An Ontario MPP, a Reptile Illuminati Whistleblower, and a Man Who Scammed Cancer Kids Among Speakers at Upcoming Toronto Caribbean Event
The all-star panel features Randy Hillier, who was recently interviewed on an openly racist podcast, alongside self proclaimed son of G-d David Icke, Guiliani endorsed doctor ‘Zev’ Zelenko, outlaw pastor Henry Hildebrand, and disgraced anti-vaccine advocate Dr. Rashid Buttar.
*Update: Kyle Kemper, a Bitcoin trader and the half-brother of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, was added last-minute.
On December 15 Toronto Caribbean Newspaper (TCN) announced that Independent Member of Provincial Parliament for Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston Randy Hillier would be a featured speaker at TCN’s Awakening: Expose The Great Reset — World Truth Summit, an event scheduled for January 2, 2021.
Hillier was the fifth speaker announced, following David Icke, Pastor Henry Hildebrandt, Dr. Vladimir “Zev” Zelenko, and Dr. Rashid Buttar. A sixth speaker, retired Ontario Provincial Police Constable Vincent Gircys, was announced later.
At first glance, merging Randy Hillier’s infamous brand as a rural, white, Canadian landowners’ rights advocate with that of a news outlet specific to Toronto’s Caribbean culture might seem like a bit of a mismatch. Although Hillier was at once a revered political figure in Lanark and the surrounding region for his activism on behalf of landowner’s rights, his demographic was about as far from Toronto as anywhere in Southern Ontario can be. The 8% of Kingston’s population that he represents is the closest thing to a big city population Hillier speaks for, with most of his constituents residing in the overwhelmingly rural areas of Lanark County.
However, a quick look at TCN’s editorial shift in 2020 proves that their association with Randy Hillier is not an anomaly, but part of a large pattern.
For years TCN has boasted its undisputed status as Toronto’s largest Caribbean newspaper with a wide range of subject matters pertaining to a diverse audience. As well as covering local stories for the community such as bolstering new Caribbean restaurants and new Caribbean musicians, it also sometimes aimed to serve Toronto’s black community as a whole, with stories that gave local black-owned businesses and public figures a well deserved spotlight. It even covers international news that might interest both the Caribbean community and the larger black community of Toronto with ongoing Jamaican, Kenyan, Barbados, and United Kingdom news segments.
As someone who is neither part of the Caribbean Canadian community nor black, I’m not in a place to speak about TCN’s role to either demographic past these observations. But, none of my alt-right aliases on Facebook should be either — some of which are even part of large white supremacist groups — and yet, they still get loads of recommended TCN content on their Facebook news feeds.
Divide and Concur
All of this to say that TCN is no stranger to diversifying their subject matter or expanding their audience, and that even from an observer’s perspective it’s safe to say that Toronto’s Caribbean community itself is far from a monolith. I’ve been in Toronto during Caribana, Canada’s largest annual Caribbean festival, and it’s a really fun and welcoming environment for outsiders to the community like me.
What might be new for TCN is the type of audience they’ve been attracting. TCN has been regurgitating far-out conspiracy theories on a regular basis. And even though they’re still a new name to most Anti-Vaccine and QAnon crowds, they’ve made big impressions so far.
On October 8 Toronto Caribbean News interviewed Dr. Stella Immanuel, who rose to fame after being personally praised by United States President Donald Trump.
Dr. Immanuel was pushed early on by far-right publication Breitbart News, and faced widespread public scrutiny for several of her beliefs, including that vaginal cysts are caused when women have sex with demonic spirits in their dreams. Dr. Immanuel also maintains that alien DNA is used in medical treatments and that governments are run in part by reptiles.
“Some of the Most Renowned”
In keeping with the high standards of professionalism set by guests like Dr. Immanuel, Awakening co-host Kerry Lee Crawford described the panel in a promo videos as “some of the most renowned individuals in their respective fields.”
He’s not necessarily wrong. David Icke, for example, is absolutely one of the most renowned people in his field. It’s just that his “field” is discussing how humanity is controlled by shadow cabals of hybrid reptilian overlords.
So, with that in mind, let’s take a look at some of Awakening’s headliners.
The announcement of Hillier’s spot on the Awakening panel wasn’t the beginning of his association with the news network. Along with Rebel News and The Post Millenial, TCN has been giving Hillier plenty of positive attention throughout his scandal-ridden 2020. TCN’s podcast interviewed him for a full hour on Remembrance Day and he was featured on the cover of their Remembrance Day print issue.
However, the event will be Hillier’s first appearance since his interview on Plaid Army, a podcast popular among Canadian white supremacists, on Nov. 29.
Also, as I can personally attest to, so have some of their viewers:
The Plaid Army constantly invokes the threat of “The Great Replacement”, a white supremacist conspiracy theory that asserts that Jews are intentionally trying to eliminate ‘white’ people through promotion of interracial relationships. Derek Harrison has also applauded violence against women and LGBTQ people.
