Right-Wing Extremism in Canada: An Environmental Scan

Barbara Perry

1. Background

In April of 2009, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security released an assessment of right-wing extremism (RWE) aptly entitled Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment. Within months, it had been purged from virtually every intelligence and law enforcement database, a victim of conservative backlash and the related resistance to admit to the presence of right wing activism (Johnson, 2012). A similar reticence pervades the Canadian extremism debates. In fact, at the opening conference for the Kanishka program in 2012, several keynote speakers also denied the presence of any threat from “the right.”

That terrorism associated with right-wing extremists is largely absent from the public agenda in Canada is evident from even a cursory review of the Integrated Terrorism Assessment Centre (ITAC) website, for example. The list of Terrorist Incidents, while international in scope, includes only one right-wing terrorist incident – Anders Breivik’s horrific attacks in Norway in 2011. The list of Terrorist Entities does not include any reference to right-wing-extremist or white-supremacist organizations. Nor do the publications included on the site mention these extremist elements. In contrast, that the extreme right continues to represent a viable and active presence is clear from recent events in Alberta, British Columbia and Quebec, for example, where multiple right wing attacks, demonstrations and prosecutions have been recorded (e.g., Blood and Honour, White Nationalist Front, and PEGIDA) in recent years. The B’Nai Brith’s audits of anti-Semitic activity document white supremacist activity yearly. Moreover, looking to our south, indications from such bodies as the Southern Poverty Law Center are that right wing terrorism and related activities are far more common than those associated with Islamic fundamentalism. Indeed, based on their analysis of the distribution of terrorist activities recorded in the Global Terrorism Database (GTD), Webb and Cutter (2009) conclude that

While many researchers and government officials focus on the transnational threat to the U.S., such as the perpetrators of 9/11, we argue that the historic pattern of terrorist activity in the U.S. is more locally-focused, home grown, and derived from political and social activism by U.S. citizens against other U.S. citizens (p. 448).

Among this home grown threat is right-wing extremism (RWE).

The attacks of September 11, 2001 shifted terrorism from the periphery to the centre of the public consciousness. What had heretofore been restricted to “fringe” groups, or something that happened “over there,” suddenly appeared to be something much larger, much more threatening, and much closer to home. One significant consequence of the 9/11 terrorist attacks is that they drew attention away from the more typical white domestic terrorist – such as Timothy McVeigh and members of right-wing extremist groups. Now the terrorist is defined by his brown skin, and his Muslim religion (Chermak, Freilich, & Simone, 2010; Jaggar, 2005; 2010; Johnson, 2012). Yet it behoves us, in the interests of domestic security, to continue to pay attention to the more traditional form of “home grown” RWE. Right wing extremists continue to represent a distinctive threat to the well being of Canada’s diverse communities. This report aims to paint a picture of the contemporary RWE movement in Canada, providing an analysis of membership, distribution and activities.

1.1 Defining the Right

There is no shortage of efforts to define what is meant by “right wing” extremism. A U.S. team of scholars has adopted a broadly descriptive conceptualization of the term:

We define the American far-right as individuals or groups that subscribe to aspects of the following ideals: They are fiercely nationalistic (as opposed to universal and international in orientation), anti-global, suspicious of centralized federal authority, and reverent of individual liberty (especially their right to own guns, be free of taxes), and they believe in conspiracy theories that involve a grave threat to national sovereignty and/or personal liberty, that one’s personal and/or national “way of life” is under attack and is either already lost or that the threat is imminent (sometimes such beliefs are amorphous and vague, but for some the threat is from a specific ethnic, racial, or religious group), and in the need to be prepared for an attack by participating in paramilitary preparations and training, and survivalism (Adamczyk, Gruenewald, Chermak & Freilich, 2014, p. 327).

This is perhaps an apt characterization of the RWE movement in the U.S., but may not be as useful in the Canadian context. There is much less emphasis here, for example, on gun rights, or survivalism. Other observers have identified key pillars of RWE that likely have more resonance here. Jamin (2013) suggests that the core tenets are a) The valorizing of inequality and hierarchy, especially along racial/ethnic lines b) Ethnic nationalism lined to a mono-racial community c) Radical means to achieve aims and defend the “imagined” community Perlinger’s (2002) list adds some elements:

Finally, Lauder’s (2002) enumeration of core themes includes:

With these frameworks in mind, we suggest that RWE is a loose movement, characterized by a racially, ethnically and sexually defined nationalism. This nationalism is often framed in terms of white power, and is grounded in xenophobic and exclusionary understandings of the perceived threats posed by such groups as non-Whites, Jews, immigrants, homosexuals and feminists. As a pawn of the Jews, the state is perceived to be an illegitimate power serving the interests of all but the White man. To this end, extremists are willing to assume both an offensive and defensive stance in the interests of “preserving” their heritage and their “homeland.”

Different right-wing extremist groups might well emphasize one of these tenets over others, or integrate additional concerns. Thus, their rhetoric and practice may be similarly diverse. As Parent and Ellis (2014) observe, the “movement” can be characterized as a large, loose, heterogeneous collection of groups and individuals espousing a wide range of grievances and positions, including: anti-government/individual sovereignty, racism, fascism, white supremacy/white nationalism, anti-Semitism, nativism/anti-immigration, anti-globalization/anti-free trade, anti-abortion, homophobia, anti-taxation, and pro-militia/pro-gun rights stances (pp. 2-3).

As we discuss below, elements of most – but not all – of these positions are evident within the Canadian RWE “movement.” Before moving to a consideration of the findings of this project, we would like to highlight the frame that has guided the work, as well as the methodologies employed.

1.2 Analytical Framework

In Canada, we have little contemporary social science scholarship on RWE organizations and thus there have been few attempts to methodically and systematically analyze their ideologies and activities. The latest such effort was Kinsella’s Web of Hate, last updated in 2001, however it was more of a journalist description of the movement than an academic analysis. There can be little doubt, then, that a contemporary assessment is needed. The current project offers such an environmental scan, drawing on a framework derived from the work of sociologist Donald Black (2004). Black (2004) has articulated an account of terrorism as a form of social control in response to deviant behaviour. From this perspective, it is “a form of justice pursued by organized civilians who covertly inflict mass violence on other civilians” (Black, 2004, p. 12).

Immediately, this resonates with the motives and intents of organized hate groups, who aim to constrain and punish those who dare to step outside the boundaries of what is deemed their “appropriate” place, defined according to their location on any number of relational hierarchies – race, gender, religion, or sexual orientation for instance (Perry, 2001). Black’s utility does not end there, however. Following from his core definition of terrorism, Black identifies a series of characteristics that can prove valuable in analyzing and describing terrorist groups, including hate groups. Heuristically, the seven derivative elements, identified and described below, provide a useful tool by which to systematically analyze RWE. The framework allows identification of the nature of violence associated with diverse groups (i.e., severity, frequency, visibility), as well as key factors that are likely to contribute to the tendency to engage in violence (e.g., perceived threat/grievance, and organizational capacity of the group).

Black (2004) characterizes the methods of terrorism as recurrent, and typically as highly violent. As Mark Hamm (2007) stresses, it is important to remember that terrorism involves at root criminal events: murder, bombing, hostage taking, etc. In his recent book, Terrorism as Crime, Hamm (2007) unpacks his relatively simple thesis – that terrorism is “ordinary” criminal behaviour, carried out for “extraordinary” purposes. Nonetheless, at its worst, terrorism constitutes mass violence – multiple victims, even into the thousands. Regardless of the nature of their criminal activities, terrorist organizations typically carry out their strategies covertly, whereby they operate underground. Clearly, this is the case for organizations like Al-Qaeda, or the Irish Republican Army (IRA). So, too, does this describe the activities of right wing hate groups. For example, beginning in the 1980s, Louis Beam, a long time Klansman and virulent racist in the United States, was the architect of the militia movement’s strategy of “leaderless resistance,” which was an attempt to enhance the invisibility of white supremacist and anti-state activists. Beam learned from his experiences with the Klan the danger of traditional lines of leadership and communication, wherein the chain of command could be easily be uncovered. “Leaderless resistance,” in contrast, advocates phantom cells and individual action – from like-minded individuals – as a means of defeating state tyranny. This is not to say that such groups are wholly invisible. All too often they crawl out of their dark corners to engage in visible forms of violence, or in very public demonstrations.

The intent of terrorists, regardless of their focus, is to manage or respond to a grievance with aggression” meant to intimidate and instil fear (Black, 2004, p. 10). Violence is thus perpetrated with the aim of terrorizing their targets – individual and collective – into submission. Moreover, this intimidation is not only – or even primarily – targeted at just the immediate victim. Rather, the goal is to terrorize secondary victims, or more broadly, a nation’s people and/or their governing body. Looking at the “work” of terrorists like White Aryan Resistance (WAR), for example, the grievance might be what they perceive as lax immigration law or loss of White male privilege. Regardless, such groups are typically reacting against what they perceive to be threatening behaviour on the part of their victim(s) (i.e., collective liability). Moreover, terrorists are often animated by structurally grounded grievances, derived from an interpretation of a social order as itself illegitimate. Both Christian and Islamic extremists, for example, are waging a battle to “maintain or restore a social order based on the fundamentals of faith, family and community against a rootless world order of abstract markets, mass politics and a debased sacrilegious ‘tolerance’ ” (Rosenfeld, 2004, p. 26).

Typically, terrorists sport membership in identifiable bodies with the “capacity to organize: recruitment, fund-raising, leadership, internal communication, and decision-making” (Oberschall, 2004, p. 28). This accurately describes such “traditional” terrorist groups as Al-Qaeda and the IRA, noted above. These generally have a formalized structure and chain of command, as well as access to material and financial resources that facilitate their operation. So, too, by definition, do organized right-wing extremist groups. The Ku Klux Klan (KKK) is a classic example, having as it does a rigidly structured hierarchy, and depending on the specific clavern, access to substantial financial support. However, there is some evidence that this is becoming less the case as hate groups move toward leaderless cells, or in fact, simply collapse into loosely connected individuals and groups due to their lack of ability to garner resources (Freilich, Chermak & Belli, 2014; Lauder, 2002; Martin, 2008).

