Frederick Paul Fromm (born January 3, 1949), known as Paul Fromm, is an alleged Canadian neo-Nazi leader with ties to the Ku Klux Klan. He has been described by national media as "one of Canada's most notorious white supremacists".
Fromm was born in Bogota, Colombia and grew up in Etobicoke in a devout Catholic family. His mother, Marguerite Michaud, was of French Canadian descent while his father, Frederick William Fromm, was of German and Irish descent. His father enlisted in the Royal Canadian Navy during World War II. After the war, he qualified as a chartered accountant and worked in Colombia for an oil company. After Paul was born the family returned to Ontario where his father found work as an accountant with the provincial ministry of highways.
In 1967, as a student at the University of Toronto's St. Michael's College, Paul Fromm co-founded the Edmund Burke Society with Don Andrews, Leigh Smith and Al Overfield; and also founded its student wing "Campus Alternative". The Edmund Burke Society was a right-wing anti-communist group that agitated against prominent left-wing movements. The group would often disrupt, sometimes violently, left-wing rallies and events.
The group's main focus was opposition to the New Left and other left-wing tendencies that the Edmund Burke Society associated with communism. In 1970, the group disrupted a speech by William Kunstler, resulting in the Chicago Seven's lawyer drenching Fromm with a pitcher of water. A melee between Edmund Burke Society members and Kunstler's supporters ensued, and Fromm was knocked unconscious to the floor.
With the support of members of the Edmund Burke Society, Fromm was elected president of the Ontario Social Credit Party in 1971 and was able to have other EBS members elected to the party's executive. Three Social Credit candidates in the 1971 Ontario election were avowed "Burkers".
As the far left movement waned, Edmund Burke Society members turned their attention to issues of race and immigration and became increasingly attracted to white supremacist theories. In February 1972, the group renamed itself the Western Guard. In 1972, after having lost the Social Credit Party presidency to Dr. James McGillvray, Fromm led a successful attempt by the Western Guard to take over the Ontario wing of the Social Credit Party of Canada. The national executive of the national Social Credit Party declared membership in the Western Guard "incompatible" with membership in the party and this led national Social Credit leader Réal Caouette to place the Ontario organization under trusteeship in order to counter Fromm's activities.
In May 1972, Fromm was the opening speaker at a Western Guard banquet honouring Robert E. Miles, a former Ku Klux Klan leader who became a leading ideologue in the Christian Identity movement. Fromm, Overfield and several others resigned from the Western Guard in May 1972, immediately after the Toronto Sun published an article on the group, which included information about the banquet. Fromm's departure left the leadership of the Western Guard in the hands of Don Andrews. Fromm claimed in a 1973 letter to the Toronto Star that he left the Western Guard "because of a growing radicalization of its politics and the irresponsibility of some of its activities.". Later, he denied ever having been a member of the Guard saying he "never had any connection" with the organization. When confronted with his 1973 letter, he dismissed it as "a matter of semantics".
Fromm graduated from university with a Masters degree in English as well as an education degree and worked as a school teacher with the Peel Region Board of Education from 1974 until his dismissal in 1997. He temporarily tried to distance himself from groups that were visibly linked to explicitly racist and neo-Nazi beliefs. He founded "Countdown", which led to the creation of three organizations that attempted to make far-right views palatable to the mainstream. Fromm was elected as a Catholic school trustee in 1976, after an unsuccessful attempt in 1974, and served on the Metro Toronto Separate School Board until he was defeated in his bid for re-election two years later. His father, Fred, was also defeated in his 1978 bid for a seat on the board.