Hillier promoted the interview on his Facebook page and has yet to issue an apology or admit any regret about his association with Plaid Army.
The Kingston Jewish Council penned an open letter calling for his resignation following the appearance. There are also two independent petitions calling for his resignation, the larger of which has over six thousand signatures. Some of the controversies addressed in the petitions include allegations of racism from a comment Hillier made towards black Cabinet Minister Ahmed Hussen, the time he accused Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of creating forced internment camps, and the time he made fun of Autistic children. The latter two incidents both occurred during Provincial Caucus on recorded television.
Earlier this month, Hillier’s son was tasered during a physical confrontation with Ontario Provincial Police officers following a 911 call from a Perth bar.
Hillier may face charges for an large illegal gathering that he hosted on Christmas day in defiance of provincial health and safety measures.
He was previously charged for hosting an anti-lockdown and anti-mask rally in November in contravention of The Reopening Ontario Act.
David Icke is the United Kingdom’s most prolific conspiracy theorist. Although North Americans often refer to him as a sort of British equivalent to U.S. Alex Jones, the comparison isn’t perfect, and David Icke’s actually been a household name in New Age Conspiracy Theory for much longer. Icke garnered intense controversy in the mid 90s for repeatedly endorsing The Protocols of The Elders of Zion, a fabricated antisemitic text detailing fake plans for a Jewish plot to take over the world. The Protocols is a popular propaganda tool for many Neo Nazi groups, being revered in certain circles more than even Mein Kampf. Prior to becoming a new age conspirator in 1990, Icke was a Football broadcaster for the BBC. His career changed drastically when, in 1991, he announced on live television that he was the son of G-d, just as Biblical Jesus was.
David Icke’s core religious, spiritual, and political beliefs revolve around what he calls “The Unseen”, a belief that our world is controlled in secret by a genetically engineered race of human-reptile hybrids that live in underground caves. The reptile half of their hybrid DNA comes from an alien race, the Archons, that Icke sometimes describes as being inter-dimensional.
This year, David Icke was banned from Twitter and Facebook for spreading potentially dangerous medical misinformation. Prior to his ban, he had over 700,000 Facebook fans and over 360,000 Twitter followers.
Dr. Rashid Buttar
In the United States, those with D.O.’s (Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine) like Dr. Buttar are licensed to practise medicine similar to how those with M.D.’s (Medical Degrees) are.
Dr. Buttar is a modern staple among far-reaching anti-vaccine conspiracy theorists. In his 2006 film Know Your Options: AUTISM, The Misdiagnosis Of Our Future Generations — which retails for $184.79 not including shipping, much cheaper than its $218.99 sequel — he alleges that he can “cure” autism using chelation therapy, a practise that removes heavy metals from peoples’ bodies. Putting aside the conversation that pushing fake cures enforces a stigma that Autism needs to be cured, it never has been cured and obviously has no identified correlation with heavy metal poisoning.
Dr. Buttar has twice been reprimanded by the North Carolina Board of Medical Examiners. According to WCNC, NBC’s affiliate network in Charlotte, North Carolina, he has failed to obtained signed consent forms from the parents of child cancer patients that he treated using cosmetic skin drops, which he sold for $150 a bottle. He literally scammed the parents of children with cancer.
Dr. Buttar has been cited by the FDA for “illegal marketing of unapproved and adulterated drugs”. In 2020, some of his Youtube videos were banned for falsely claiming that NIAID Director Dr. Anthony Fauci manufactured Covid-19.
Dr. Vladimir “Zev” Zelenko
Last summer, Dr. Vladimir “Zev” Zelenko began treating Covid-19 patients in the Orthodox Jewish community (no one tell Hillier’s friends at Plaid Army) of Monroe, New York. He coined his own treatment regiment — The Zelenko Protocol — news of which eventually made it all the way to the ears of Borat 2 star Rudy Guiliani.
After it was proven far and wide to be ineffective, Jewish leaders in his community of Kiryas Joel spoke out against him in an open letter that called his conclusions “wild” and he moved away.
Pastor Henry Hildebrandt
Pastor Henry Hildebrandt of The Church of God in Aylmer, Ontario, is an active anti-lockdown activist popular in Canada’s anti-mask community. Earlier this month, Hildebrandt, several churchgoers, and his son surrounded a police cruiser parked outside of their church, which was operating in violation of health and safety measures. His son can be heard on video yelling “Don’t let him leave”, ‘him’ being the police officer inside.
Pastor Hildebrandt called the officer a “traitor” and a “coward”.
Pastor Hildebrandt’s son Herbert, 37, was charged with assault for pushing an 84 year old man to the ground on December 10. His beef? According to The Star, the 84 year old was “putting up pro-mask signs with friends on a property across from the Aylmer Church of God”.