While Black’s (2004) model is valuable for assessing factors among group members that might account for their viability and activity, it does not take into account the environment that simultaneously shapes them. Hate does not emerge in a vacuum. Rather, it is embedded within a broader culture that often bestows “permission to hate.” This may be evident in, for example, the activity and inactivity of the state and political actors. When anti-immigrant rhetoric prevails, this sends a message that xenophobia is acceptable. So too does a lack of police response enable hate groups to act with impunity. Moreover, regions that have a history of being “unwelcome” places for racial or ethnic minorities, for example, are also likely to breed contemporary extremists. In such cases, the line between “mainstream” and “extreme” may be very fine.

The purpose of the study is to uncover those factors that shape the development of right wing hate groups, and that make them more or less likely to plan, engage in or incite violence toward targeted objects and communities. Thus, drawing on Black (2004), we seek to identify: a) which groups are amenable to violent activity; b) the nature of such activities (e.g., recurrent, covert/overt, severity of violence); c) endogenous variables most closely associated with group development, sustainability and violence; and d) exogenous variables most closely associated with group development, sustainability and violence. While this is largely exploratory, it is possible to intuit the factors most likely to shape group membership and group or individual violence, such as:

Appendix I provides a tabular summary of the themes, and the related criteria, as well as notes on the relevant nature and sources of data gathered in support of those themes.

1.3 Methodologies

The often-scattered nature of data on right-wing extremist groups requires a multi-faceted approach. Information is fragmentary, and often depends on local resources and capacities for data gathering. Those directly concerned with the policing of extremist activity tend, necessarily, to have a narrow lens that allows them to see the immediate context of their work. They typically have neither the time nor the resources to see how events and activities in their own communities may dovetail with activities elsewhere. Thus, we have a limited national perspective on the threat posed by right-wing extremists in Canada. The sources of intelligence and data for this project are therefore largely localized and time specific. For an academic, in contrast, any incident “has meaning only in relation to its earlier history and its political and cultural context” (Ezekiel & Post, 1991, p. 121). The intent, then, was to engage multiple methodologies that allow us to see the “bigger picture” of the right-wing extremist movement in Canada.

Consequently, the project involved a combination of archival research and primary research. The following means of data gathering were utilized.

2.1 Historical Context

2. Right Wing Extremism in Canada

The 1920s marked the era in which the Ku Klux Klan established its roots in Canada. At the time, three separate Klan organizations emerged: 1) the Ku Klux Klan of Canada; 2) the Kanadian Ku Klux Klan; and 3) the Ku Klux Klan of the British Empire. The Klan’s presence was particularly pronounced in Ontario, British Columbia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan, and they promoted anti-Catholic, anti-immigration, and racial sentiment. Anti-Catholic sentiment was already entrenched in Canada with the presence of the Orange Order, a protestant fraternal organization formed in 1830, and the KKK emerged in areas where the Order was firmly established (Barrett, 1987, p. 21). As such, the Klan’s strength was in western Canada, particularly in Saskatchewan (Kinsella, 2001). At the height of its power in Saskatchewan alone, the Klan boasted of the allegiance of nearly 40,000 members, even joining with that province’s Conservatives to dislodge the Liberal Party (Kinsella, 2001). The Church of the Creator was also founded during this era. Through the movement, founder Ben Klassen promoted his anti-Christian and racist organization from 1925 to 1945 (Michael, 2006).

The Ku Klux Klan’s endeavors were as short-lived as they were dramatic in Canada, and by the 1930s, the group became a fatigued force. As the Klan shrank, a pre-WWII fascist and Nazi movement grew (Barrett, 1987, p. 22), and adding to Jewish concerns was the development of fascist groups across Canada that included the Toronto Swastika Club, the Swastika Association of Canada, the National Social Christian Party, Deutsche Bund, and the Canadian Union of Fascists (Lauder, 2002). In Quebec, Adrien Arcand’s anti-Semitic Parti National Society Chretien enjoyed a great deal of success, and ultimately expanded to Toronto. Under the group name “National Christian Party of Canada” and later known as the National Unity Party, Arcand initially chose John Ross Taylor to lead the Ontario branch. However, he was soon replaced by Joseph Farr, a sergeant major in the British Army and member of the Orange Order (Barrett, 1987). Following World War II, however, the 1940s to 1960s were known as ‘the sanitary decades’ for the right-wing extremist movement in Canada (Raab, 1983, p. 14, as cited in Barrett, 1987). Fascism became a dirty word, as the world had seen enough racism and anti-Semitism (Barrett, 1987, p. 25). Although anti-Semitism declined slightly from the late 1940s through the 1950s and 1960s, Canada experienced a small but steady trickle of organized right wing activity (Lauder, 2002). For example, the Orange Order continued to exist in Canada, but with little clout (Barrett, 1987, p. 25). In 1949, Adrien Arcand attempted to reassert his political power with the “National Unity Party,” but was never successful doing so. Ron Gostick established an Ontario-based anti-Semitic publication, Canadian Intelligence Publications, in the late 1940s, and later created the Christian Action Movement in 1963. John Ross Taylor also created a right wing mail-order business called the Natural Order during this era (Barrett, 1987, p. 25). In Toronto, John Beattie founded the Canadian Nazi Party in 1965. Paul Fromm, Leigh Smith, and Don Andrews established the Edmund Burke Society, which lasted from 1967 to 1972 (Lauder, 2002).

In the 1970s and 1980s, Canada saw an explosion of right-wing extremist activity.

The atrocities of the WWII and Hitler’s anti-Semitism had begun to dim; major changes in Canada’s immigration laws were introduced; and unemployment and inflation were rampant (Barrett, 1987, p. 27). Together, these factors created a powder keg of pent up frustration and anxiety. Influenced by Britain’s far right wing party National Front Political and British white power rock and punk music (i.e., the band Skrewdriver), neo-Nazi skinheads began to appear in the US and Canada in the late 1970s, springing up in numerous urban settings, including Montreal’s east end, Vancouver’s Granville St. Mall and Robson, Edmonton’s Jasper Avenue, and Calgary and Toronto’s downtown area (Young & Craig, 1997). Such skinhead groups included: 1) Longitude 74; 2) the White Federation; 3) the Aryan Resistance Movement (ARM); and 4) the United Skinheads of Montreal (Ross, 1992, p. 96). Furthermore, changing immigration patterns and harsh economic realties in Canada added to the appeal of neo-Nazism, especially for young people (Kinsella, 2001), and amongst the most important organizations to emerge during this time were: 1) the Western Guard; 2) the Nationalist Party; 3) the Ku Klux Klan; 4) Aryan Nations; 5) Concerned Parents of German Descent; 6) Campus Alternative; 7) Alternative Forum; and 8) Citizen for Foreign Aid Reform (C-FAR) (Barrett, 1987, pp. 26-27).

While the KKK remained the grandfather of most modern white supremacist groups in Canada, it was not successful in attracting many new recruits in Canada’s western provinces in the 1970s and 1980s. With the exception of Tearlach Mac a’Phearson and Bill Harcus’s success in the Klan, other groups such as the Aryan Nations and the Heritage Front surpassed the various Klan cells in both membership and visibility (Kinsella, 2001). In the 1970s, the Western Guard, a white supremacist group founded in 1972 and derived from the Edmund Burke Society, was very active, carrying out a series of public attacks and attempts to manipulate public opinion through its propaganda and recorded telephone hate messages (Barrett, 1987; Ross, 1992).

In the 1980s, Aryan Nations, led by Terry Long in Canada, built a training camp in Caroline, AB, bringing together different extremists, as well as staging a major rally and cross burning in Provost, Alberta. Heritage Front, a neo-Nazi white supremacist organization was founded in 1989 by former Nationalist Party of Canada members Wolfgang Droege, Gerry Lincoln, Grant Bristow, and James Dawson, and disbanded in 2005. The group also formed an alliance with World Church of the Creator and its Canadian leader George Burdi, as well as Canadian right wing ideologues Paul Fromm and Ernst Zundel. During the 1980s, the neo-Nazi alternative music scene started to develop, and became visible in Calgary, Toronto, and Ottawa from the 1980s onward (Kinsella, 2001).

Canada continued to see a rise in neo-Nazi activity in the 1990s, particularly around the neo-Nazi skinhead music scene. The birth of the Internet also increased right-wing extremists’ visibility, potential for recruitment, and “lone wolf” and “leaderless resistance” activity from groups such as Combat 18 (C18). In addition, Don Black established Stormfront in 1995, which continues to be one of the most infamous right-wing extremist online communities, featuring news stories, community discussion boards, and scholarship competitions. Such websites and other similar sites provided connections amongst right-wing extremists and groups (Bowman-Grieves, 2009; Chermak, Freilich & Suttmoeller, 2013; De Koster & Houtman, 2008; Levin, 2002).

During this time, the Heritage Front, led by ultra-violent Wolfgang Droege, continued to grow in power, making its mark in urban centres such as Toronto (Kinsella, 2001). In Montreal, various Hammerskin groups, including the Northern Hammerskins and the Vinland Hammerskins made their presence known, engaging in a series of assaults and weapons offenses. George Burdi’s band RaHoWa formed in 1989, and the Canadian branch of the World Church of Creator was heavily involved in the right-wing extremist movement, pushing the white-power music scene across the country (Kinsella, 2001). In 1993, Burdi, who still maintained a close bond with Wolfgang Droege, attempted to advance white-power music by launching Resistance Records. He also organized Church of the Creator paramilitary training with a former member of the Canadian Forces Airborne Regiment (Michael, 2006). In Alberta, Terry Long, leader of the Aryan Nations in Canada, and Kelly Scott Lyle, founder of Calgary’s Final Solution Skinheads, gained media attention in a series of racist activities. Matt McKay, member of the Manitoba Klan and the Final Solution Skinheads in Winnipeg was involved in a murder and a number of assaults, and Carney Nerland of Saskatchewan’s Aryan Nations led the group in a series of violent crimes (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014).

