‘He has lots to reply for’: Guelph Catholic college board trustee candidate stands by conspiracy concept writings
A candidate for one of Guelph’s seats on the Wellington Catholic District School Board has published views one researcher into extremism says could prove dangerous, especially if he is elected.
Robert Higgins, who is running for one of four Guelph trustee positions on the Catholic school board, has published writings espousing beliefs very similar to a conspiracy theory known as great replacement or white replacement.
First popularized in Europe about a decade ago, the great replacement conspiracy theory incorrectly asserts white people are being replaced by non-white people — many times Muslim people.
In an email to the Mercury Tribune, Higgins said he still stands by his expressed views.
“My views in several areas are not politically correct,” he added.
“One area is the education system, from kindergarten to university, which I believe has been taken over by socialist liberal ideology. Some things being taught to children and the age at which they are being taught are very questionable. As a trustee, I intend to examine what is being taught in each age group.”
Amarnath Amarasingam, an assistant professor at Queen’s University who has done research on radicalization and extremism, online communities and terrorism | Queen’s University
Amarnath Amarasingam, an assistant professor at Queen’s University who has done research on radicalization and extremism, online communities and terrorism, said Higgins’ comments “come very close to being quite openly about the great replacement theory without using those exact words,” and said “ it’s quite awful.”
“The main difference between the great replacement stuff from what you might call legitimate or rationally rooted argumentation about immigration policy or policy debates is that addition of a sinister motive behind immigration,” Amarasingam said.
“It’s not simply critiquing Trudeau’s immigration policy … but the fact that the policy itself is orchestrated by somebody with a sinister motive to replace the majoritarian culture in the country, to bring in people to cause a demographic shift at the expense of majority white people in Canada.”
In a September 2020 letter to Erin O’Toole, at the time the leader of the Conservative Party, posted to his website, Higgins accused Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of “trying to destroy the hegemony of white people in Canada.”
“When he became prime minister he vacationed with his family on an island owned by the leader of a Muslim sect. When he came back, he appointed a Black Muslim man as minister of immigration. Since then, a high proportion of immigrants have dark skin. Can you connect the dots?” hey wrote.
“It appears that Mr. Trudeau is trying to destroy the hegemony of white people in Canada. Someone should ask him, ‘what is wrong with white Canadians that it is necessary to replace them?’”
In December 2016, more than a year after he became prime minister, Trudeau and his family stayed eight days at the private residence of the Aga Khan, spiritual leader of Shia Ismaili, in the Bahamas. Trudeau was later found to have violated multiple parts of the Federal Conflict of Interest Act with the visit, as the Aga Khan Foundation had received millions of dollars in federal government funds.
In Governance for a New Era, a 2020 self-published book, Higgins wrote that “mixing groups together will probably result in social problems and economic stratification.”
“Besides these practical considerations there is a suspicion that the campaigns of the socialist liberal establishment to create diverse societies in Europe and America are part of a plan to destroy the hegemony of the white European populations even in their own countries.”
Morgan Hayde carries a sign recognizing the shooting at a Buffalo supermarket earlier this year that left 10 people dead and another three injured. A manifesto posted online by the suspected shooter, who is currently facing dozens of state and federal charges, made numerous references to the great replacement conspiracy theory. | Metroland file photo
Great replacement theory has also been cited by the perpetrators of numerous racially motivated mass shootings, including at a Buffalo supermarket earlier this year that left 10 people dead, the 2019 Christchurch shooting that saw 51 people killed, 2018 Tree of Life synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh in 2018 that left 11 people dead.
Asked if he was aware of the similarity between his writings and the views expressed in the manifestos and writings of those mass shooters, Higgins said “this question appears to be a mean-spirited attempt to associate my views with radical violent people.”
“I am definitely not in that category.”
Amarasingam said Higgins should still hold views in line with the great replacement conspiracy theory, “in the school context, it’s quite dangerous.”
“I have three young kids who are in elementary school, and if you walk into their school, the kind of pluralistic, multicultural element is basically plastered all over the walls. It’s very celebratory,” he said.
“If he believes that people of darker skin are being brought in to replace white Canadians, I’ll be very curious to know how he approaches educating the children of immigrants in this country. I think he has a lot to answer for, especially if he hasn’t renounced this over the last couple of years.”
In his email, Higgins stated that “a bedrock principle of any school is that all students have equal status.”
“As a trustee I will never forget this principle. As a professional engineer for 40 years I soon learned to make decisions, especially affecting other people, based on facts, not feelings. Another fact is that most immigrants came to Canada in good faith and with good intentions,” he wrote.
“I respect that and was an immigrant myself to the United States in 1966 (I returned two years later). My disagreement with the federal government is something else.”
Higgins’ book also refers to a 2010 study purporting to show those from Black-majority countries have lower IQs, with Higgins noting this and cultural differences “suggest that an individual person has the best chance in his/her life if competition is only among his /her child.”
The study in question was co-authored by Richard Lynn, whom the Southern Poverty Law Center calls “one of the most unapologetic and raw ‘scientific’ racists operating today” and “an unapologetic eugenicist.”
According to the BBC, Lynn had his status as professor emeritus at Ulster University in Northern Ireland revoked in 2018. This move followed calls earlier that year by the university’s student union, who said he pushes views that are “racist and sexist in nature.”
Along with study co-author Gerhard Meisenberg, Lynn has also been listed as a director of the Pioneer Fund. Based in New York, the fund has contributed money to research into eugenics and, between 1994 and 1999, the white supremacist New Century Foundation.
Comments are closed.