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No one in Ontario Premier Doug Ford's 76-member Progressive Conservative caucus would say if they believe Ford should apologize for posing in a photo with a white nationalist who participated in a neo-Nazi podcast, a National Observer survey has revealed.

On Sept. 22, Faith Goldy, a white nationalist who is running to be mayor of Toronto, tweeted a photo taken with the premier and some of her own campaign supporters, during the annual Ford Fest barbeque.

Goldy was fired from the far-right media website, The Rebel, in August 2017 after she praised other white nationalists at the deadly Charlottesville neo-Nazi protest and appeared on a podcast affiliated with a neo-Nazi website.

In the days that followed the Sept. 22 photo, opposition MPPs asked Ford repeatedly whether he would directly disavow Goldy. But the premier refused, stating time and again that he denouced hate and has "zero tolerance" for hate speech.

After three days of furor from members of the opposition and mounting pressure from anti-hate and religious organizations, the premier denounced hate speech in a tweet — saying he won’t tolerate it from anyone, including Faith Goldy:

“I have been clear. I condemn hate speech, anti-Semitism and racism in all forms — be it from Faith Goldy or anyone else,” the premier tweeted.

Just after the Sept. 26 tweet emerged, National Observer emailed all 76 members of the Tory government asking them the following three questions:

  • Do you personally denounce Faith Goldy and any attempted association with Ford’s Progressive Conservative government?

  • Do you believe the premier should apologize for posing for a photo with her?

  • Do you believe that white nationalism or supremacists have a place or are welcome in the Progressive Conservative party?

Only six members responded, including the premier's spokesman, who sent a link to the tweet. Four emails bounced back with a message saying that the content of National Observer's questions were "denied by policy." National Observer placed calls and left voicemails for those four MPPs.

The other five responses all included a link to Ford's tweet, which Goldy responded to by saying "Proud to stand up for all Canadians alongside ya, Doug!"

A spokesman for Peter Bethlenfalvy, President of the Treasury Board, responded in an email that the minister "stands with Premier Ford and our government for the people in condemning hate speech, anti-Semitism and racism in all forms — be it from Faith Goldy or anyone else." This message ended with a link to the premier's tweet.

In another email, a spokesman for Raymond Cho, Minister for Seniors and Accessibility wrote that the minister fully supports the premier, and I ask that (National Observer) refer to the premier’s recent tweet, if you haven’t already seen it."

Stephen Crawford, MPP for Oakville, "believes that hate speech language which targets particular groups or individuals is inappropriate and unacceptable. He joins the premier in his denunciation of hate speech and supports our government’s zero tolerance for such language," wrote his executive assistant in an email.

"There is no place in the Ontario PC Party for racism or hate," the email added.

On behalf of Gila Martow, MPP for Thornhill, a spokesman referenced the premier's words in the legislature and linked to his tweet, adding that Ford Fest was "one of the most diverse events the PC Party has hosted with over 7,000 people in attendance," and that the premier "took photos with everyone who wanted one in a lineup that went around the corner."

"MPP Martow has been a vocal voice in the Jewish community for many years and stands stands with the premier," the email added.

A spokeswoman for Lindsey Park, MPP for Durham, said she would refer National Observer "directly to the premier's public response concerning this topic," and linked to Ford's tweet.

Twenty-four hours after getting the questions, the remaining 70 MPPs in Ford's caucus still hadn't responded.

'We’re asking Mr. Ford to take a stand'

Members of Ontario's opposition parties weren't impressed.

NDP Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath said that the premier's tweet "falls short for many in Ontario."

"We’re asking Mr. Ford to take a stand: tell people that he considers Faith Goldy’s views to be vile racism, that he is unequivocally not endorsing her campaign for mayor of Toronto, and that her use of his name in a robocall is wrong, and has to stop," Horwath said, in a statement on Thursday.

Liberal MPP John Fraser agreed that members of the public were concerned about Ford's failure to denounce Goldy.

"They’re calling on the premier to disassociate himself from Faith Goldy, a known white supremacist," Fraser said in the Ontario legislature during the daily question period.

"I know the premier sent out a tweet last night denouncing hate speech, even if coming from Faith Goldy. Mr. Speaker, that is not enough. It’s not enough for those people who are truly frightened by seeing their premier standing shoulder to shoulder with a white supremacist."

On Wednesday, New Democrat MPP Laura Mae Lindo had urged the government to apologize and condemn Goldy.

“We have to do better. The people need the government to do better. There is a candidate, Ms. Goldy, who represents unvarnished hateful polarizing views about race and diversity that has appeared in at least two photos with the premier,” said Lindo, referring to an earlier picture of the two that also surfaced online.

