Ng Weng Hoong, September 9, 2019, Monday
Word count minus headline and footnotes: 2,

A seemingly innocuous parking dispute between a young Chinese mother and an elderly white woman in a Richmond, British Columbia mall recently sparked a bizarre episode in Canadian race relations.

Amy Xu captured part of the August 23 incident (1) on her cellphone after her car’s rear bumper appeared to have been hit by another car at the Richlea Square Shopping Centre. It turned ugly when the other car’s owner, Carla Waldman, began uttering racial insults and vulgarity while telling Ms Xu, who was with her three-year-old daughter, to “go back to China”.

Ms Waldman is filmed taunting Ms Xu in a sing-song voice: “Chinky, chinky, China lady. Chinky, chinky, China lady.”

Ms Waldman, a long-time resident in Richmond city which has an ethnic Chinese-majority population, can also be heard saying:

“You give your people a bad name. We hate you people. Go back where you belong. F**k you, you f*****g c**t.”

The incident quickly went viral on the Internet, attracting thousands of readers and viewers across several news sites and social media. Until it was taken down, Ms Waldman’s Facebook (2) page was bombarded with more than 1,500 comments, mostly criticisms from a diverse group of people who saw her behaviour as racist and hateful.

Some of the comments were themselves vicious and racist as they targeted her Jewishness. Significantly, the harshest condemnations were delivered in English by people with non-Chinese names. They included a death threat, anti-Semitic remarks accompanied by Nazi images, and references to the unrelated subject of Palestine.

White nationalist leader enters the fray
The story took a surreal turn two days later when Paul Fromm, one of Canada’s leading Holocaust deniers and white nationalists, tweeted his support for Ms Waldman, who campaigns against anti-Semitism. (3)

“This woman is entitled to her opinion. There’s no “hate” here,” said Mr Fromm (4), a director of two white nationalist groups, the Canadian Association for Free Expression and the Canada First Immigration Reform Committee. Both organisations want to stop “mass immigration” which they claim is an attempt by the Canadian government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to dilute the country’s white population. Immigration has become a hot button issue in the run-up to Canada’s Federal election on October 21.

Without any knowledge of the incident, Mr Fromm blamed Ms Xu for being an immigrant with “bad driving” skills.

“Neither this lady (Ms Waldman) nor Canadians were asked whether we wanted the demographics of our country changed by organized, massive Third World immigration,” he wrote.

Adding a twist to the plot, Mr Fromm delivered his comment as a rebuke to Ivan Pak, a member of the populist right-wing People’s Party of Canada (PPC) that also opposes “mass immigration”.

Mr Pak, a China-born immigrant from Hong Kong, is the PPC candidate (5) in Richmond Centre hoping to win over the mostly immigrant ethnic Chinese vote in the Federal election. The car park incident occurred in his electoral ward.

His boss, PPC founder Maxime Bernier, has been warmly embraced by Mr Fromm for his campaign to end “mass immigration” and scrap Canada’s official multiculturalism policy (6). Both men have condemned these as failed policies that promote “extreme diversity” to weaken Canada as a society. They were recently photographed together at a PPC rally. Somewhat unbelievably, a spokesperson for Mr Bernier has claimed that the veteran politician had no idea who Mr Fromm is (7), although both are high-profile public figures in Canada. Mr Bernier was a Cabinet minister in the former Conservative government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper while Mr Fromm (8), who campaigned to be mayor for Hamilton City last year, has been championing the white nationalist cause for decades.

Paul Fromm (left) a Hamilton-based white nationalist, poses with Maxime Bernier, leader of the People’s Party of Canada, during a recent PPC rally. Source: The Hamilton Spectator. (9)

When asked about his exchange with Mr Fromm, Mr Pak replied that he wasn’t aware of the far-right leader’s identity as he is still “very new to politics and also to Canada.”

In a twitter reply to this writer, he described the PPC leader as having been “careless” in associating with Mr Fromm. But he said he didn’t see “sufficient evidence” to prove that Mr Bernier has an “affiliation” with the white nationalist cause.

Nevertheless, Mr Pak’s outrage with Ms Waldman attracted the attention of possibly far right elements who responded to his video of the incident and initial tweet accusing her of committing a “hate crime” (10).