In 1976, he founded the Citizens for Foreign Aid Reform (C-FAR), which opposes foreign aid to Third World nations. The organization also deals with other issues, including crime and punishment, multiculturalism and immigration. It sponsors lectures by far right individuals and publishes pamphlets and books, mostly about race and immigration. In 1981, Fromm founded Canadian Association for Free Expression (CAFE), in opposition to the Canadian Human Rights Commission. CAFE has been active defending the rights of accused antisemites, racists and Holocaust deniers against prosecution under hate crime and human rights legislation. Another group he founded was Canada First Immigration Reform Committee, which advocates reduced immigration, and opposes immigration by non-whites. These three groups still exist today and are still led by Fromm. Their membership and mandates overlap, and they are essentially a single organization. Fromm's leadership of these groups has given him some access to the mainstream media, such as radio talk shows and newspapers.
In the late 1970s, Fromm also founded Canadian Friends of Rhodesia to support the white minority rule regime of Ian Smith and his Rhodesian Front. In the mid to late 1980s, Fromm's organizations were involved in advocacy on behalf of South Africa's apartheid regime, and opposing the movement to impose economic sanctions on the country.
Fromm attempted to enter mainstream political activity by joining the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada. He was elected treasurer of PC Metro, a network of 31 Toronto PC riding associations on April 15, 1981. He angered many people and embarrassed both the federal and Ontario Progressive Conservatives when a profile in the Globe and Mail quoted him as saying that breeding a "supreme race" for intelligence was a good idea, and as calling for Vietnamese refugees to be sent to "desert islands" off the Philippines and Indonesia rather than be accepted into Canada where they would "upset the racial balance".
His comments resulted in Progressive Conservative premier William Davis being asked in the legislature whether he is willing "to tolerate such neo-fascist, if not fascist, ideas within the Conservative Party." Federal Progressive Conservative immigration critic Chris Speyer said Fromm's remarks were "entirely his and certainly don't represent the views of the party or the caucus." Federal PC president Peter Blaikie asked Fromm to resign from the local executive, telling the press on April 30, 1981: "It's quite clear that that article, accurate or inaccurate, sets out a position which is clearly at variance with that of the party," and that the issue "has created some difficulty and embarrassment for the party."
In 1983, Fromm was an active supporter of right-wing Member of Parliament John A. Gamble's unsuccessful bid to win the leadership of the federal Progressive Conservatives. Fromm's work with Gamble continued beyond his unsuccessful leadership bid, and included work in the World Anti-Communist League. In 1993, Gamble was rejected as a candidate for the Reform Party of Canada because of his long association with Fromm and other racist activists.
In the late 1980s, Fromm was an active member of the Reform Party of Canada, but was essentially expelled in October 1988 when leader Preston Manning sent Fromm a letter asking him to "dissociate" himself from the party, following complaints by party members about the racist tenor of a speech Fromm made at a Reform Party gathering. In the 1988 federal election, Fromm ran as a candidate for the Confederation of Regions Party in the riding of Mississauga East, receiving 288 votes.
In 1997, he was a candidate for the public school board in Peel Region, receiving 827 votes (10.39% of ballots cast); coming in last of four candidates. His name was the first on the ballot, which may have increased his vote total due to the primacy effect in a four-way contest amongst independents.
In the 1990s, Fromm spoke at several Heritage Front events, including a celebration of Adolf Hitler's birthday. A video surfaced of him addressing the rally and referring to Canadian fascist John Ross Taylor as a "hero". Taylor was one of two Canadian Nazis interned by the government during World War II. The video shows Fromm standing beside a Nazi flag during the Heritage Front's "Martyr's Day". The rally included shouts from the audience of "Sieg Heil!", "white power", "Hail The Order!" and "nigger, nigger, nigger, out out out". Fromm, a high school English teacher at the time, was reprimanded by the school board after videos of him speaking at white supremacist rallies, came to light in 1992. He was transferred to an adult education centre by the board in 1993 pending the outcome of an investigation into his activities and then fired by the school board in 1997.