Engagement is Up
It looks to be that Toronto Caribbean Newspaper is becoming into a strange amalgamation of a media outlet with two distinct identities. Many of their stories still seem to represent what they appear to always been: a serious but very local news network. The rest resemble a Canadian rip-off of The National Enquirer. Along with these distinct identities, TCN appears to appeal to two vastly different audiences: The former identity retaining some of the diverse and intersecting demographics that made up existing readers, and the latter reaching a potentially less diverse crowd of conspiracy theorists. One covers local stories, the other covers what some might call international stories. Others would call them imaginary.
I’ve sifted through a lot of recent conspiracy-free articles from TCN before writing this. Some of them are good and some are great. Unlike my writing, their bylines are straight to the point but informative. Op-eds about issues effecting communities that I’m not part of have been especially interesting to read.
Their social media still, on occasion, boosts groups and causes that myself — and I think most Canadian progressives — would feel supportive of.
Their forums also cover a diverse range of topics.
Politically, posts from TCN’s Facebook page in past years have criticized Trump’s base.
This contrasts posts made more recently that more closely resemble that of a right-wing echo chamber, like this recent one comparing United State Democrats to “the Chinese Communist Party”:
The reason, I suspect, behind TCN’s drastic change of content over time isn’t all that complicated. I can’t see read counts of TCN’s articles, but if social media interaction is any indicator, their new content has attracted a very engaged base.
After all, I started keeping an eye on TCN not because I thought they were an alt-right publication, but because I’ve seen swathes of alt-right Facebook users echoing TCN content. Although not as common as outlets like Rebel News, The Post Millenial, or Breitbart, it appears that lately a lot of the same crowds, at least on Canadian social media, engage with each.
Alt-right readers (and viewers) are both loyal and highly active audiences. I don’t think the same can be said for the base of any local newspaper, no matter the quality.
Case in point: None of the Facebook posts I showed earlier have any likes or comments. This post backing martial arts instructor Dan Oke’s attempt to unlawfully “arrest” the mayor of Oakville does:
TCN’s October interview with David Icke, in which they discuss Covid conspiracies, is their second watched Youtube video with over twenty thousand views.
Among the least watched is one from June supporting the George Floyd protests, with just over a hundred views.
Correspondence With TCN
On Thursday, Dec. 17, I spoke with a representative from TCN. They took my questions down and said I’d receive a call back with official statements soon.
I also reached out to an Awakening organizer, Toronto Caribbean Newspaper TV, and co-host Jennifer Simone Smith with some background information and the following questions:
“MPP Randy Hilier is currently slated to be either headlining or co-headlining the panel. Although I know that Hillier has appeared on TCN in the past, I believe the panel will be his first appearance since he appeared on Plaid Army, an alt-right podcast popular among white supremacists.
Hilier’s associate Jeremy Mackenzie of Plaid Army has disparaged interracial relationships between white women and non-white men. His associate Derek Harrison alleges that people of Somalian descent are intellectually inferior to people implied to be white. (Link to video for reference)
In addition to anti-black comments, both personalities are also openly anti-Semitic and one has applauded hate crimes against trans people.
In June Hilier deleted a tweet to Social Development Minister Ahmed Hussen that many considered to be racist. The Kingston Jewish Council and the CIJA have accused him of legitimizing platforms that promote hate.
As a host of a news network that covers issues affecting racialized Canadians, do you condone Plaid Army and MPP Hillier’s past comments and associations? How do you feel about sharing associates with Plaid Army? Do you think that continuing to give Hillier a platform could legitimize his actions and the actions of Plaid Army?
I was also wondering if you would comment on MPP Hillier’s comments offending the autistic community.
Recently he left out important details of a dispute between OPP and his son, allowing his followers to spread baseless claims that the dispute outside of a Perth bar was somehow part of a targeted plot orchestrated by Ontario Premiere Doug Ford. (Screenshots attached for reference.)
Hillier has also been under fire recently for boasting about his party of 15 at Christmas in a time where Ontarians were not permitted to attend or host such large gatherings. Do you feel either of these incidents to be irresponsible of him as an elected government official and community leader? Why or why not?”
When speaking with TCN by phone, I specifically asked about the role that TCN felt they had in condemning racist media like Plaid Army as a news network who’s primary audience is black Canadians. I mentioned that as a writer who isn’t black, I wanted to avoid speculating anything about Toronto’s black community. Eventually, I was told that the event organizer, Grant, had decided not to answer any of my questions after all.
Anyways, here’s a head shot of the only Grant that has a staff page on TCN’s website:
Make of it what you will.
All other representatives from Toronto Caribbean Newspaper and the Awakening summit have yet to respond.
This article is part of an ongoing series about the spread of the alt-right in Canada in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. Previous pieces include:
For frequent updates, bylines, and a place to send hate mail, Follow me on Twitter.