The Ku Klux Klan came to Canada thanks to some energetic American promoters who saw it as a vehicle for getting rich by selling memberships to white, mostly Protestant Canadians. In Ontario, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia the Klan found fertile ground for its message of racism and discrimination targeting African Canadians, Jews and Catholics. While its organizers fought with each other to capture the funds received from enthusiastic members, the Klan was a venue for expressions of race hatred and a cover for targeted acts of harassment and violence against minorities.
Author Allan Bartley traces the role of the Klan in Canadian political life in the turbulent years of the 1920s and 30s, after which its membership waned. But in the 1970s, as he relates, small extremist rightwing groups emerged in urban Canada, and sought to revive the Klan as a readily identifiable identity for hatred and racism.
Historian Allan Bartley tells the little known story of how Canadians have adopted the image and ideology of the Klan to express the racism that has played so large a role in Canadian society for the past hundred years—right up to the present.
Allan Bartley has researched the history of the KKK in Canada for a decade. In 1995, he published the article A Public Nuisance: The Ku Klux Klan in Ontario 1923-27 in the Journal of Canadian Studies. He is also the author of Alexander MacNeill, A Political Life, and Heroes in Waiting:The 160th Battalion in the Great War. A former intelligence analyst for Canadian security agencies, he lives in Ottawa.