Entering the 21st century, the Ku Klux Klan, Church of the Creator, and skinhead groups such as Aryan Guard/Blood and Honour have maintained their presence in Canada, promoting bigotry, intolerance, and hate-motivated violence. The Aryan Guard/Blood and Honour, however, appear to be the most active and violent group in the current movement. The Aryan Guard, a neo-Nazi group, was founded in Alberta in late 2006, staging counter rallies against anti-racists, disseminating discriminative fliers, and engaging an array of violent activities. Kyle McKee was the founder and spokesperson for the Aryan Guard, and has been arrested and charged numerous times for weapons offenses and violent offences (One People’s Project, 2009). In 2010, two ultra-violent white supremacist groups, Western European Bloodline (WEB) and Blood and Honour, replaced the Aryan Guard. Both groups were allegedly founded by McKee and co-founded by Dallas Price and Robert Reitmeier, two other extremely violent individuals (Jarvies, 2012; One People’s Project, 2011). Blood and Honour members in Vancouver, British Columbia were charged for a series of attacks in 2011, one in which a Filipino man was set on fire (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014). In 2011, Robert Reitmeier and Tyler Sturrup of WEB were charged with second-degree murder in a deadly and brutal attack in Calgary, Alberta (CBC News Calgary, 2011), and four affiliates of Blood and Honour were charged during a sequence of racial assaults in Calgary (Edmonton Sun, 2011).

Additionally, the skinhead movement remains active in parts of Quebec, and includes two types of groups. One branch is known as anarchist skinheads, fighting against fascism, racism, and capitalism, and they have existed predominantly in Montreal since the mid 1990s. The second type, the more extreme of the two, define themselves as nationalists. They promote RWE beliefs and ideals, and engage in an array of criminal activities that revolve largely around the skinhead music scene. Such violent groups include the Dead Boys Crew, Légion Nationaliste, the Quebec Radical, Ragnarok, Ragnarok Vinland, Vinland Front, and the Vinland Warriors (Tanner & Campana, 2014).

2.2 Contemporary Categories of RWE

Three clear classes of right-wing extremists emerged from the research: 1) variants of white supremacists/neo-Nazis; 2) sovereigntists; and 3) what we will frame as “ideologues,” gurus,” and “lone wolves.” This is not to say that there are not other strands of right wing sentiment. There is something here that can be loosely thought of as a “religious right.” Largely evangelical in nature, the associated churches and congregants rally around the common foes of feminism, the sexual revolution, abortion and homosexuality. Marci McDonald (2010) chronicled the creeping rise of religious right in Canada, arguing that they have been “emboldened” by a broader turn to the right in federal politics.

The religious right finds its voice in the context of particular single issues. Across parts of Western Canada, in particular, the home-schoolers movement is frequently associated with Christian fundamentalism (Basham, Merrifield, & Hepburn, 2007). This faction is most renowned for their resistance to educational reforms that would have required them to explicitly address human rights issues in their curriculum. The West is also a strong base for a viable anti-abortion/pro-life faction, largely grounded in fundamentalist visions of morality and gender roles (Williams, 2015). However, they have not been associated with violence since the beginning of the millennium. There is also a strong thread of homophobia across the country, but it hardly reflects any organizational footing outside of particular churches. Trinity Western University, for example, has come under fire for its proscription against same sex relationships.

There are also movements where the two themes come together, in fact decrying any and all “subversions” of the proper moral order and gender roles. Donald Andre Bruneau, a self-proclaimed Pro-life advocate, manages the website Aborterrorism.ca, on which he rails equally against abortion, homosexuality – “the gay agenda” – and contraception. Similarly, Human Life International, which has a Canadian presence, has a wide-ranging platform of morality linked to racism, sexism and homophobia. A Catholics for Choice (2011) report alleges a history of abuse and incitement to violence grounded in an array of exclusionary tenets, including concerns that Asians, Latinos and Muslims will overrun the world; proclaiming that Jews were responsible for abortions worldwide; labeling homosexuality and feminism as degraded and satanic, respectively; and condemning black leaders in the anti-apartheid movement (pp. 1-2).

Reminiscent of the nativist movements of the 1920s, anti-immigrant groups are also beginning to emerge in Canada. Perhaps emboldened by recent federal shifts in immigration rhetoric and practice, bodies like Immigration Watch Canada (IWC) have been very active. One of the Greater Toronto Area’s (GTA) most diverse communities – Brampton, ON – was host to a campaign of hate, characterized by pamphleting and flyer posting. One such poster featured an old photo of a group of White people, presumably dating from the early part of the twentieth century, alongside a current photo of a group of Sikhs. The caption asks “Is This What You Really Want?” referring to Canada’s history of immigration as a “social engineering experiment,” IWC calls for Euro-Canadians to take back “their” country (http://www.immigrationwatchcanada.org). While offensive and hurtful, however, there does not seem to be any indication that IWC intends to cross the line into violence any time soon.

Notwithstanding the individuals profiled below, these right wing elements noted above do not tend to rise to the threshold of what might be considered serious threats, either numerically or otherwise; nor are they generally on the radar of law enforcement or intelligence communities. In contrast, white supremacists, sovereigntists, and right wing ideologues are worthy of attention, either because of their direct involvement in criminality and extremist violence, or the indirect impact of their discourse on others.

White Supremacists/Neo-Nazis

By far the most commonly noted category of RWE is that associated with neo-Nazism or white supremacy. The anti-Semitism and racism that characterize so many hate groups – and not just the Identity Churches – can be traced to the theocratic principle of Christian Identity. On the basis of a creative reading of biblical scripture, those advocating this perspective claim the White race to be the direct descendants of Ancient Israel, and therefore God’s chosen people:

WE BELIEVE that Adam, man of Genesis, is the placing of the White Race upon this earth. Not all races descend from Adam. Adam is the father of the White Race only (Aryan Nations, online).

Consequently, only the “White Race” is truly blessed and thereby part of God’s Kingdom in Heaven. Frequent references are made to the assurances by God’s law and natural law that the White race is the covenant race, and therefore to be jealously protected.

The World Church of the Creator (online) reminds its followers that what is good for the White Race is the highest virtue, and what is bad for the White Race is the ultimate sin. We have come to hold these views by observing the Eternal Laws of Nature... The highest Law of Nature is the survival of one’s own kind... It is therefore logical and sensical (sic) to place supreme importance upon the Race and to reject all ideas which fail to do so.

In contrast to the glorification of the White race, Jews are seen to be the source of all evil, spawned as they are by the Devil himself:

WE BELIEVE that there are literal children of Satan in this world today... WE BELIEVE that the Canaanite Jew is the natural enemy of our Aryan (White) Race. The Jew is like a destroying virus that attacks our racial body to destroy our Aryan culture and the purity of our race (Aryan Nations, online).

Kyle McKee, leader of Blood and Honour in Canada, made the following statement about Jews on Stormfront in 2007:

The jews do alot more behind the sceans and I would almost belive that the jews would try and push the idea that these other races are the ones that need to be delt with first. But the thing is that these other races only are what they are they for the most part are not bright enough to master mind the destruction of a race. they are like rats the are all running out of this hole on the deck of your boat, now you can try and catch them all and trow them over board or you can try and stop the flooding that they are all runing from and I’ll bet if you stop the flood then you’ll find that the flood was caused by some termights/jews. When people find this out we can get out the pest control (Anti-Racist Canada, 2007).

A natural extension of Christian Identity ideology is that of white supremacy. Whether God-given or biologically derived, the White race is deemed inherently superior to all others. The creation of race categories and valuations represents a means of identity construction for both Whites and other races. Race is seen as an “essence” which carries with it inherent differences between groups, differences which are claimed as justification for “natural” hierarchies. The National Alliance (online) summary statement of beliefs makes this apparent:

We see ourselves as part of Nature, subject to Nature’s law. We recognize the inequalities which arise as natural consequences of the evolutionary process... We accept our responsibilities as Aryan men and women to strive for the advancement of our race in the service of Life.

They go on to state that

(O)ur world is hierarchical. Each of us is a member of the Aryan (European) race, which, like other races, developed its special characteristics over many thousands of years during which natural selection not only adapted it to its environment but also advanced it along its evolutionary path.

A similar claim is made by the longest-lived white supremacist group, the Ku Klux Klan (KKK):

Our main and fundamental objective is the Maintenance of the Supremacy of the White Race in this Republic. History and physiology teach us that we belong to a race which nature has endowed with an evident superiority over all other races, and that the Maker in thus elevating us above the common standard of human creation has intended to give us over inferior races a domination from which no human laws can permanently derogate (cited in Sapp, Holden & Wiggins, 1991, pp. 123-124).

Canadian Stormfront member, Skogarmadur, posted his thoughts on mixing races in 2007:

Race Mixing is treason - I myself believe that in the future once a National Socialist government is put into play any sort of interracial “affairs” should be considered treason. And treason should be treated with the death penalty. Not only is it betraying your race and kin, but it is ruining the future of the white race and if people continue to do so it will be the bringer of destruction of all that is Aryan blood (Anti-Racist Canada, 2007).

Inevitably, the White race is presumed to be at the top of this hierarchy, followed by the Jews and the “mud-people,” (i.e., people of colour). Blacks are typically placed on the lowest level. Ultimately, the ideology of white supremacy seeks to restore the White privilege that right-wing extremists claim has been lost.

In certain regions of the country, specifically Quebec and the Western provinces, the right-wing extremist movement takes particular aim against Aboriginal communities. Collectively, anti-Aboriginal groups and individuals foment hostility toward Canada’s First Nations people, by claiming that tribal bodies exploit “public sympathies” and “historical White guilt” in an effort to gain access to natural resources, including water, wildlife, fish and especially land. Ostensibly premised on the notion of “equal rights for all,” these arms of the right wing movement deny the legitimacy of Aboriginal rights claims.

Unfortunately, the posture of entitlement recently taken by First Nations activists in places like Caledonia and Oka are often seen as an affront to White dominance, in that the activists are perceived to be violating the anticipated rules of behaviour – that is, the rules of Canadian apartheid. Instead of accepting their subordination, they resist it. In such a context, incidents of racial violence may escalate in retaliation. To paraphrase, the only good Indian is a quiet Indian. Should they step outside the permissible boundaries that define “a good Indian,” they become vulnerable to reactionary violence.

