Protesters give far-right leader a bigger platform

Thanks to well-meaning but overzealous protesters, the head of a tiny far-right political party is enjoying a much bigger platform than he deserves.

Stephen Garvey only drew a few supporters to his June 22 rally at Grand Parade in Halifax. Left alone, the National Citizens Alliance (NCA) leader would have howled into his megaphone for a while, posted a few videos on social media, then left town with little to no fanfare.

But individual activists, along with groups like Halifax Against Hate and Solidarity Halifax, made sure Garvey wasn’t left alone. About 100 protesters confronted and chased him across Grand Parade and then up and down Argyle Street. It was great theatre, certainly, but it played right into the NCA leader’s hands.

Saturday’s protest generated a wealth of media coverage, much of it based on a Halifax Regional Police news release detailing the arrests of two protesters. It also led to Garvey’s appearance this morning on the Rick Howe Show.

The NCA leader used the top-of-the-hour interview to plug his party’s website address, condemn the “false” mainstream media and denounce protesters for attempting to suppress the political speech of a federally registered party.

Howe said he was getting “lambasted” on social media for having Garvey on his show. But truth be told, protesters gave him that platform, not the radio host.

On Saturday, one of the protest leaders — a masked anti-fascist who identified himself only as John — said Garvey was the second coming of Adolf Hitler. “If you want to know how Nazi Germany came to exist, this is how it happened,” he told the crowd at Grand Parade through a megaphone. “This is the beginning. We are living it right now.”

Sorry, John, but you’re wrong.

This isn’t the Weimar Republic. We’re not outraged by the Versailles Treaty. And we aren’t in the midst of the Great Depression.

We are a mostly tolerant, open-minded, moderate kind of people.

And until you picked up your megaphone, few of us had ever heard of Stephen Garvey or the NCA.

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