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History Post-confederation (1867-)

The Ku Klux Klan in Canada

A Century of Promoting Racism and Hate in the Peaceable Kingdom

by (author) Allan Bartley

Formac Publishing Company Limited
Initial publish date
Oct 2020
Post-Confederation (1867-), African American, Violence in Society, Discrimination & Race Relations, North America
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    Publish Date
    Oct 2020
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    Publish Date
    Oct 2020
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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.

Historian Allan Bartley traces the role of the Klan in Canadian political life in the turbulent years of the 1920s and 1930s, after which its membership waned. But in the 1970s, as he relates, small extremist right- wing groups emerged in urban Canada, and sought to revive the Klan as a readily identifiable identity for hatred and racism.

The Ku Klux Klan in Canada tells the little-known story of how Canadians 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.


About the author

ALLAN BARTLEY has researched the history of the KKK in Canada for over 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 is an adjunct professor in the Department of Political Science at Carleton University. Allan lives in Ottawa.

Allan Bartley's profile page

Editorial Reviews

"The book draws connections between Canada's past KKK activities and the contemporary hatred propagated online by and for Canadian audiences who are interested in the same sort of division, racism and bigotry. At the same time, Bartley describes the cultural forces that can challenge Canadian racism today."


Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives: Monitor

"An important value in Bartley's work is his nuanced look at the role of racist ideas and organizations within Canada, linked to but also independent of the KKK and other U.S. imports." 


Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives: Monitor

"A thoroughly detailed and timely account of how the Klan capitalized on Canada's deeply entrenched racism to establish a decades-long legacy of terrorizing anyone the group deemed a threat to their white supremacist goals."


Canadian Dimension

"The Ku Klux Klan in Canada is a fascinating and detailed Canadian history of a hate organization strongly associated with the United States of America, its long history of slavery and its ongoing tense race relations despite its melting-pot creed."


Atlantic Books Today

"One of the strengths of Bartley's book lies in the pungent, incisive thumbnail descriptions he provides of the swindlers, grifters and con men who successfully monetized hatred in the Klan's many pyramid schemes."


The Vancouver Sun

"This book helps readers gain insight into the fundamental role racism has played in Canadian society and the cultural forces that can challenge it."

Spring Magazine

"Books like Bartley’s are important tools for helping us understand the history of racism and hate in Canada, and how it connects to contemporary incidents of violence and intolerance against some Canadians, merely for their skin colour or cultural background."


Atlantic Books Today