In 2000, a published report alleged that developer Martin Weiche, a former leader of the Canadian Nazi Party, was one of Fromm's major financial backers. Fromm has shared a stage with Holocaust denier David Irving, and has organized rallies in support of Holocaust denier Ernst Zündel. B'nai Brith legal counsel Anita Bromberg has said "Fromm is the one who has put himself out there most directly as supporting Zündel. He looks as though he's waiting in the wings." In 2004, Fromm was associated with David Duke's efforts to unite white nationalists with the New Orleans Protocol. In the 2000s, he has tried to revive the display of the Canadian Red Ensign flag.
In January 2005, Fromm defended himself at a disciplinary hearing of the Ontario College of Teachers against charges including "failure to maintain professional standards; not complying with college regulations and bylaws; disgraceful, dishonourable, unprofessional and/or unbecoming conduct; and practising while in a conflict of interest." Following three days of hearings, further deliberation were postponed. The hearing resumed in the spring of 2007 and on October 31, 2007, the college rendered its ruling stripping Fromm of his license to teach in the province of Ontario.
Fromm has acted as an advocate for far right activists who have been called before the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal (CHRT). Among those Fromm has represented is Glenn Bahr, the co-founder and former leader of Western Canada For Us, and Terry Tremaine, a former University of Saskatchewan mathematics lecturer. In 2006, he represented the Canadian Heritage Alliance at a CHRT hearing in Toronto, and supported John Beck of the group BC White Pride at a CHRT hearing in Penticton, British Columbia. Fromm has been described as a mentor to younger "far-right extremists" such as Melissa Guille and Jason Ouwendyk and as a "'senior player' in the neo-Nazi movement in Canada." He identifies himself as an advocate for "white nationalists".
On August 19, 2006, Fromm's Port Credit, Ontario home was besieged by dozens of anti-fascist youths, who surrounded the townhouse; challenging Fromm to come outside. Although he reportedly remained inside approximately half a dozen neo-Nazis were present outside his home. Over 50 police officers were on call to protect Fromm and his supporters. The area was plastered in flyers advertising Fromm's home address and far-right political affiliations. The protest ended without incident.
On his way to an April 19, 2007 Ontario College of Teachers hearing into his conduct, Fromm was in a scuffle with Jewish Defense League (JDL) members in an elevator. Protesters claimed that Fromm shoved them, but Fromm asserts that the JDL members lunged at him. Police arrested two protesters, charging them with assault, assault police and obstructing.
In October 2007, the Canadian House of Commons unanimously passed a resolution banning Fromm and Alexan Kulbashian from the Canadian Parliament buildings after they attempted to hold a press conference in the parliamentary press theatre. The resolution read: "That this House order that Alexan Kulbashian and Paul Fromm be denied admittance to the precincts of the House of Commons during the present session to preserve the dignity and integrity of the House."
Fromm and his Canadian Association for Free Expression were sued by Ottawa lawyer Richard Warman for libeling the anti-racist activist in various online posts. On November 23, 2007, Ontario Superior Court Justice Monique Métivier ruled in Warman's favour ordering Fromm to pay Warman a total of $30,000 in damages and to post full retractions on all the websites on which he posted the defamatory comments within 10 days. Métivier found that Fromm posted statements about Warman "either knowing the fundamental falseness of the accusations he levelled at Mr. Warman, or being reckless as to the truth of these." Métivier added that "The steady diet of diatribe and insults, couched in half-truths and omissions, all lead up to the finding of malice such that the defamatory statements are not protected by the defence of fair comment."
On December 15, 2008, the Ontario Court of Appeal upheld the original $30,000 defamation judgment against Fromm and added a $10,000 penalty in legal costs. Fromm posted a financial appeal complaining that "We are $17,500 behind in our legal bills - to say nothing of the possible $40,000 debt, if this judgment stands." Richard Warman responded to news of the appeal court's ruling by saying it "sends the message that those who try to use the cloak of free speech to poison other people's reputations through lies and defamation do so at their own peril."
On August 4 2008, Fox News interviewed Fromm, in relation to the prosecution of right-wing Canadian author Mark Steyn. The Southern Poverty Law Center criticised Fox for identifying Fromm only as a "Free Speech Activist".