Significantly, anti-Aboriginal actors often posit competing nationalisms – White Canadian vs. Aboriginal – in ways that demonize the latter as “freeloaders” and exploitative. Gary McHale founded Canadian Advocates for Charter Equality (CANACE), in large part, to challenge Aboriginal rights. His rhetoric revolves around such themes as “native lawlessness,” “land claim terrorism,” and “race-based policing” – by which they mean, ironically, “excessive” policing of those who threaten or attack Aboriginals (http://joincanace.wordpress.com/about-2/). Consequently, anti-Native groups have engaged in quite tangible violations of human rights, through ongoing harassment and violence against Aboriginal people. This is a continuation of the historical legacy by which Aboriginals are kept “in their place.”

Paper Terrorists? Sovereigntists/Freemen

No better source of information on the sovereigntist movement in Canada can be found than that delivered in Associate Chief Justice Rooke’s decision in Mead v. Mead. In his decision, Rooke, in fact, coins a phrase, labeling them as Organized Pseudolegal Commercial Argument litigants (OPCA). Alternatively, he refers to the loose collection of individuals and small cells as “vexatious litigants.” Rooke also highlights the heterogeneity of these followers, observing that they do not express any stereotypic beliefs other than a general rejection of court and state authority; nor do they fall into any common social or professional association. Arguments and claims of this nature emerge in all kinds of legal proceedings and all levels of Courts and tribunals. This group is unified by:

The decision provides important insight into the diverse nature of the sovereigntist movement in Canada, identifying five core parts of the movement: 1) Detaxers; 2) Freemen or Freemen-on-the-Land; 3) Sovereign Men or Sovereign Citizens; 4) Church of the Ecumenical Redemption International (CERI); and 5) Moorish Law.

While each of these has a slightly unique focus, the core that holds them together is the rejection of the authority of the federal state. They are bound, they say, only by the principles of “natural law,” not human law. In a rambling statement of obligations The FreeMan Society of Canada, for example, urges members and prospective members To maintain a non-consent posture as to the Governments Rule - Powers, to Judge, question, approach, demand, any reasons, answers to your Decision to Claim your Rights, under and on behalf of, for the Purpose to Maintain Self Rule Under, on behalf of all members and families of The FreeMan Society of Canada to promote freedom, truth, peace and abundance in Common Law Jurisdiction. Which makes you Free Men on the Land, and not Subjected to any --Statues, Bylaws, Rules of any Governments of Canada or Agencies there in (http://freemansocietyofcanada.webs.com/).

The movement is largely decentralized, eschewing the recreation of bureaucratic hierarchies. Nonetheless, there are what Rooke calls “gurus” who provide the inspiration and rhetoric. Robert Menard – profiled elsewhere in this report – has been one of the leading spokespersons of the movement since the early 2000s. Founder of the World Freeman Society, Menard has travelled the country hosting public seminars, and touting his “instructional” videos.

Ideologues, Gurus and Lone Wolves Not all extremists are explicitly affiliated with particular groups. Nonetheless, they contribute extensively to the “movement,” especially in terms of providing ideological fodder on which others may feed. Some – like Paul Fromm – do not claim membership in extant right wing groups but are known to associate with them, attending their rallies or other public events. In addition, there is what might be described as lone wolves who independently feed their hunger for extreme right wing rhetoric by attending to related websites, or collecting propaganda, for example. The following are examples of some of the more visible individual actors; more can be found in Appendix III.


The right wing – just like left wing - plays out along a continuum of belief and action. As suggested by the definitions offered above, there can be wide variation in the focus of different adherents ideological worldviews. So, too, is there considerable difference in the ways in which they may be engaged with right ring extremism, either informing, or being informed by it. The ideologues we note at the outset often eschew – or profess to – direct membership in RWE groups. Nonetheless, they serve to provide the intellectual underpinnings and conceptual tools that are taken up by others who may be more explicitly involved in RWE groups and RWE violence.


There are also arrays of Canadian RWE activists who seek to lead the movement toward greater visibility and resonance with the broader public. These are often people who take to the stage and the airwaves to freely share their condemnation of all that they see as wrong about contemporary Canada: immigration, multiculturalism, government regulation, etc. Like the ideologues, they provide rhetorical fodder for the movement, but are much more directly engaged with it. They often provide the guidance and mentorship that young, emerging local leaders seek.

Lone Wolves

Increasing attention is being paid to lone wolf extremists of all stripes. Hoffman (2003) remarks that

Increasingly, lone individuals with no connection with or formal ties to established or identifiable terrorist organizations are rising up to engage in violence. These individuals are often inspired or motivated by some larger political movement that they are not actually a part of, but nonetheless draw spiritual and emotional sustenance and support from. Indeed, over the past 10 years or so – with the exception of the two World Trade Center attacks and that on the Pentagon – all of the most significant terrorist incidents that occurred in the United States were perpetrated either by a lone individual or very tight two-or three-man conspiratorial cells (p. 17).

Similarly, The Toronto Star (2015) recently reported on internal CSIS documents that suggested, in fact that RWE lone wolves represented a more pressing threat than did Islamic radicals in this country. However, we are only just beginning to come to terms with the nature and potential of these extremists. There is considerable debate as to how closely these actors are to organized groups (Gruenewald, Chermak & Freilich, 2013). Moreover, the breadth of the notion of “lone” actor is debatable, as some would argue that the trio suspected of a Halifax mall shooting plot in February 2015 might loosely be described as a small “pack” of lone wolves (Hoffman, 2003).

By their very nature, lone wolf actors are difficult to identify until they act on their radicalized beliefs. In the Canadian context, it is chilling to note that perhaps the most infamous contemporary right wing lone wolf actor – Anders Breivik – made frequent references to Canada in his online manifesto. Some of the notes were critical (e.g., sexual immorality); some were laudatory (increasing social conservatism (Toronto Star, 2011). Our most recent home grown and notorious RWE lone wolves are Justin Bourque and Norman Raddatz.

2.3 Distribution of Right Wing Extremist Groups

The findings of this project highlight the importance of examining the right-wing extremist movement on a national rather than local scale. Locally, participants generally had some sense of the level of right-wing extremist activity in their communities or their regions. Few people were able to comment on the national or even provincial distribution of related groups. In short, they were unable to identify anything that might be characterized as a “movement.” The necessarily myopic perspective had barred them from seeing the bigger picture. It is when we look at the cumulative data that we can see that the presence of right-wing extremist activists is much more diffuse and that they are much more numerous than any of the participants thought to be the case. Drawing on the expertise of those in the field, media reports, and social media activity, we are able to provide broad estimates of activity coast to coast, as illustrated in Table

1. We suggest that these are probably very conservative estimates.

Table 1: Distribution of Right Wing Extremist Groups3

Distribution of Right Wing Extremist Groups

Region Estimated number of groups Estimated number of members per group Target Community Freemen/Sovereigntists?
Maritimes 6–8 10–15 Aboriginal Black Limited
Quebec 20–25 15–25 to 80–100 Aboriginal Jewish Immigrant Muslim LGBTQ Yes
Ontario 18–20 3–5 to 15–25 Aboriginal Black Jewish Immigrant Muslim LGBTQ Yes
Manitoba 8–10 5–10 Aboriginal Black Limited
Saskatchewan 6–8 5–10 to 40–50 Aboriginal Immigrant Limited
Alberta 12–15 10–15 Aboriginal Black Jewish Immigrant Muslim Asian LGBTQ Yes
British Columbia 12–15 5-10 Aboriginal Black Jewish Immigrant Muslim Asian LGBTQ Yes
Total 82–101

The data might not give cause for concern at the provincial level – after all, there are some regions, such as the Maritimes collectively, that see very little activity. However, in light of the connectivity among groups nationally that we discuss in a subsequent section, the combined significance of the findings are cause for concern.

The collated data suggest the presence of at least 100 white supremacist/neo-Nazi groups across the country. Some suggest a further 30,000 “sovereign citizens” who are even more difficult to count (CSIS, 2012; Law Society of British Columbia, 2012). What these numbers cannot account for are those who have been driven underground and remain off of the radar, or those lone wolves that may not be visible at all.

2.4 Nature and Threat of Violence

We were also able to piece together a picture of the nature of the violence associated with Canadian right-wing extremists. It is relatively consistent across the country. It tends to involve sporadic, largely unplanned and opportunistic attacks. The perpetrators would say that it is reactive violence – that they were provoked by the behaviours or speech of their victims. Right wing extremist violence in Canada, then, does not much resemble its counterpart in the U.S. or in Europe, where it can be highly methodical and well planned. Moreover, it tends to be individualistic rather than collective. Both the perpetrators and the intended targets are individuals, or small groups of 2-4 for the most part. Rare are the sorts of conspiracies like those uncovered in the U.S., where plans are laid to bomb or burn synagogues, or mosques, for example. However, this is not to say that there is no threat. While RWE in Canada does not presently involve mass violence, it is nonetheless part of the fabric of the lives of its diverse targets. It is a consistent threat of which Canada’s diverse communities are very much aware (Perry & Alvi, 2011). Moreover, the very unpredictability of violence here may make it all the more disturbing. It is difficult to assess precisely when an attack might occur, or what might motivate it. It is especially challenging, then, to anticipate or counter the violence. In addition, online messaging on web forums such as Stormfront does tend to highlight violent responses to perceived threats, so the potential is very real.

It is important to distinguish between the types of criminality and violence in which right-wing extremists engage. As a meta-analysis by Gruenewald, Freilich, and Chermak (2009) reveals, RWE are typically involved in a broad array of crimes including violent and non-violent crimes, and ideological and non-ideological crimes. In the current study, we found that, generally speaking, the criminality of RWE individuals and groups fall into 3 camps: 1) non-violent crime; 2) criminal violence; and 3) extremist violence. Largely as a result of their connections to criminal groups and organizations (discussed more fully below), some RWE groups engage in profit-motivated crimes – drug dealing, in particular. This was the case with the White Boys Posse in Alberta, for example. Established as a neo-Nazi group, the members drifted into drug dealing, and in fact ultimately transitioned into what is allegedly a drug gang. There are also occasional forays into armed robbery, as was the case for alleged neo-Nazis Ian Michael Butz, 28, and his brother Jason Avery Butz, 26, who were charged with two counts of armed robbery at a gas station in Peace River, BC in 2011 (CBC News British Columbia, 2013).