Mr Pak, who has often denounced “political correctness”, later said that Ms Waldman’s hate speech (11) was not criminal but racist in nature. His apparent retreat came after he had received a barrage of criticisms from possible PPC voters.

“The minute you designate any speech as ‘hate’, you end freedom of speech,” wrote NORSKK. “Because the designation is subjective. It is hate to you, an insult to me.”

NORSKK, which has since deleted the tweet (12), describes its group as “a brotherhood…living by ancestral pre-christianization Norse traditions” on its website (13).

A reader, Dellie, (14) reminded Mr Pak that “you are PPC, this woman is hateful but has committed no crime. We cannot blur the lines of hate crime with hateful speech.”

Another reader told Mr Pak: “I am fed up with identity politics and people so sheltered from reality that they call everything hate. So, we are done here. You have lost my vote.” Thorolf Bjornsen, (15) who appears to be aligned with NORSKK, has also deleted his tweet.

Ivan Pak, PPC’s candidate for the Richmond Centre seat in Canada’s Federal election in October. Twitter image.

Mr Pak stands with the political right in their fight against “lefties” and liberals for allegedly using the cover of racial and gender sensitivities to suppress free speech.

In trying to reconcile his fight for the Chinese vote with the PPC abhorrence for “political correctness”, Mr Pak replied: “I (condemn) this lady for her racist behaviour, but I defend her for her freedom to do so.”

He affirmed his position in a phone interview with this writer.

He told NORSKK that “no matter how (you try) to defend the lady for her freedom of speech, she is racist.”

In this context, Mr Fromm’s unexpected and ironic defence of Ms Waldman’s action makes diabolical sense. By defending her freedom to make racist comments, he sees it as a cover for the espousal of his own anti-Semitic views including the questioning of the Holocaust’s existence and attacks on immigrants.

In July 2018, he told the Canadian Jewish News (16) that he supports Monika and Alfred Schaefer for denying the Holocaust on the principle of freedom of expression. The Canadian siblings have been convicted and sentenced in Germany to serve jail terms.

“I supported their right to speak and I think that has been steadily eroded in this country over the last 40 years. That tradition has been really eroded and that is really bad for Canada,” he said.

Establishment stays silent as RCMP clears Ms Waldman of “hate crime”
After interviewing the two women involved in the dispute, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) announced that there was not enough justification for a criminal case against Ms Waldman.

In its statement reported by the Georgia Straight (17), the RCMP acknowledged that the contents of the video were “disturbing and troubling”, but said it has decided not to act against Ms Waldman after consultations with the B.C. Prosecution Service.

However, it added that some of the comments published on the Internet and social media may have crossed the line and could be considered criminal in nature. These likely include the death threats and comments amounting to cyberbullying.

Remarkably, Canada’s establishment largely kept out of the controversy even though this is red meat for political sharks in an election year. It comes in the midst of rising public antipathy towards immigration, growing Canadian negativity towards China, and a reported increase in hate crimes nationwide.

With the Federal election less than two months away, mainstream politicians appear to be holding the line on the public discourse on potentially explosive issues like race and immigration. The incident, for all its newsworthiness, also apparently did not make the pages of three major newspapers that circulate in Metro Vancouver: the Vancouver Sun, The Province and the Globe and Mail. The South China Morning Post, which has a Vancouver bureau to focus on China and Chinese-related matters, also did not cover the story.

Tung Chan, a leader of the Chinese community and a former council member of Vancouver city, compared the parking incident with dogs occasionally biting people.

“I do not expect politicians to come out to condemn dog owners when such things happen,” he said.

But he added the incident is of concern to Metro Vancouver’s Chinese community.

“While no leader has come out to express concern, the incident has generated wall-to-wall discussions in Chinese language WeChat groups.  There (is) also a large volume of FaceBook condemnation postings,” said Mr Tung, who was a Vancouver City council member from 1990 to 1993.

Also, the Canadian reaction to Ms Waldman’s racist rants was not entirely negative. Not everyone condemned her, likely in part because of Canadians’ growing antipathy towards China. Canada’s bilateral relations with China have been in nosedive since Ottawa ordered the arrest of Huawei’s top executive Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver last December on behalf of the US government. China’s retaliatory responses and the menacing sight of pro-Beijing protestors on the streets of Vancouver and Toronto in recent weeks have turned off most Canadians.