“The premier won’t denounce Faith Goldy specifically, or apologize for taking these photos. Will the minister responsible for anti-racism initiatives in this government denounce Ms Goldy’s campaign and apologize on behalf of the government for the seeming endorsement — whether it was an intentional endorsement or not,” asked Lindo. The question was directed to Michael Tibollo, Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services, as Ford was not in the legislature at the time.

Tibollo, who is in-charge of the anti-racism file, echoed that both he and the premier have repeatedly said “there is no place for racism in this province. We’ve been very, very clear that this is an inclusive province."

“And we will work as a government to ensure that those policies are continued and they are put into effect ... so that the government and the entire province is rid of racism,” he said.

Ford said Monday that his photo was taken with thousands of people at Ford Fest, indicating he wasn't familiar with her. In June 2017, Ford appeared at a The Rebel Live series, which featured him, Goldy — who has uttered what are referred to as the 14 words, "we must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children" — and other white nationalists including Gavin McInnes, who founded the Proud Boys.

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I keep wondering when the excuses start. The media didn't inform us well enough; we didn't have any other choice etc etc

The reality is that there are a lot of butt-stoopid, bigoted, racist, misogynist assholes in Ontario and the Progressive Conservatives gave them someone to vote for.

Not at all....being proud of the parts of our heritage the merit pride should be a good is a good thing we will have no problem granting a similar pride to other nationalities and cultures. But if your pride demands that you only see the good....and that part of what you see as good is your belief in white superiority, white right to rule, than you may be moving into what is being called white nationalism.

I'm Scandinavian, and so think I have a lot to be proud of. I'm not proud of the Norwegian fish farms right now....and I have no problem acknowledging that the Viking raiders were brutal murderers and thieves. I'm not proud of what Canadians did to native people, and I'm not on a crusade defending the statues of a man who contributed to the founding of our country AND the policy of residential schools. The whole truth about Sir John does not infuriate me....I have empathy for the inheritors of his residential school mess wanting his image gone from their current lives.

All groups are a mixture of good works and historically disastrous policies. What the people who call themselves white nationalists do these days is inflate white achievements and deny our common white racist history. And they do that because they don't want to share the future economy with native people, people of colour (the great great grandchildren of slavery quite often) or immigrants escaping wars often funded by western imperialism.

If we acknowledge our mistakes and our cultural crimes, along with our aspirations and our achievements white nationalism will have no appeal. We'll have burst out of the bubble of believing that everyone outside of that bubble is the problem, while our right to white privilege should be the norm.

Real pride has no interest in justifying atrocities, or demonizing the victims of past wrongs. Nor, I think, does it fear diversity.

Nicely put in terms of the definition of white supremacy .

You raised the issue of the commemoration of historical figures, and it brings to mind a few points:
I believe we need to educate our children on the good, the bad, and the ugly parts of our past, rather than put our historical figures on pedestals (literally and figuratively). Conversely, we also have to avoid judging our historical figures by our standards, rather than theirs, since this is not very productive. All of us, even the most liberally minded of us would likely be considered deeply flawed by the standards of some future generation 200 hundred years in the future. For example Sir John A MacDonald was considered very progressive and even radically so for his time, yet had an obvious blind spot when it came to native and Metis Canadians. Even Einstein could not conceive of a universe expanding at an increasing rate, or that becomes uncertain at quantum levels. If we limited our commemorative monuments to only historical figures perfect by our current standards, our parks would be empty, and if we added a few commemorative displays today for current figures considered squeaky clean, they'd be removed in a few years after being judged flawed by future standards because they routinely killed and ate and wore the epidermal layers of sentient beings, and regularly used greenhouse gas producing products for frivolous purposes that destroyed the heritage of future generations, As such, I think it's an over-reaction to remove statues from the park, since the pigeons need something to sit on, but commemorative plaques need to be balanced and include the failures as well as the successes, and the failures should not be soft-peddled. MacDonald and his Metis and residential school activities, and his efforts to create what is now Canada are also parts of our history and have contributed mightily to what Canada now is (and is not). Also, we obviously need to balance the commemoration of historical figures in Canada with the addition of those from other cultures (and sexes) that contributed to this country's current condition. A broad-based and balanced commemoration of our historical past, including the good, bad, and the ugly, will also help to keep the radicals among us, including the white supremacists, in check. It might even head off a few budding supremacists at an early age before they can mature into hardened haters!

As a ps, can you imagine a statue of Trump in the park and what the commemorative plaque might say? Perhaps: "I contributed biggly - yes, very biggly - more fantasically biggly than any other president ever was". The statue would be of bronze and have small hands with an orange hairpiece. The statue's foot would be in it's mouth. Make that both feet.

What is there to be so proud of? People don't choose their heritage or race any more than they chose the color of their eyes or how tall they are. These things are just coincidental and mean nothing. Unfortunately, for many, being proud is just a step away from being a bigot.