More common were forms of criminal violence. Typically, the violence involves brutal beatings, with fists, boots, baseball bats and other similar weapons. Knives are occasionally wielded, while guns are rare. There have been a few recent cases involving pipe bombs and arson. For example, in 2009, in Fort St. John, BC, Peter Houston, known for his involvement in the Canadian racist movement, was convicted of building a potentially deadly pipe bomb that was planted in a highway restroom in northeastern (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014; CBC News British Columbia, 2009). Arson was among the charges against Tony Laviolette, a 19-year-old neo-Nazi who was convicted in Charlottetown in 2007 for setting fire to a building and a vacant home, and for three break and enters, including one at a skating rink which he vandalized with a swastika and racial slurs (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014; CBC News, 2007b; Mayne, 2007).

A considerable amount of the violence that RWE individuals and groups engage in seems to be unrelated to their ideological positions. Rather, it is random brutality, apparently for its own sake. A case in 2010 in Calgary saw 55-year old Dave Burns – known as “The Nazi” and white supremacist around his office – walked into his workplace and started shooting, killing a co-worker and himself. No ideological motive for the attack was reported (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014; CBC News Edmonton, 2010). Apparently even more common is retaliatory violence within or across RWE groups, as in Calgary in 2009, when Tyler Sturrup, a member of Western European Bloodlines (WEB), and Carolyne Kwatiek, a white nationalist, were targets of two homemade pipe bombs allegedly planted by 17-year-old Aryan Guard founder Kyle McKee (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014; Canoe.ca, 2010). Similarly, Jessie Lajoie, a former Aryan Guard member, was charged with aggravated assault, disguise with intent, and conspiracy for his alleged attack on a victim presumed to be affiliated with Blood and Honour, in 2013 in Kitchener, ON.

However, most disturbing – and relevant here – is the violence targeting racialized, religious and gender minorities. Extremist violence is widespread, with particular concentration in Alberta, southern BC, and western Ontario. It is puzzling, then, that so little attention is paid to the patterns of RWE violence. As Vidhya Ramalingham (2014) of the Institute for Strategic Dialogue asserts,

While high-profile and high-impact events hit the headlines, the bulk of the threat posed by the far right is felt through smaller-scale localized harassment, bullying and hate crime by extremists targeting minority communities. These kinds of incidences often go undetected, and indeed they are hard to quantify. They manifest in the sectioning off of some local areas as no-go zones for ethnic minorities, graffiti or far-right symbols on mosques and synagogues, or threats received by individual members of the community (p. 4).

There is some variability in the targets of right-wing extremist violence. In line with the prevailing Christian Identity influence, the targets of both verbal and physical attacks are predominantly Muslims, Jews and people of colour, Afro-Canadians, Asians, and South Asians especially. In the Western provinces, Aboriginal individuals and communities are common targets. In all areas, members of LGBTQ communities may also be at risk. An extensive list of such incidents is included in Appendix IV; we offer just one illustrative example here. In 2008, a 17-year-old Aryan Guard member attacked a 26-year-old Japanese woman in Calgary. The youth first made disparaging comments about Asians, and then followed Okazaki as she left a bar, dropkicking her in the back of the head with steel toed boots, and continuing to kick her after she hit the ground (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014; Calgary Herald, 2009).

What is especially noteworthy is that there are several instances of “campaigns” of extremist violence targeting particular communities. St. John, NB was the site of several attacks against Chinese students in 2007. Initially, four students were attacked with baseball bats and wooden sticks. Days later, two more Chinese students were attacked, and a bus stop was spray-painted with the words, “Gooks go home.” The assaults and vandalism took place in the same neighbourhood where Chinese students were attacked with eggs, ice, and fireworks two years prior. A 19-year old male and two youth with neo-Nazi affiliations were charged with the 2007 assaults (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014; Canwest News Service, 2007). A similar spree of racially targeted violence was reported in Montreal in 2008, when neo-Nazi Julien-Alexandre LeClerc, 20, and a male youth attacked several people in a series of racially motivated assaults, first against a group of Arab men. After stabbing two of them, the offenders continued by insulting and assaulting two successive cab drivers, one Haitian and one of Arab descent (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014; CTVMontreal.ca, 2011).

Aside from identifiable minority groups, two other groups are vulnerable to right wing violence: those involved in anti-racist organizing, and law enforcement officers. Anti-Racist Canada activists Bonnie Collins and Jason Devine have been singled out on several occasions (see Appendix IV). Law enforcement officials, on the other hand, are especially likely to encounter aggressive postures taken by sovereigntists. Movement adherents in Canada have not yet risen to the level of violence seen in the U.S., where six police officers have been killed by sovereign citizens (Law Society of British Columbia, 2012). Nonetheless, an RCMP spokeswoman is quoted in the Huffington Post saying that Individuals associated to this movement are a concern because some followers advocate violence to promote their views and this may involve violence toward police officers. There are officer safety concerns when dealing with followers of this movement during routine police interaction (Moore, 2013).

The same article refers to a series of “hard take-downs” in British Columbia. A case that made it to the courts involves Daren Wayne McCormick, who was convicted in Nova Scotia for uttering threats toward officers. His argument was that, as a Freeman on the Land, he’d freed himself of the Criminal Code and federal gun laws was soundly rejected by the court (Moore, 2013).

Returning to the analytical frame introduced earlier in this report, it is possible to categorize the activities and organizational strategies of Canada’s right-wing extremists in the manner suggested in Table 2. In the remainder of the report, we will unpack some of the key endogenous and exogenous factors that both inhibit and facilitate the development of and propensity for violence associated with Canada’s right-wing extremist movement, ending with a discussion of strategies to defuse RWE in Canada.

Table 2: Applying Black’s Framework




Methods of



Violence is individualized rather than collective in terms of both perpetrator and target.

There have been periodic flurries of extremist violence, covering the span of several days and targeting multiple random victims, perpetrated by small groups of those affiliated with WS/NN groups; also ongoing campaigns directed toward specific people/sites, including anti-racist activists.

Online discussions/comments often refer to violence, forcible elimination of “threat,” RAHOWA” (RAcial HOly WAr), or “the final solution.” Violence is unpredictable, often opportunistic and fueled by alcohol.

When it occurs, violence is extreme, typically involving the use of fists, boots, bats, but

Methods of


Methods: mass violence;

extreme violence

Violence is individualized rather than collective in terms of both perpetrator and target.

There have been periodic flurries of extremist violence, covering the span of several days and targeting multiple random victims, perpetrated by small groups of those affiliated with WS/NN groups; also ongoing campaigns directed toward specific people/sites, including anti-racist activists. Online discussions/comments often refer to violence, forcible elimination of “threat,” RAHOWA” (RAcial HOly WAr), or “the final solution.”

Violence is unpredictable, often opportunistic

and fueled by alcohol.

When it occurs, violence is extreme, typically involving the use of fists, boots, bats, but

Methods of



Violence is individualized rather than collective in terms of both perpetrator and target.

There have been periodic flurries of extremist violence, covering the span of several days and targeting multiple random victims,

perpetrated by small groups of those affiliated with WS/NN groups; also ongoing campaigns directed toward specific people/sites,

including anti-racist activists.

Online discussions/comments often refer to violence, forcible elimination of “threat,” RAHOWA” (RAcial HOly WAr), or “the final solution.”

Violence is unpredictable, often opportunistic

and fueled by alcohol.

When it occurs, violence is extreme, typically involving the use of fists, boots, bats, but


rarely firearms.

Because victims are targeted due to identity, and because of the nature of the violence, it has a dramatic impact on individuals and their communities of reference.

Objects or Targets

Standard of collective liability

White supremacists generally target racial and ethnic minority groups, Jews, and immigrants, although members of he LGBTQ communities may also be victimized.

Can vary regionally, with Aboriginal communities especially targeted in western provinces, Muslims in Quebec, Asians in GTA and British Columbia.

Nature of threat is not always well articulated, but rather amorphous, referring to need to preserve “heritage” or “homeland.”

In Quebec, threat is defined along lines of cultural nationalism.

Anti-Fascist movement also targeted, especially in Quebec.

Objects or Targets

Nature of “Grievance”

White supremacists generally target racial and ethnic minority groups, Jews, and immigrants, although members of he LGBTQ communities may also be victimized.

Can vary regionally, with Aboriginal communities especially targeted in western provinces, Muslims in Quebec, Asians in GTA and British Columbia.

Nature of threat is not always well articulated, but rather amorphous, referring to need to preserve “heritage” or “homeland.”

In Quebec, threat is defined along lines of cultural nationalism.

Anti-Fascist movement also targeted, especially in Quebec.

Agents of


Capacity to Organize

Generally described as working “under-ground;” groups are aware of police surveillance/activity and so avoid detection. Generally described as weakly organized, or decidedly unorganized; leadership is weak and transitory.

Some history of mobility/transience, especially when law enforcement has made for a “hot” climate.

Groups are often linked to others, such as international/American/British right wing groups, bikers, drug gangs.

Agents of


Covert/Overt Activity

Generally described as working “under-ground;” groups are aware of police surveillance/activity and so avoid detection. Generally described as weakly organized, or decidedly unorganized; leadership is weak and transitory.

Some history of mobility/transience, especially when law enforcement has made for a “hot” climate.

Groups are often linked to others, such as international/American/British right wing groups, bikers, drug gangs.


Racist/anti-racist environment

Hostile political rhetoric may well “embolden” right-wing extremists.

Histories of exclusion play into contemporary climate for hate.

Visible law enforcement presence key to countering right-wing extremists, as are visible and vocal counter-discourses from rights based groups.

