Kevin “Jackal” Johnston is in pre-trial custody until his trial on July 12 following a series of anti-lockdown stunts in Calgary, Edmonton and Dawson Creek, BC. He’s been in the news recently as a mayoral candidate in Calgary, but what you might not know is that he has a storied history out east, too.
Johnston can be difficult to pin down. Much of his most controversial commentary and behaviour has been removed, altered or unpublished from social media—sometimes by court order or as a result of his victims’ complaints.
Johnston cuts a figure somewhere between an overly entitled suburban dad and an AM radio shock-jock. After going around the horn a bit on whether it is journalistically acceptable to call Johnston a loser, I have settled on this fact: he has made losing—prolifically—into a personal passion. He consistently loses nearly every single court case he finds himself in, often representing himself. Johnston seems to believe fervently that there’s no such thing as bad press and wears his many losses with pride, referring to himself as “Canada’s most censored man.”
“Canada’s most censored man”
A 2008 obituary for father David Johnston indicates that Kevin Johnston was once a family man with a wife and children. He lived with them in the upper-middle class Meadowvale neighborhood of Mississauga, Ontario.
Prior to 2014 Johnston seems to have been a quasi-public figure in the city of Mississauga. His website advertised him as a court process server in 2010. He was known as a disc jockey debuting as the somewhat prophetic “DJ Asshole,” eventually settling on “DJ Jackal.” Johnston was known as a comedian, lacrosse coach, comic book artist and for his annual ‘haunted house’ that he seems to have spent a substantial amount of time and resources on organizing. In 2014 Johnston described his primary vocation to Toronto.com as “talk-training” in which he “instills confidence in men who have trouble talking to women.”
A screenshot from the Wayback Machine from kevinjackaljohnston.com
His Meadowvale family home is mentioned in a 2014 Toronto.com article in relation to a dispute Johnston had with a city bylaw officer over a backyard roller-rink. It appears this dispute was something of an inflection point in Johnston’s life, which he claims inspired him to pursue a life in municipal politics.
Foreshadowing much of what was to come, Toronto.com’s John Stuart also reported that in 2014 Johnston sent a photograph of himself, naked and in blackface, performing a Nazi salute with a picture of Nelson Mandela taped to his genitals, to members of the Peel Region school board, including former board Education Director Tony Pontes.
“I did not keep any record of my dealings with Mr. Johnston,” said Mr. Pontes, pointedly, in response to an inquiry about the communication.
In 2014, Johnston became one of 15 candidates to put their names forward in the race to replace the venerable Hazel McCallion as mayor of Mississauga.
Foreshadowing a pattern of personal intimidations and abuse of court process, Ward 8 Councillor Katie Mahoney called Peel Regional Police after Johnston attended her residence to serve her in connection with a $5 million lawsuit against her husband (and Johnston’s mayoral rival) Steve Mahoney. Also named in that lawsuit was Bonnie Crombie, who wound up winning the election and becoming mayor of Mississauga in 2014.
Mahoney told Mississauga.com that she saw a photo on Johnston's Twitter account which was taken at the front door to her home.
Ultimately, Johnston received 741 votes in the 2014 Mississauga election, finishing third to last, only a few dozen votes behind Neo-Nazi candidate Paul Fromm.
Of course the weirdness didn’t stop there. In 2016 Kevin made a series of videos targeting, of all things, the Ontario Lacrosse Association. The OLA issued a statement distancing itself from an ‘unsanctioned’ “full contact” ‘Kevin J. Johnston Cup’.
The OLA also expressed grave concern that its staff and volunteers had been “subjected to unkind, unfair and deceitful commentary” and formally sanctioned Mr. Johnston for misconduct.
Johnston sued the OLA but a civil court judge rejected Johnston’s statement of claim on the grounds that it was “frivolous and vexatious.”
An authoritative writeup from The Bridge Initiative at Wilfred Laurier details Johnston’s many hate-related activities.
In October 2016, Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie filed a hate-crime complaint with Peel Police after Johnston published an article on his now defunct blog, the Mississauga Gazette.
The article was titled “Bonnie’s Muslims Are Molesting Teenage Girls in Mississauga Highschools,” and it claimed that Crombie favoured integration of Muslims in Mississauga so that “they could kill her son just for being gay.”
Johnston also called federal liberal MP Iqra Khalid a “terrorist scumbag” and expressed a desire that she be “shot by a Canadian patriot.’”
In March 2017, Johnston offered a $1,000 bounty for video recordings of Muslim students praying in Mississauga Schools, Ontario.
In July of the same year, the Peel Regional Police arrested and charged Johnston with wilfully promoting hatred against an identifiable group, citing “multiple incidents” over five months across many online platforms.
In July 2017, following his arrest, Rebel Media founder Ezra Levant interviewed Johnston who claimed Canada would “fall apart if I go to prison.” This is a theory which has been disproven. At the time of this writing, Johnston is presently in custody and previously spent time behind bars in 2020, at Ontario’s Maplehurst prison in relation to a contempt charge.
Ezra Levant being interviewed by Kevin J. Johnston in a video that was posted to Bitchute on June 29, 2018.
