Neo-Nazi was a Guest at a Swanky Fundraising Dinner for a Right-Wing Charity That Tried to Dig Up Dirt on a Canadian Judge
Gala dinner was sponsored by Postmedia and featured speeches from Christie Blatchford, Barbara Kay and Jian Ghomeshi's lawyer
A notorious neo-Nazi was among the guests at a controversial right-wing charity’s gala fundraising dinner, rubbing elbows with a who’s who of Canadian media personalities, high-powered lawyers and wealthy Toronto philanthropists.
The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, a charity that focuses on litigation and advocacy for social conservative causes, has recently faced intense scrutiny after hiring a private investigator to follow and surveil Manitoba’s Chief Justice in a failed bid to catch the judge violating COVID-19 restrictions.
In a public statement, the Justice Centre’s board of directors condemned the charity’s executive director, John Carpay, who admitted hiring the private eye.
Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench Chief Justice Glenn Joyal says he was followed by a private investigator last week, which he believes was an attempt to catch him violating the province’s COVID-19 regulations. https://t.co/lqZsfIZYvD @sarahrosepetz
— CBC News (@CBCNews) July 12, 2021
The Justice Centre, which is quietly funded by some of Canada’s wealthiest people, pledged to conduct a “comprehensive review” of decision-making at the charity.
Despite that pledge, the Justice Centre now has little to say about why a neo-Nazi was seated next to donors and VIPs at a $200 per plate fundraising dinner.
Hosted at Toronto’s Eglinton Grand Theatre, the Justice Centre’s June 2019 “George Jonas Freedom Award Dinner” was sponsored by Postmedia and featured the late National Post reporter Christie Blatchford and criminal attorney Marie Henein, who served as Jian Ghomeshi’s lawyer, as keynote speakers.
Other VIP guests spotted at the gala included Jon and Barbara Kay, the Toronto Sun’s Brian Lilley and Anthony Furey, as well as filmmaker David Cronenberg.
Another gala attendee was Paul Fromm, who is a well-known neo-Nazi.
Earlier this year, Conservative leader Erin O’Toole took steps to expel one of his own Conservative MPs, Derek Sloan, after PressProgress reported Sloan had accepted a donation from Fromm.
Photos posted on Facebook by both the Justice Centre and Fromm show the neo-Nazi chatting with Blatchford at the event.
Fromm confirmed he was able to purchase two $200 plates at the Justice Centre’s gala fundraising dinner for himself and a plus-one.
“It’s always a joy to be among big hearted people dedicated to freedom and free expression in a country so sadly sinking into censorious, puritanical cancel culture,” the neo-Nazi told PressProgress, noting that he felt a sense of “fellowship” attending the Justice Centre dinner.
Fromm said his main focus that evening was to “help honour” Blatchford, explaining that he’d “been in touch with Christie on and off for many years.”
“I admired her courageous court reporting and her excellent book on the complete police and government surrender to Native thugs at Caledonia.”
In a statement to PressProgress, the Justice Centre said tickets to their gala fundraising dinner were “available to the general public.”
“The Justice Centre has no association with Fromm or his organization,” the charity said, adding it is “reviewing this process as part of our commitment to instituting a comprehensive review of Justice Centre operations and decision-making.”
“We categorically stand against anti-Semitism, which goes directly against our Vision for Canada where ‘Each and every Canadian is treated equally by governments and by the courts, regardless of race, ancestry, ethnicity, age, gender, beliefs, or other personal characteristics’.”
It remains unclear whether event organizers were aware Fromm was a well-known neo-Nazi when they seated him next to Justice Centre donors, although Fromm would have been somewhat familiar to the organization given he had recently intervened in a BC human rights tribunal case alongside the Justice Centre.
The Justice Centre acknowledges Fromm intervened in the case but noted other organizations, including West Coast LEAF and BC Teachers’ Federation, intervened as well — though they intervened on behalf of the other side.
Fromm would not say if he communicated directly with Carpay or other Justice Centre staff at any point during or before the gala.
Photos from the event show Fromm was seated at Table 10, located at the back of the room, next to the bar. He explained he simply “took the table assigned to me.”
Fromm couldn’t remember the names of other guests seated at his table, apart from Rick Mehta, a former Acadia University professor and campus culture war figure who was fired over a privacy breach in 2018. He did recall “the food was good,” and passed on the white table wine in favour of a cabernet merlot.
Fromm self-identifies as a “white nationalist” and says he rejects the term “Nazi” because he thinks the word is a meant to belittle Adolf Hitler’s party. Organizations that closely monitor hate groups, including the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Canadian Anti-Hate Network, have identified Fromm as a neo-Nazi.
A 1994 government report prepared for the Solicitor General alleged Fromm personally helped organize a birthday party for Hitler, which was to be attended by local skinheads. The report also observed that Fromm spoke at a “Martyr’s Day Rally,” an event honouring the death of an American neo-Nazi leader.
Fromm has also appeared in photographs with members of the neo-Nazi terrorist group “Blood and Honour,” an “international neo-Nazi network” that was added to Canada’s official list of terrorist groups under the Criminal Code in 2019.
In one photo, Fromm can be seen wearing a “white pride” t-shirt holding the terrorist group’s banner as members of the terror group make Nazi salutes.
Fromm’s public statements on Twitter leave little ambiguity about his views.
Fromm has tweeted statements casting doubt on the official Holocaust death toll and has asserted that the Nazis were the true victims of World War II.
In a recent statement emailed to supporters, Justice Centre Interim President Lisa Bildy attempted to address growing concerns about the charity’s future, underlining that “the Justice Centre occupies a critical, and often lonely, space in Canada.”
While Bildy acknowledged “we are going to take a bruising for a few days in the media,” she said the Justice Centre intends to “get right back in the saddle.”
Update: This story has been updated to include a statement from the Justice Centre that was supplied several hours after publication.
The Justice Centre indicated it was not aware it had received a media request from PressProgress for over one full work day because the charity is “going through the process of implementing internal changes.”
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