While Canadians across the country have thrown their support behind the Truckers for Freedom Convoy, True North has discovered that some of the “experts” warning against “extremists” within the protest have long been affiliated with far-left organizations.

Two such voices are Kurt Phillips and Peter Smith, both with the Canadian Anti-Hate Network (CAHN). They told various news outlets that Canadians should be wary of the convoy’s ultimate goals and activities.

“There are people who genuinely believe that this is overreach by the federal government,” Phillips said to CTV News, “but there are also a lot of other groups that are involved and individuals who are involved who have a long history of very overheated rhetoric.”

Phillips works as a junior/senior humanities teacher at St. Anthony’s School in Drumheller, Alta and reportedly serves as a board member at CAHN. He is also the founder and former lead writer for Anti-Racist Canada (ARC).

Phillips told CTV News last week that far-right groups are trying to infiltrate the convoy and suggested the protest could amount to Canada’s version of the Jan. 6, 2021 U.S. Capitol attacks.

“People are energized in an incredible way right now, and it’s hard to see something not happening,” he added. “I don’t know if it would be on the scale of Jan. 6 in the United States, but there are so many angry people.”

True North has learned that he made 125 donations to the federal New Democratic Party from 2005 to 2019, ranging in amounts from $5 to $160. 

Phillips, who used to manage ARC, stepped away from the organization in 2020. His repeated opposition to Donald Trump, as with his opposition to the trucking convoy, involved frequent warnings of “far-right extremism.”

“With the uptick in far-right extremism on the rise during the 2016 presidential race in the United States which was also seeping up into Canada, I decided to stick it out until Donald Trump’s inevitable defeat which I thought would spell the end of what would be an intense but relatively short-lived form of fascism known as Trumpism,” Phillips said in 2020. 

Phillips was also among those who condemned former “Coach’s Corner” host Don Cherry for telling everyone to wear poppies on Remembrance Day in 2019. 

Another so-called expert who has spoken out against the convoy is CAHN investigative journalist Peter Smith. Smith told The Canadian Press that he is seeing similarities between this convoy and one in 2019 about federal pipeline policies. 

“There are definitely people within that group who have a heart-in-the-right-place mentality, but it is a movement that is heavily informed by conspiracy theory, and is being organized by people who have a history of engaging with these groups,” said Smith. 

He said these protests are close to being based off of conspiracy theories “not something that’s just a little bit on the edges, but quite significant.”

Rebel News reported in October 2020 that the Canadian government gave $268,400 in funding to the CAHN in 2020 for a project called Containing and Countering Canadian Hate Groups. 

This project, said the Ministry of Canadian Heritage, would help CAHN fight online hate “by hiring four team members to carry out the monitoring of extreme-right groups, report on their activities and file complaints with law enforcement.”

Smith has made accusations of hate speech in the past. 

In October, he accused parental rights activist Chris Elston of transphobia, saying that “(a)ctions against the transgender community are becoming increasingly organized.”

Smith also condemned Rebel contributor Ian Miles Cheong in April for criticizing Hamilton Public Health Services for prioritizing racialized people for COVID-19 vaccines. 

CTV News and The Canadian Press could not be reached for comment in time for publication. 

We’re asking readers, like you, to make a contribution in support of True North’s fact-based, independent journalism.

Unlike the mainstream media, True North isn’t getting a government bailout. Instead, we depend on the generosity of Canadians like you.

How can a media outlet be trusted to remain neutral and fair if they’re beneficiaries of a government handout? We don’t think they can.

This is why independent media in Canada is more important than ever. If you’re able, please make a tax-deductible donation to True North today. Thank you so much.