In July 2017, Johnston and Canadian anti-Muslim activist Ranendra (Ron) Banerjee recorded themselves during a protest by the anti-Muslim group PEGIDA at Paramount Fine Foods, where a Liberal Party fundraiser was being held. Johnston suggested the Arab-owned business was a front for terrorism and that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau supported this.
The owner of the chain, Mohamad Fakih, filed a claim in July 2017 and sued for defamation. In 2019, Johnston was ordered to pay a $2.5 million dollar judgement to Fakih after being found guilty of defaming the restauranteur.
Also in 2017, Johnston brought a $500,000 statement of claim against a numbered corporation and numerous individuals associated with it, alleging psychological distress and depression as a result of an alleged trespassing incident. Johnston was ordered to pay a $1,000,000 Ontario Superior Court judgment in the lawsuit with the property owners (Poulie et. al). While the lawyer for the property owners did not respond to a request for comment, court records indicate that the Poulie et. al matter was in an Ontario court for a contempt hearing on May 25, 2021.
Johnston ran again for the Mississauga Mayoralty in 2018. A campaign filing shows Johnston spent $8965 on his campaign, and lists no donors or contributors. While he lost again, a surprisingly large number of Mississauga voters (16,079, or roughly 13.5%) voted for him, putting him in second place. Look out, Calgary. It could happen to you.
Kevin vs. Kevin
I first crossed paths with Kevin J. Johnston at the ‘Million Canadian March’ a far right protest held June 3, 2017 at Parliament Hill in Ottawa. Attendance for the event was not quite as advertised—about 996,000 short.
I had been assaulted in Toronto while filming at an anti-Muslim protest three weeks prior. I was in Ottawa to document the protest, but also to discuss the assault with CBC.
As Canadaland noted in their initial coverage of events, Johnston tweeted nine invitations to local antifascist activists to come find him on Friday June 2, He also explicitly ‘dared’ them to come out and fight him.
Johnston's many invitations to "antifa" to come find him that were posted on June 2, 2017.
The morning of June 3, prior to the CBC interview on Parliament Hill, myself and a colleague (Evan Balgord, who would go on to found antihate.ca) entered a diner on Elgin Street for breakfast. As we were paying our bill, I noticed a group had just been seated in a back booth. I approached them, recognizing Kevin J. Johnston, Faith Goldy (failed Rebel Media employee turned failed Toronto mayoral candidate) and others at the table. I greeted them, captured a quick video and left the restaurant. We then headed up Elgin Street to the CBC interview.
Per his own account, Johnston left the diner and attended Confederation Park where he got stuck in with a group of antifascists who were gathering to oppose the far right rally. Johnston and his cameraman Michael McCormick sustained cuts and bruises and allegedly lost a camera. Johnston called the police and reported a knife attack, also claiming that someone had pulled a gun on him, and demanded that the antifascists be arrested.
Ottawa Police obliged him and arrested multiple antifascists for the alleged ‘assault’. Bizarrely, that night, Johnston began a series of livestreamed videos alleging that I had been present for the assault, that I had filmed it, that I was an ‘antifa domestic terrorist,’ a ‘stalker of women,’ a ‘loser’ and that I was somehow involved in an assault on him—which occurred while I was miles away at the CBC studio.
Having become the subject of some weird disinformation simply because I’d become known to him as an opponent, I felt it pretty important to protect my reputation. I sued Johnston for defamation in small claims court with the help of Stephen Ellis, of Ellis Law.
Almost two years later, in 2020, after many delays related to Kevin and his paralegal parting ways and subsequent self-representation, we won a $25,000 default judgement at trial. A bitter Johnston chose not to attend the trial but rather, livestreamed his reaction on Facebook.
Now here it is, 2021 and he’s running for Mayor of Calgary, from inside a cell, no less. In keeping with what I now consider to be my civic duty, I am trying to collect from Mr. Johnston. Once I have acquired a lawyer in Alberta I intend to secure the garnishment of his racist coffee, hats signed by jailbirds, livestream donations and whatever other revenue streams he has in his name.
He just keeps losing
Despite his multiple arrests, detention and near-universal condemnation Johnston is still running for mayor in Calgary, often referring to himself as the mayor-elect. The threats he’s made to Alberta Health Services employees have resulted in Elections Calgary revising its policy about sharing the names and addresses of voters with candidates and AHS has launched a $1.3 million defamation suit against Johnston.
Johnston revels in negative attention and he’s certainly been successful in attracting it. But don’t assume that his unpopularity makes him irrelevant. Remember more than 16,000 Mississaugans voted for this man in 2018. Take it from me, someone who has had to deal with all the unpleasantness this man can muster, up close: the good people of Calgary need to send a message to this loser at the ballot box this fall that Kevin J. Johnston is not welcome in their city.
Kevin Metcalf is a polemicist writing at the intersection of politics, civil society, national security and the far right. You can follow him on Twitter.
Editor's Note: If you'd like to support Kevin's efforts to claim the $25,000 that is owed to him by Kevin J. Johnston there is a GoFundMe you can donate to that will cover legal and bailiff costs.