Multi-sectorial collaboration strengthens reactions against RWE.

These data warrant closer attention being paid to RWE in Canada. They suggest that the movement is active, and is engaged in violent, targeted activities. The threat is not negligible. Ironically, Public Safety’s (2013) 2013 Public Report on the Terrorist Threat to Canada stated that no attacks by Muslim extremists occurred in Canada in 2012 (or any other year); nor have any Canadians been killed on domestic soil by Al-Qaida or similar extremists. Nonetheless, the report warned that “homegrown violent extremists still pose a threat of terrorist attack in North America.” The report also goes on to say the “homegrown violent extremism can be based on other causes” – aside from the Al Qaida influences – “ but is more limited in scope and scale than the activities of terrorist entities listed under the Criminal Code.” While this may be the case globally, the opposite is true in Canada. Extreme right wing adherents have been responsible for ongoing domestic violence, including arson, assault and homicide. Yet the threat is dismissed out of hand, thereby running counter to available evidence. The fact that the violence is perhaps more spontaneous does not make it any less dangerous. Indeed, several participants suggested that the unpredictability of right-wing extremist violence is itself troubling.

3. Right Wing Extremist Group (Dis)Organization

3.1 Endogenous Facilitating Factors

Like-Minded Others How do potential RWE adherents find their way to the movement? Interestingly, those right wing activists surveyed by Dr. Abbee Corb generally indicated that they were very likely to have been lured into the movement by people they knew personally. This is supported by the observations of other key informants in the study. Group members were often friends or associates – sometimes even relatives – prior to joining. They were thus encouraged by people they knew and presumably trusted, to enter the movement. This may, in part, account for the apparent clustering of groups in particular areas, such as London, Ontario, or Calgary, Alberta.

There is also evidence of explicit recruitment initiatives in some communities.

This typically takes the form of leafleting in and around schools and universities. The posters or leaflets generally include messages that “explain” the apparent loss of White privilege – immigration, civil rights advances, etc. For example, The National Socialist Party of Canada takes aim at both Jews and “their” policies of multiculturalism in its materials. One flyer contains the following call to arms:


In the past, Canada was a White nation. Apart from the native Indians, who lived here prior to the coming of the White Man, almost no one in Canada was non-White. But in the 1960s and 1970s this began to change. We should ask why. Who benefited from this change?

There is one group which has always promoted multiracial societies and the breaking down of all national and ethnic distinctions. That group is the Jews. They have been despised and rejected in every country they have lived in for centuries past. Their solution to that problem has been to displace and marginalize the host population with other “visible minorities” whom they can manipulate in opposition to the host population. In a divided land the most cohesive group will rule and the Jews are very cohesive when they view their collective interests are at stake. Their solution makes our country more comfortable to them but not to us. BUT, they don’t give a damn about us or even the hordes of non-Whites they import to drown us in a brown swamp of third world biomass. They only care about themselves. They are nation wreckers and have been for centuries!

Multiculturalism is the displacement, marginalization, and eventual destruction of the host population – The White Race!!! (emphasis in original, National Socialist Party of Canada, http://nspcanada.nfshost.com).

In the early 2000s, Alberta right wing activists targeted disaffected Ontarians, promising subsidies for rent and travel should they join the movement in that western province. This is perhaps the most concentrated recruitment effort, and met with some limited success.

Recent years have also seen other “street level” attempts by localized right-wing extremist groups to render themselves visible. Marches and demonstrations have occurred in a number of cities in recent years, including Montreal, London, Hamilton, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver. However, these tend to be small and low key. Moreover, the racists are often out-numbered by their opponents, including members of Anti-Racist Canada (ARC) and Anti-Racist Action (ARA). Quebec’s Legionne Nationale goes so far as to hold “information days” at which they share their convictions around the need to protect distinctly Quebecois culture, language, and traditions.

Moreover, many of those “like minded” individuals in the RWE movement share another significant trait: the propensity for violence. Membership in the RWE movement does not make people violent. They typically entered with a lengthy history of violence prior to their membership, as some of the records reflected in Appendix IV suggest. Thus, some are drawn to a group because they see it as an outlet for their violent tendencies. Many of the activists who were known to police had official and unofficial records of violent crime – “acting out,” as one officer euphemistically termed it. Their past offences covered the gamut from threat, to harassment to violence – some bias motivated, but by no means all.

Robert Reitmeier, co-founder of Western European Brotherhood (WEB), for example, has a lengthy history of violent activity. His most recent arrest in 2011 was for a brutal homicide that did not appear to be hate-related. With this sort of profile, it is perhaps not surprising that such figures are attracted to the right-wing extremist movement, with its inherently violent rhetoric. In British Columbia, indications are that actors are also exploiting this tendency by engaging with the Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) culture. Key informants there noted the extent to which MMA had become a rallying point for a number of right-wing extremists, providing both an outlet and training grounds for violence. Another medium that highlights this violent underpinning is white-power music.

Music as a Recruitment Tool

White-power music has long been a powerful recruitment and retention tool among supremacists, in particular. And in fact, Canada was once the site of one of the most successful music distributors – Resistance Records. The enterprise was founded by Ontario native George Burdi who was at the time a member of the World Church of the Creator, and part of the band RAHOWA. Under the threat of Canadian propaganda laws, Resistance Records ceased to operate in Canada, but sprang up again in the U.S. However, thanks to the Internet, hate music circulates freely on right-wing extremist sites, but also on YouTube and other similar media.

Quebec appears to be the current centre of the white-power music scene. Tanner and Campana’s (2014) recent exploration of the skinhead movement in Quebec identified at least 19 skinhead music crews – however, one of their informants indicated that there could be as many as 45 crews in Quebec City alone. The highest profile bands appear to be Quebec Stompers (Quebec City), Nouvelle France Skinhead, Section de Guerre (Montreal), and Coup de Masse (Montreal).

There is a certain appeal to the music that is so readily available. For youth drawn to heavy metal music, the sound is powerful and stimulating. Often, the lyrics are unintelligible given the gravelly voices and pounding rhythm. It is the latter that may initially draw listeners in. It is only when they finally chance upon songs in which the words can be heard that the message becomes clear. These, too, have some cache among disenfranchised youth looking for “answers” to their own problems. As many participants in the study suggested, the rhetoric of the hate movement provides a ready account of who is to blame for the lack of success of young White men: it is the Jews, the liberal state, immigrants. Anyone but the individual. As a rousing conduit for the ideologies of racism, or xenophobia, then, music has tremendous capacity to bring people into the movement.

Use of/Facility with Internet

The reach of these recruitment tools is, of course, enhanced by ready access to the Internet. Indeed, right-wing extremists have long been masters at exploiting the potential inherent in that medium. We noted at the outset of this section that many people are drawn into the movement by virtue of knowing someone else who is already a member, or at least a sympathizer. However, there has been a notable increase of online hate groups and cyberhate related activities on the Internet. Vilified people and groups are targeted directly through text messages, emails, blogs etc., often containing malicious threats, or indirectly in forums, virtual communities or chat groups.

For many who may encounter these webpages, the ideas and images are antithetical to their understanding of Western ideals of democracy and equality. As such, they are quickly dismissed. Yet for others, they reinforce or implant intolerance and hostility. Indeed, they become the basis for developing a “virtual community.” If by community we mean “networks of interpersonal ties that provide sociability, support, information, a sense of belonging, and social identity” (Wellman, as cited in Castells, 2001, p. 127), then the Internet enables the process. For members of the right wing hate movement, “support” is offered to the extent that users typically find their views reinforced and mirrored by others, rather than challenged by anti-racist sentiments.

Sociability is similarly important in so much as users find themselves able to freely communicate racist, or sexist, or other sorts of views that might be unpalatable in other contexts. That said, there are multiple e-venues that users can access for purely social purposes. There are “community forums” that allow ongoing threads exploring and discussing not just white supremacist ideals, but culture, arts, etc. Stormfront’s “White Nation Community” board, for example, includes forums on poetry, culture and customs, health and fitness, and homemaking in addition to the expected forums on ideology and philosophy, and revisionism (www.stormfront.org/forum/). Many sites also include “singles pages.” Again Stormfront is a good example, with its “Talk” and “Dating Advice” forums. The Aryan Dating Page (www.adp.fptoday.com) is another intriguing example of the use of the Internet to connect “romantically” within the white supremacist movement.

The Internet is especially crucial to right-wing extremists to the extent that the relevant websites provide “information, a sense of belonging, and social identity.” There is telling evidence of these dimensions as well, in terms of the convergence of “mythic ideals” and especially appeals to one nation, or White Pride World Wide. Granted, virtual hate groups are no more homogeneous than their “real world” counterparts; they too are characterized by the same fractures and divisions. The movement, generally, is rather fractured but the glue that nonetheless holds it together is its ideological core, and the vision of the common identity that this imparts. Stormfront’s banner White Pride Worldwide epitomizes this global nationalist identity, so that the rhetoric of whiteness becomes the means to combine profoundly local grammars of racial exclusion within a trans-local and international reach that is made viable through digital technology (Back, 2002, p. 633).

Internet communication helps to close the social and spatial distance that might otherwise thwart efforts to sustain a collective identity. Given the geographical dispersal of hate groups across the country, and indeed the globe, the medium of cyberspace allows members in Ottawa, and Kamloops, as well as Munich, Toronto and Oslo to engage in real time conversations, to share the ritual and imagery that bind the individuals to the collective without having to travel great distances or incur great costs. Digital communication allows them to form “reimagined social configurations” (Fernback, 1997, p. 39). Virtual conversations and ready access to webpages aggressively asserting the shortcomings of the Other strengthen the resolve of individual members by creating the framework for a shared sense of both peril and purpose. Such sites provide at least the façade of cohesion and collective security, but even more importantly for isolated and atomized members, a collective vision of shared fears, values, and ideologies.

It is also the Internet sites that have the potential to foment violence. Law enforcement and intelligence officers that we spoke with often suggested that it was the online calls for violence that drew their attention to particular groups. One officer voiced his concern about websites that urged its audience to “kill the Aboriginals, kill the Jews, kill the blacks, kill the gays.”

