Skinhead group returns to town

Southern Ontario Skinheads leave poster behind

A Southern Ontario Skinhead poster at Earl and Barrie.
A Southern Ontario Skinhead poster at Earl and Barrie.

Members of the Southern Ontario Skinheads visited Kingston in mid-March and again in May, leaving behind a poster in the student housing area.

During their March visit, the group videotaped themselves walking up and down Princess St. and chanting white supremacist slogans. Two of the videos, posted online, show the Kingston Police Force (KPF) speaking to the group.

Steve Koopman, media relations officer for the KPF, said that while an officer had been dispatched to speak with the group, no arrests were made.

“At that time no crime was being committed, nothing that the officer could enforce,” he said.

“We just made sure we got as much information as possible and the group was allowed to go on their way.”

The poster put up in May at Earl and Barrie Streets advertised the group, violating a city bylaw. The bylaw bans all posters not hung at one of seven designated public notice boards.

Koopman said that members of the white supremacist group live within the City of Kingston, though some of the group that came in March were believed to be from out of town.

“Our intelligence through our special services unit is aware of a small group of individuals within the City of Kingston that would likely identify themselves with either, say, a skinhead, a neo-Nazi or a white power supremacist slant or philosophy,” he said.

“Because of that, we’re continuing to keep our eyes on them. We know who most, if not all, of these individuals are.”

Most of the members of the Southern Ontario Skinheads appear to be from southwestern Ontario, according to Koopman.

The numbers in eastern Ontario are smaller and more loosely organized.

This isn’t the first time Kingston has been visited by white supremacists. The first convention of Canadian fascists was held in Kingston in 1938, and the now-disbanded white supremacist group Heritage Front put posters up around Queen’s in 1994, sparking controversy when the administration didn’t take the posters down until after students demanded their removal.

Koopman said that while this group is a concern within the community, the KPF has to be careful of the distinction between free speech and knowing when a criminal offense is being committed.

“We’re trying to strike that balance between knowing that they’re here, keeping our eyes on them, at the same time not trying to give … them any … more publicity or coverage than is required.”


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