thumb-2023-07-02-dorchester-review-franco-fascist This article is more than 1 year old

Journal Run By Alberta Curriculum Adviser Defends Historical Legacy of Spanish Fascism

Dorchester Review claims focus on ‘mass unmarked graves’ in both Spain and Canada is designed to disparage conservatives

PressProgress is an award-winning non-profit news organization that uncovers and unpacks the news through original investigative and explanatory journalism.
Here is why you can trust our journalism ➔
PressProgress is an award-winning non-profit news organization that uncovers and unpacks the news through original investigative and explanatory journalism.
Here is why you can trust our journalism.

An obscure right-wing history journal run by a social studies adviser who helped rewrite Alberta’s education curriculum is calling for a “massive campaign” to defend the legacy of fascist dictator Franscisco Franco, claiming the focus on historical grievances is designed to disparage conservatives.

The Dorchester Review, a self-described “semi-academic” history journal, was launched in 2011 by editor Chris Champion – a former federal Conservative staffer to then-Immigration Minister Jason Kenney who was responsible for overseeing the Harper government’s controversial citizenship guide and later a key author of the UCP government’s social studies curriculum.

In 2020, Champion faced calls to be fired from his role as an advisor on the UCP’s education curriculum rewrite following statements defending Canada’s residential schools program.

In 2021, Champion again generated controversy after claiming claiming Indigenous students at residential schools had an “absolute blast.”

In the latest edition of Champion’s Dorchester Review, an unsigned article calls on “Spain’s conservatives” to defend Franco and the legacy of Spanish fascism.

Describing Franco as a man who “ruled Spain like a Roman dictator” but “bequeathed a modern constitutional monarchy,” the Dorchester Review complains that the left is now “digging up every grave that could be exploited to advance their grievance history.”

“Reopening old wounds may be recognized as a tactic of the left almost everywhere,” the journal states, dismissing criticism of Spain’s fascist history as merely an attempt to wage “proxy attacks” against traditional institutions.

“To seize control of the country’s historical narrative, wage a continual information war of one-sided guilt and condemn a nation, to conduct proxy attacks on parties, national traditions and churches and to mount continual rhetorical reprisals.”

The Dorchester Review notes Spain’s last conservative prime minister “bragged” about cutting funding for historical projects memorializing the Spanish Civil War, but suggests “conservatives need to be less complacent and more creative.” The journal suggests “Spain’s conservatives” should “respond in kind” by launching a “massive campaign about the true nature of the republic.”

The journal notes Franco himself blamed his killing of “one million” people on “Socialists,” who formed part of Spain’s pre-fascist republican government between 1936 to 1939, because they “pushed non-communist Spaniards to the brink.”

Sign Up for PressProgress
Stay connected with our award-winning non-profit journalism by getting on our email list today.
Sign Up for PressProgress
Receive our award-winning non-profit journalism in your inbox
Thank you!
Want to make sure your friends are in the loop, too? Get them to sign up for PressProgress here:

Francisco Franco was a Spanish general who launched a military coup against Spain’s democratically-elected Republican government in 1936.

With the help of Hitler and Mussolini’s armies, Franco overthrew the republic and seized power after a brutal civil war in 1939. He ruled as dictator until his death in 1975, when he was replaced by the short-lived government of his hand-picked successor, Luis Carrero Blanco. Thereafter, a popular uprising saw elections return as part of the country’s “transition to democracy.”

After at least one million were killed in the Civil War, his government carried out mass killings against opposition supporters – at least 100,000 are believed to lay in Spain’s mass graves.

This isn’t the first time that the Dorchester Review has weighed in on mass graves.

In a 2021 article titled “From Katyn To Kamloops,” Champion claimed the outcry of Canadians at unmarked childrens’ graves at the former sites of residential schools represented a double standard.

Champion compared public reaction to residential school graves in Canada to how Spain’s left supposedly uses the mass graves from Spain’s former fascist regime to criticize the Spanish right – including the People’s Party (founded by ex-members of the dictatorship) and Vox (which defends the dictatorship).

“Mass unmarked graves have evil connotations especially in the 20th century,” Champion wrote. “Spain’s Social Democrats have dug up some 800 mass graves in the past 20 years, doing their best to associate their centre-right opponents today with the long-defunct Franco regime.”

In Canada, the article lamented:

“Much of the political elite responded like a Pavlovian dog, and the near-universal assumption is now that such unidentified graves are proof that the government, nuns, or the pope were responsible for genocide …You can only tolerate someone’s belly-aching for so long. Of course, for a larger issue such as this at a grand scale, a longer grieving period seems obvious. Let them grieve, and then don’t. Time is up. Move on. I think three more years is enough and then ‘reconciliation’ must be terminated.”

The Dorchester Review did not respond to requests for comment from PressProgress.


Our journalism is powered by readers like you.

We’re an award-winning non-profit news organization that covers topics like social and economic inequality, big business and labour, and right-wing extremism.

Help us build so we can bring to light stories that don’t get the attention they deserve from Canada’s big corporate media outlets.


Mitchell Thompson
Mitchell Thompson is PressProgress’ Ontario reporter. His reporting has a special focus on workers and communities, and public services and privatization, and public accountability.

Most Shared

thumb-2024-07-07-lcbo-george-soleas New

Take Back Alberta Leaders are Training ‘Scrutineers’ to Infiltrate Campaigns and Act as ‘Security’ on Voting Day

Related Stories


Vancouver Hotel Workers Are Pushing Back Against Low Wages and High Costs of Living By Going on Strike

View the post

BC Teacher Files Human Rights Complaint Against Parent Over Transphobic Harassment Online

View the post

Alberta School Boards are Cutting Hundreds of Teaching Positions Next Year, Teachers’ Association Says

View the post
Our free email newsletter delivers award-winning journalism directly to your inbox.
Get Canadian Investigative News You Won't Find in Corporate Newspapers.
Our free email newsletter delivers award-winning journalism to your inbox.
Get Canadian Investigative News You Won't Find in Corporate Newspapers.