Creating the Façade of Legitimacy

The visible face of the extreme right wing – the one that we typically envisage – is the tattooed, snarling, angry young White male. There is a great deal of truth to that image, as some of the most active and in fact dangerous representatives of the movement do offer a malevolent presentation of self. Selfies and other photos posted to RWE websites, for example, often feature images that reflect “tough guy” postures.

Yet these are the storm troops, the front lines. Behind the lines stand others who would seek to further their cause through slightly more subtle means, in a way that makes it more palatable, more acceptable to a public sensitized by a generation of discourse of equality, multiculturalism, and diversity. In a word, hate is increasingly “mainstream,” and thus increasingly legitimate. In part, this has been accomplished by toning down the rhetoric, and doing away with the white robes and brown shirts. But it has also been accomplished by forging links with the ultimate authority: the state.

This election year in Ontario is unusual for the slate of right wing actors that have entered the race. The Greater Toronto Area (GTA), for example, had such candidates as Jeff Goodall (Edmund Burke Society) running for Oshawa City Council, and John Beattie (former Nazi leader) vying for municipal office in Minden. Even Don Andrews, founder and current leader of the Nationalist Party of Canada, threw his hat in the ring for Toronto’s mayoralty. Incredibly, Christopher Brosky, a former skinhead thought to have current connections to Don Andrews, is running for Toronto city council. Brosky was convicted in 1993, in Texas, for the murder of a black man. Bob Smith is another candidate, running on an explicitly racist platform, as his web site makes obvious:

This year, an election year for municipalities across Ontario, stands out for another reason: the growing number of racists who are running for municipal office, including yours truly and NPC leader Don Andrews.

And why not? After all, who else is standing up for things that our cities and towns need: restoring white community standards and services, now reduced not just in Toronto, but in other cities, to Third World levels, with potholes everywhere, infrastructure crumbling and no support from provincial and federal governments blowing billions on foreign aid, multicultural programs, and immigrant aid programs, to name just a few stupidities, as Canadians deal with unacceptably low levels of support for the needy and disabled, rising nonwhite crime, years of race-mixer/leftist civic neglect and the deeper digging into our wallets to line their pockets (http://www.natparty.com/bobsbeat.htm).

While the electoral success of these extremists is likely to be limited, they have nonetheless made their mark at the level of political discourse. They have injected a note of intolerance into political debate, since any success pushes mainstream candidates to imitate them... If [they] win even a minor election, they gain credibility, access to the system, and the ability to do better by raising funds from other extremists and those across the country who are too easily taken in by scapegoating (Stern, 1992, p. 11).

As part of the official political apparatus, such extremists have the appearance of legitimate actors with valid interpretations of the state of economic and cultural relations throughout the country. They are the visible and audible presence of RWE and intolerance within the machinery of the state. They bring their ideals to “the people” in hopes of spreading the word.


There can be no doubt that the Internet and social media have been a boon to the RWE movement. Another indicator of its power is its ability to enhance the connectivity of domestic groups with one another, and with their international counterparts. This is no minor matter, as Chermak, Freilich and Suttmoeller (2013) remark that “strategic connectivity” is among the keys to sustainability for extremist groups. Indeed, the ability to network facilitates ideological affirmation, recruitment, publication and dissemination of materials, and an array of other strategies. Increasingly, the Internet and social media facilitate this connectivity. However, extremist groups also continue to interact in real time and real life.

The Internet facilitates global communication and the exchange of information and rhetoric. It creates a virtual space where homologous if not homogeneous sentiments of racial love and hate can be freely and widely shared without fear of contradiction. Thus, those with embedded biases may find affirmation on the ‘Net.’ Others – uncertain about “Canadian” or “Swedish” or “Aryan” identity, or feeling dislocated by economic or cultural change – may find a pre-packaged answer to their questions. Internet communication knows no national boundaries. Consequently, it allows the hate movement to extend its collective identity internationally, thereby facilitating a potential “global racist subculture” (Back, Keith & Solomos, 1998). There is no reason to assume that processes of globalization affecting commerce, politics and demographics do not also affect the realm of identity politics played out by the hate movement (Weinberg, 1998). Weinberg (1998) argues that the Internet will in fact provide the vehicle for the construction of a “common racial identity reaching across the Atlantic” (p. 79). Regardless of national affiliation, Internet communication allows White people across the globe to share in the celebration of a common race. This is not to say that the Internet has replaced traditional face-to-face connectivity between groups around the globe. Rather, it is often a supplement to direct interaction.

A number of diverse white supremacist groups have Canadian “chapters.” The KKK and assorted variants of Aryan Nations/Aryan Guard have the longest history here. The Klan has had a substantial presence in most provinces from Quebec westward since the early 1920s. The Aryan Guard has a shorter history generally, and seems to have made its presence known in Canada in the 1980s. Virtually every province in Canada – and most large urban centres – has some concentration of people claiming affiliation with that arm of the RWE movement. A close cousin of the KKK – the creativity movement – continues its lengthy tenure, with an active voice on the Creativity Movement Toronto website. Similarly, while waning in number and activity, skinhead groups persist across the country. They appear, however, to be especially prevalent in Quebec, Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia. Brad Galloway, for example, took his experience as a TriCity Skin in Ontario with him to British Columbia, where he became something of a leader in the Volksfront movement there.

Many of these Canadian entities have direct links to American and European counterparts. Vinland Hammerskins, for example, have a page on the international Hammerskin Nation website. Canadian bloggers and posters frequently appear on Stormfront venues. One thread there begins with the question “So Canadians . . . where are you?” to which several people from across the country have responded with their location. The Creativity Movement Toronto website (http://creativitymovementtoronto.blogspot.ca/search/label/TCM%20Canada) features numerous links to international groups, such as the British Nationalist Party (BNP), and American Creativity groups. They also regularly post interviews with prominent white racialists from beyond our borders – Matt Hale, Craig Cobb, and members of the Croatian racialist band Invictus, among others.

Even Golden Dawn, a Greek nationalist party associated with virulent xenophobia and anti-immigrant sentiment, appears to be making inroads in Canada. Montreal and Toronto – hosting the largest concentrations of Greeks – have been sites of recruitment attempts. Key informants suggest that they have had greater success in Montreal than Toronto. Nonetheless, it is certainly worth watching their activities in both areas. In the spring of 2015, a German based anti-Islam group – PEGIDA (Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West) – emerged in Quebec. The Quebec group draws on the same sentiments of the incompatibility of Islam with western values as its European parent group.

Connections to Criminal Organizations

Law enforcement officers have expressed concerns about the linkages between RWE groups and “traditional” criminal groups such as outlaw biker gangs and drug gangs. In the U.S., the Anti-Defamation League (ADL, 2011) has also observed the trend toward “bigots on bikes.” Indeed, they note the parallels in sub-cultural ethos, including “shared symbology, shared slang and language, and in some cases shared dress” (ADL, 2011, p. 3). In addition to cross-membership and bikers’ support for white supremacist events such as concerts, there is an increasing trend toward biker groups explicitly grounded in RWE ideologies, especially in Quebec. Quebec biker gangs are widely known for their extreme violence, and their use of powerful weaponry, including explosives. In 2008, for example, police seized nearly a tonne of explosives in a Montreal apartment that was linked to a Quebec biker gang (The Star, 2008). The potential risk associated with the combination of RWE ideology and arms must not be under-estimated.

Another trend that Canadian law enforcement – especially in Western provinces and Quebec – are observing is a frequent “morphing” from white supremacist to biker or drug gangs. For example, the White Boys Posse, which has had some presence in Alberta and Saskatchewan, is initially affiliated with white supremacy, as their chosen name implies. Their membership may have reached as high as 50 to 100. By 2008 they were more closely aligned with Hell’s Angels. Consequently, their activity shifted toward illegal markets, as evidenced by police seizure of drugs, weapons and cash.

Transitions like those experienced by White Boys Posse lend credence to the suggestion that many RWE groups are fragile due to their lack of deep commitment to the “cause.” While a supremacist ideology might have had some initial appeal to those searching for identity, the biker or drug culture comes to present a more attractive allure in light of the enhanced potential for violence and profit.

We would like to draw attention to one final “linkage” that emerges with respect to RWE. Just as there are parallels between the ethos of bikers and right-wing extremists, so too is there synergy between the right and the military. It is perhaps no surprise, then, that the armed forces also host RWE sympathizers if not activists within their midst. This has long been the case in the United States, where members have been encouraged to enlist in order to hone their combat skills in readiness for the impending “racial holy war” that will finally purge America of its “mud people ” (Simi, Bubolz, & Hardman, 2013). A recent Canadian report warned of the increase in white supremacist membership within this country’s armed forces (Ottawa Citizen, 2012). Again, this linkage implies a risk associated with the combination of RWE ideology and the capacity for lethal violence.

Still Berserking

In a now classic book on skinheads, Mark Hamm wrote in 1993 that it was “beer – and only beer – that seems to fuel the neo-Nazi skinheads in their commission of political violence” (Hamm, 1985, p. 191). He bases this assessment on the fact that few if any of the participants in his study admitted to illicit drug use; in contrast, most indicated that their violent interactions were typically preceded by some level of intoxication from drinking beer.

From all reports, that pattern continues to be the case with respect to the neo-Nazi/white supremacy activists in Canada. Law enforcement reported a common linkage between drinking and subsequent violence. One police officer offered the following equation: “beer + music + hateful rhetoric = dangerous rampages.” This assessment tends to be buttressed by photojournalist Brett Gundlock’s narrative of his time spent with RWE activists. He opens his photo album with this description of the movement: “Dwelling in beer soaked basements with walls decorated in German, Nazi and Canadian Red Ensign flags, groups of Neo-Nazi Skinheads band together to form underground sects across Canada” (http://www.vice.com/en_ca/read/the-movement-v18n7).

Occasionally, this meant that, after consuming several pints, members would decide collectively to seek out and target random individuals or property associated with particular groups according to ethnicity, race, religion, or gender/sexual identity. More commonly, however, fights erupted amongst themselves, or between them and some “Other” who was thought to have offended them in some way – by a particular look, or by accidentally bumping into them in stores, for example.