There's some offal in your response as well Kay....the smell of anger and demonization is pretty strong here. We do need to acknowledge that there is extremism and projection going on on both sides of that old ideological divide. Identity politics can get tiresome, since in the end what we all need is acceptance and understanding for what makes us unique, and the guarantee that we all have a right to a seat at the table.

Left and right, we likely need to release the enemy within.....stop basing our politics on fear and hatred of the other, and accept that we live in a globalized world. That might not be as hard as many imagine, but it would require self policing. When we react with fear....or instant dislike for another...........there's something pretty darn superficial at play. Only when we begin with an attitude of respect for everyone's humanity....and yes...develop the social skills to collectively disallow racism, rudeness, and contempt in our public and private exchanges, will we begin to build the world we all want.

The actual manure too many of us are shovelling, is the name calling dismissive crap we lay on every comment that triggers our prejudices. Listening, and responding civilly might be a way out of this mental and verbal violence.
Try writing comments that refuse insults and feature analysis. Tell us why you find identity politics so counter productive. Explain what you would put in its place. Because I don't think people of colour, folks from other cultures or religions, or LGBTQ folks can easily erase the identity the creator gave them. And I'm hopeful you aren't suggesting they get back into some little closet and bother you no more! LOL

Make no mistake, Faith Goldy and her friends in the neo nazi movement want to put gay people in a coffin, not a closet. They plan to totally dominate or kill everyone at the table, as it were. Nazis are wrong, I already know their murderous ideas and they are wrong and illegal. They have no place in a discussion of ideas because they neither believe in free speech nor democracy. Don't fall for the re branding! It is a deliberate strategy to pretend to be a conservative in public, while plotting the murder of all they oppose in private.

Another example of the Observers biased reporting. I do not recall the National Observer asking any Liberal cabinet members if they objected to Trudeau’s posing with Joshua Boyle (affiliated with extremists, et al) Omar Khadr, a murderer and Jaspar Atwal, another convicted attempted murderer. What gives Observer? Why do you give the liberals a pass on everything from Trudeau’s sexual assault of a young reporter to him posing with murderers. To my knowledge, Faith Goldy has never killed anyone. Please explain your blatant bias.

Whataboutism? Really? Did nobody ever teach you that two wrongs don't make a right? What's your next brilliant argument going to be, "I know you are but what am I?" This new "idiot right" as I sometimes call it, always think they can camouflage their nazi sympathizing by claiming everyone that criticizes them are really "anti white racists," a concept so stupid I won't elaborate on why it is not even possible here. Were the allies including Canada on the wrong side in WWII and were they merely anti white racists trying to stifle the free expression that the nazis were exercising while they enslaved Europe and exterminated those they deemed unfit to join the group?

I am very concerned that the people of Ontario are falling for the slick and well-planned re-branding of violent neo-nazism and fascism. What Faith Goldy, Gavin McGinnis and other neo-nazis plan is to overthrow democracy and then undertrake a violent adn murderous ethnic cleansing and political cleansing of their enemies. They deliberately deny they are racist and deny they support the nazi ideology and cynically use hard won freedoms like freedom of speech to achieve hteir goals, even though one of those goals is to end all freedoms once they get power. They use democracy but don't believe in democracy and you can see clearly that Ford has no time for democracy at all. Part of their narrative also includes wild claims that the left is engaging in violence when the opposite is true. Neo nazis like this are inherently violent. You need only look at their online presence where any disagreement brings death threats and any female can expect threats of rape and death. Thanks Ford nation, your buck a beer is going to cost us our country and many of us our lives. To those in Ford nation who pooh pooh neo fascism and neo nazism thinking that if the worst happens they'll be safe because they're white and law abiding, you may want to read the history of the nazis and you will find that their first victims, the first inmates at Auschwitz, were white Polish Catholics. Their crime? They had university educations and professions. Educated people question things and that is a burden to fascism where all are subordinate and totally subjugated. The speed with which fascism is gainiing ground in Ontario is truly amazing and I am losing faith that evil will not win. It seems to get stronger every day. In Toronto, the police have clearly chosen to act as security for white supremacists and neo nazis, protecting them as they assault our citizens and arresting left wing demonstrators only. I guess the sacrifice of 43 000 Canadians who died fighting in WWII was all for nothing. Dougie and the Toronto police declare you were on the wrong side and the nazis were the good guys, fighting against anti white racism. In closing I must also say a big part of the success of the new nazi movement is that the dumbing down of the population worked so well and the boundless stupidity of Ford nation made it all too easy. Ford nation are simply bad people gathering round a bully to feel included and ignoring his victims 'cause they're just glad it's not them. Very selfish and shallow people..

Ford is another populist, pushing a "we vs. them" agenda. I'm disgusted by his machinations and hope that Canadians won't adopt the attitudes of countries like the US and Hungary in creating enemies where none exist.