired brutal acts of far-right, domestic terrorism.
The failure to recognize Walker’s open white nationalism and hatred toward racial, ethnic, religious, and sexual minorities may not be the PPC’s sin alone.
Walker’s online history suggests he was recently active in Ontario’s Progressive Conservative party, having tweeted about attending its convention last year.
“He is not a member of the Party,” says Marcus Mattinson, a spokesperson for the Ontario PC Party. “His views are certainly not welcome in our Party.”
Mattinson did not specify whether or not Walker was formerly a member.
In September 2018, Walker boasted of founding the PPC’s St. Catherine’s Electoral District Association, and in October, was tagged in a group photo posted to the Ontario People’s Network — a Facebook group for early PPC organizing — along with a special “thanks for all the help” by then-fellow organizer and close Bernier associate Nicola Hanson.
Hanson would later part ways with the party after an investigation by myself and two colleagues revealed her own record of extremism and intolerance.