So what did the RCMP think of John Beattie's "Nazis"?
So in 1965, a 24-year-old unemployed clerk dressed up in a Halloween-style Nazi costume, strutted into a Toronto park, and gave a speech -- or a few minutes of one, until he was mobbed by literally thousands of "anti-Nazi" Jews, many wielding baseball bats and other weapons.
Beattie said he was the leader of the "Canadian Nazi Party", but it wasn't a party. It wasn't even an organization in any legal sense. It didn't have a bank account. It didn't have a newsletter. It didn't have any formal organization -- no bylaws, not constitution.
(It's just like Syed Soharwardy, the anti-Semitic Muslim radical who took me before the Alberta human rights commission in 2006 because I published the Danish cartoons of Mohammed. Soharwardy claims he's the president of the "Islamic Supreme Council of Canada". Sure -- and he's also its only member. In fact, unless I'm mistaken, the ISCC has been struck from the corporate registry -- so even Soharwardy isn't a member of it!)
Anyways, Beattie was a joke -- but a useful one to the Canadian Jewish Congress, who were looking for a PR boost for their perennial campaign to bring censorship laws to Canada. Beattie was it -- so the CJC hired John Garrity, a 37-year-old ex cop with a lot of street smarts, to help Beattie organize his little band. (Garrity also provided critical bodyguard services to Beattie.) Garrity billed the CJC for his services directly -- thousands of dollars in 1965 money, tens of thousands in 2009 money. That was money that was skimmed from Jewish charitable donations that funded the CJC.
So, we know that Beattie was useful to the CJC. But what did the police think of him and his "Nazis"? Were they a threat? Here is a three-page RCMP memo on Beattie and his group from December of 1969, with a cover letter written in February of 1970. Their conclusion: Beattie had no influence over the government or the community in general. He wasn't even worth following, from an security intelligence point of view. The only value that Beattie and his "Nazis" had, according to the RCMP assessment, was that "some pressure has been brought to bear on Federal authorities in the anti-hate literature bill."
Who was using Beattie to bring that pressure? The RCMP wasn't shy about naming names: the CJC. "It is also known that as a result of activities of the C.N.S.P. [Canadian National Socialist Party], some influence is brought on local and Federal authorities, mostly by the Jewish community in Canada."
Read the whole memo. Here are a few of my favourite snippets:
The RCMP notes that Beattie's rallies were poorly attended, except by counter-protesters (that would be the CJC and company). How were those counter-protesters described? "Left wing". The CJC? Left wing? How dare the RCMP cast aspersions on the CJC's political neutrality!
The RCMP noted that the "Nazis" had no money, and didn't receive any from the U.S., either. Most of the dollars they would scrounge up were used by Beattie himself, as he was unemployed. Lucky for Beattie, the Canadian Jewish Congress was there with their thousands of dollars to provide him with a bodyguard, organizational talent and -- according to the CJC's Rabbi Reuven Bulka -- a bottle of rum. Hey, maybe it was Jewish charity after all!