Rather than condemn Ms Waldman’s behaviour, many readers commenting on the site (18) took a different track. Most blamed the parking incident on the growing Chinese presence in Richmond as well as those deemed to be making “a big deal” of a small incident.

“It is not illegal to tell someone to return to China,” wrote Charles.

“The RCMP should investigate the Chinese money laundry hidden in real estate under foreign Asian buyers,” said another reader, suggesting the outrage over Ms Waldman’s remarks were misplaced and overblown.

“The Xu Lady was scared there was a white person in Richmond,” wrote Mario.

Ms Waldman has gone quiet after defiantly telling CBC news on August 24 that she did not regret her behaviour which she insisted was not racist in nature.

More than a week after the incident, Richmond City mayor Malcolm Brodie became the first elected official to speak. Downplaying the incident, he told CityNews that “one person’s bad behaviour…cannot in any way reflect on the city.” (19)

Of the four Federal Party candidates contesting the Richmond Centre seat, Mr Pak was the most vocal. He said he spoke up against the hate expressed in the incident as it was the right thing to do.

There has been no reported comment in the English language media from his three opponents for the Richmond Centre seat, including incumbent MP Alice Wong of the Conservative Party of Canada, the Liberal Party’s Steven Kou and the Green Party’s Francoise Raunet.

Mr Pak praised the RCMP’s decision to drop the case against Ms Waldman and suggested he understood why mainstream political parties and leaders have chosen to stay silent.

They are concerned that speaking up on relatively minor racial incidents might accentuate the problem and “bring on more conflict into the community,” said the father of two teenage boys.

“Most people try to hide the truth that we have racism and racial conflicts in the community,” he said.

With a sigh of resignation, he added: “There’s just no way to solve this race (problem).”

A People’s Party of Canada billboard (20) featuring leader Maxime Bernier and its message ‘Say NO to Mass Immigration’. (Chris Helgren/Reuters via CBC)

As we spoke, the PPC was taking fire for the large billboards erected across the country including Metro Vancouver featuring a smiling Maxime Bernier exhorting Canadians to “Say No To Mass Immigration” (21). Even as Mr Pak was calling for Canadians to condemn racism, his party was being held up as the poster boy for promoting hate.

The billboards have since been removed amid the public outcry.

But just as in the US and Europe, the debate in Canada over racism, immigration issues and China is about to explode.


1. VIDEOS: Carla Waldman
Goldy Dhaliwal. Make this racist loser go viral! August 23, 2019
August 24, 2019
Woman at centre of racism controversy in Richmond gets bombarded with criticism on Facebook

Images from Carla Waldman’s Facebook page, since taken down

3. Waldman campaigns against anti-Semitism

Paul Fromm: This woman is entitled to her opinion. August 25, 2019

Ivan Pak chosen as PPC candidate for Richmond Centre. May 14, 2019

PPC: Ending Official Multiculturalism and Preserving Canadian Values and Culture

People’s Party leader Maxime Bernier pictured with Hamilton white nationalist Paul Fromm. August 1, 2019

Profile of Paul Fromm

White nationalist Paul Fromm running for mayor of Hamilton, Ont. July 26, 2018

Ivan Pak: This woman is racist and committed a hate crime! August 23, 2019

Ivan Pak: She shouldn’t be charged with hate crime. August 25, 2019

12. NORSKK’s website

13. August 26, 2019

Dellie: This woman is hateful but has committed no crime. August 25, 2019

Christopher Thorolf Bjørnsen@ThorolfBjornsen Replying to @ivanpak8 @NORSKK and @peoplespca 3:00 AM · Aug 26, 2019. I am fed up with identity politics and people so sheltered from reality that they call everything hate. So, we are done here. You have lost my vote,

White nationalist Paul Fromm running for mayor of Hamilton, Ont. July 26, 2018

Woman caught making racist rant in Richmond won’t face charges—but commenters possibly could. August 27, 2019

CBC: Police investigate racist rant in Richmond, B.C., parking lot captured on video. August 24 2019. READERS’ comments

Mayor says viral video not the ‘real Richmond’ as city celebrates World Festival. August 31 3019

People’s Party of Canada billboard featuring leader Maxime Bernier and its message ‘Say NO to Mass Immigration’. (Chris Helgren/Reuters via CBC)

‘Say NO to mass immigration’ ads pulled, Bernier blames ‘leftist mob’. August 26, 2019