It is pretty obvious that for some people immigration is an issue. There are those who think countries like Canada are taking in too many new immigrants (i.e. Syrians) and we have even seen a candidate for the leadership of the Conservative Party put out a letter calling for prospective immigrants to be vetted for “anti-Canadian values”. Don’t get me started on Donald Trump and his “wall” or what is happening in Europe!
One of the nastier groups out there “protecting” us from the foreign hordes is the Sons of Odin. This neo-Nazi organisation is thriving in places like Finland where they patrol the streets to keep them “safe” (from immigrants even if they won’t say so). And now Edmonton has its own chapter of the Sons of Odin. This band of self-styled “guardian angels” sees their role as keeping our streets safe from crime.
The truth is a little different however. The group is virulently anti-immigrant and the Finnish chapter has stated that it wants to “take direct action to protect their wives, girlfriends and children” from those coming in to alter the “Scandinavian” way of life. They are white supremacists who share a lot of ideology with Norwegian mass killer Anders Breivik (no, I am not calling them all terrorists, just extremists).
Groups like the Sons of Odin, and some aspiring political leaders apparently, see immigration in a largely negative light. People from the “wrong” countries will bring their own values, customs and ways to Canada and ruin the “Canadian way”. In the view of these groups, wannabe Canadians stand for things that are inconsistent with what we are.
Let’s face it. The “wrong” people they are referring to are Muslim. Muslims are seen solely through the lens of terrorism and intolerance and the Sons of Odin and their kin will do what they can to prevent their arrival in Canada, let alone their integration into society.
Look, there is no question that there is a small number of Muslims who abide by a hateful strain of Islam and who detest what Canada is. Those of them who are violent will be taken care of by CSIS and the RCMP Those who are merely isolationist and rejectionist will be taken care of by the communities and challenged. We can handle these people and in the end our way of life is so vastly better than the dystopia they champion that we will prevail.
We do not need the Sons of Odin or any other Neo-Nazi white supremacist group to protect us since there is nothing we need protecting from. What we do need to do is to call these guys what they are: racist bigots who cling to some mythical past perfect society. And those views must be debated and defeated.
The truth is that every single reputable study has shown that immigration and immigrants benefit the societies that receive them. They contribute more than they get from the state and they contribute to the richness and diversity that is Canada.
My grandfather on my mother’s side was one such “undesirable” when he arrived in Canada during WWI. As a citizen of the Austro-Hungarian Empire (he was actually Ukrainian) he was immediately seen as an enemy of Canada and may have been sequestered in the Spirit Lake internment camp in Quebec at one point. This just goes to show that hate and bigotry is all too easy to descend into.
So no thanks Sons of Odin. We do not salute your “intervention”. Go back to watching Thor or other Marvel movies to satisfy your fantasies of white superhero fictional utopia.