Opportunities The fact that violence perpetrated by extremists is often “primed” by beer is also connected to another contributing factor: opportunity. Indeed, several participants pointed to the opportunistic nature of much of the violence associated with RWE groups and individuals. While it is sometimes the case that targets are explicitly selected, it is more common for violence to emerge in the context of mundane activities. A trip to the store for cigarettes, for example, can escalate when the cashier “appears” to give offence – because he is dark-skinned, or because she asks for ID, or because he is slow in returning the change. A classic example is the 2009 case of Lacey Dan Snyder, 22, and Dylan Alfred Trommel, 23, who were charged in a racially motivated attack on 32-year-old Congolese student Valentin Masepode. The two confronted Masepode in a convenience store, calling him a “nigger” and telling him, “this is our country nigger.” Masepode was bear sprayed in the face. Trommel, who had a swastika tattoo on his back, blamed the assault on the fact that he was drunk (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014; Blais, 2010).

Sometimes extremists create their own opportunities, and it is not uncommon for violence to erupt in the context of RWE events. In early 2013, for example, a neo-Nazi march in Edmonton was followed by a spree of targeted violence against visible minorities. Edmonton was also the site of an equally common occurrence, that is, violence between activists and their challengers. On that occasion, neo-Nazis clashed with members of Anti-Racist Action (ARA) Calgary. Officers in Western provinces, in particular, expressed their concern that this was a real risk whenever RWE groups made public their plans to appear on the street. Thus, they saw it as their job to keep the two sides apart.

Indeed, retaliatory forms of violence appear relatively common among extreme right wing activists. ARA members are targeted outside of public contexts. For years, Jason and Bonnie Devine have been subjects of a series of attacks, presumably by RWE assailants, in retaliation for their ongoing anti-racist activism. In 2010, two years after the couple’s home was firebombed by suspected Aryan Guard members, Jason was brutally beaten with a hammer when a group of what were alleged to be Blood and Honour members broke into his house. Quebec police report similar incidents directed toward the anti-fascist movement in that province. There, however, the violence tends to go both ways, with counter-attacks from both sides.

Another context fraught with the risk of violence is police stops, especially when those stops involve sovereigntists. Arguably, the threat associated with this movement is much more muted than is the case in the U.S. This is largely attributable to the lack of a gun culture in Canada. In the U.S., sovereigntists are often closely aligned with the militia movement, making them eminently more dangerous. The same connection does not arise in Canada. Their greatest impact here comes in what many informants referred to as “paper terrorism” – the tendency to take up the time of notaries and the courts with endless bureaucratic challenges and frivolous lawsuits. Unlike neo-Nazis, for example, Freemen are not motivated by a love of violence. Whatever violence emerges is instead a by-product of their challenging the state and its agents.

Nonetheless, law enforcement is particularly leery of those affiliated with Freemen on the Land, for example. Some of the fear is a response to those few individuals who espouse pro-gun sentiments. So, for example, there is a movement afoot among some to create “Peace Officer Corps” which would be armed much like a U.S. style militia. In addition, Freemen can become aggressive when pressed by police. Police highway stops are highly unpredictable and fraught with danger. Thus, such interactions have resulted in several cases of physical violence, largely in the form of pushing and shoving. Participants in the study indicated that there have been a small number of armed stand-offs, and at least one noted case of a suspect attempting to take an officer’s gun.

One branch of the sovereigntist movement that is deemed a significant risk by Toronto police is the Moors of Toronto. The Moors are active across Canada and the U.S., and are typically much like other similar factions. Their anti-statism is more firmly grounded in criticisms of structural forms of racism and discrimination; their strategies, however, are not much different, in that they focus on legal challenges. Nevertheless, the Toronto group is generally thought to be a “smokescreen” for illegal activities. Officers are of the mind that they are hiding their motives behind the religion and Freemen ideologies. They also suggest that the estimated 40-50 members are virtually all gang affiliated, and most have criminal records for violent offences, including homicide. It is these histories, combined with weaponry and an oppositional ideology that makes them especially volatile.

3.2 Endogenous Inhibiting Factors

From the above discussion, it is evident that Kinsella’s (2001) by now classic phrase – and title – Web of Hate continues to resonate, perhaps even more so to the extent that the extreme right wing has a greater capacity to connect and share than ever before. In spite of that, we would argue that while the far right in Canada represents a movement of sorts, this does not necessarily imply coherence. In fact, to refer to hate “groups” or RWE “groups” gives them too much credit. It implies the capacity to be or become disorganized. In contrast, it seems as if adherents are, rather, decidedly unorganized and constituted by small loosely linked cells, lone wolves, or as more than one police officer suggested, “three man wrecking crews.” For all of the potentially uniting factors noted above, the far right in Canada suffers from an array of disabling factors that are inherent in the movement. Cumulatively, these generally have the effect of limiting the growth, activities, and impact of RWE. Indeed, the weaknesses can be exploited in order to further diminish their capacity.

Ideological Commitment Foremost among the limitations of the RWE movement in Canada is the fact that there is a general lack of commitment to the professed ideologies associated with particular groups. This is not true of all members. There are some who remain committed to the cause regardless of the consequences. Many of the ideologues and propagandists noted earlier (see Appendix III) have certainly spent much of their lives spewing anti-Semitic or anti-immigrant rhetoric, for example. Their dedication is apparent in the fact that even after some have been the target of multiple law suits, even arrests, they maintain their convictions. Both Wolfgang Droege and Kyle McKee, for example, have served a number of prison sentences; yet they continue to engage with their “former” neo-Nazi colleagues. Ernst Zundel is another obvious example. Deported from both the U.S. and Canada for disseminating his anti-Semitism and holocaust denial propaganda, he was convicted in his home country, Germany, in 2007 on 14 charges relating to the incitement of racial hatred. Undeterred, he continued to correspond with other holocaust deniers even while in prison.

Yet such undying fealty to RWE creeds is not the norm among the Canadian movement. Many members seem to be “trying on different coats,” according to one officer. They are typically youth looking for a place to belong, and seeking explanations for their lot in life. Whether it is ideologues, or friends in the movement, or music, potential recruits buy into the messages of hate, but often only for a short term. They find some comfort in the initial appearance of solidarity. One officer observed that it was the sense of community grounded in hate that was the glue that held groups together – not the hatred itself. In fact, the same officer also shared the insights that, among those who had left the movement, many spoke about feeling tired, and that “hating is exhausting.” They found themselves managing contradictions, and constantly justifying why they were racist, or homophobic, or anti-Semitic. In short, as we will discuss in more detail below, the frailty of the movement’s rhetoric quickly becomes clear.

Other observers suggested that, while ideology was the professed glue that bound groups together, their “gatherings” were largely social rather than political events. That is, they came together as much to party as they did to discuss their philosophies of race and identity. Black metal concerts, for example, draw people in for the melody as much as the message behind the lyrics.

This ideological weakness is also true, it appears, of sovereigntists in the country. Notaries and intelligence personnel that we spoke with were in agreement that many who profess to be aligned with the movement are simply looking for an easy way out of their legal or financial binds. Some suggested that the key piece of evidence of this is that they retain the privileges of citizenship – like health insurance, or social security – while disavowing the parallel responsibilities – like taxes or registration fees. They have been described variously as “average Canadians with legal troubles,” “gullible people looking for a way out,” and “very Canadian” in terms of their excessive civility. Aside from the media hungry gurus of the Freemen movement (i.e., people like Robert Menard and Dean Clifford), few adherents share deeply rooted beliefs. They have merely learned the “script” that is appropriate for dealing with traffic stops, or demands for identification, for example. YouTube is awash with selfie videos of traffic stops. The monologues are eerily similar, with references to sovereignty, the illegitimacy of police action, right to travel, etc. (see Appendix V).

In addition, unlike even the most loosely affiliated neo-Nazi groups, sovereigntists are disparate by virtue of their ideological foundations. The only consistent core of the movement is a rigid anti-statism. Aside from that, there is little consistency. Some members are also anti-Semitic, seeing the sins of the state as part of the broader Zionist conspiracy. Some are racist, blaming immigrants and civil rights advances for their own misfortunes. Many more are neither. Some are survivalists; many are conspiracy theorists of some sort. Most significant, however, is that sovereigntists are as likely to be associated with left wing politics as right wing. Again, some would claim to be decidedly apolitical.

Ideological Infighting We noted above that individuals often join the movement for short periods of time. This goes some way to also explaining the short-lived nature of the groups as well. With a few key exceptions, RWE groups rarely have a shelf life of more than a few months, and certainly no more than a year. The contemporary history of Canadian neo-Nazi groups especially is one characterized by discord and recurrent infighting as members jockey for power and status. Morphing and splintering are normative. This is evident, for example, in the biographies of those noted in Appendix III. Many of them moved from group to group throughout their lives. The recent history of the constellation of groups that included Aryan Guard, Blood and Honour, and Western European Bloodline are illustrative. The latter two arose out of the original Aryan Guard group founded by Kyle McKee, after prolonged conflict among its members. In short, contemporary groups, especially, are moving targets, shifting and changing quickly depending on intra-group dynamics. One law enforcement officer expressed it most effectively, observing that “They hate so much and so many that they start to hate one another – that is why they splinter.” From this perspective, group members’ hostility expands to include their peers, not just their ideological foes.

This internecine conflict can turn bloody. Key informants often alluded to physical skirmishes within the groups. Occasionally, this was planned as a form of entertainment – setting up challengers against one another in unarmed combat. However, it also emerged organically as a result of disagreements – typically fomented by alcohol. Videos posted on RWE websites, Facebook pages, and YouTube have captured the aftereffects of some of these, if not the contests themselves. At the extreme, rival groups target one another, or act in retaliation for some presumed slight. Most infamously, in 2009 Tyler Sturrup, member of Western European Bloodlines (WEB), and Carolyne Kwatiek, a white nationalist, were targets of two homemade pipe bombs allegedly planted by Kyle McKee. McKee has also been implicated in disciplinary” actions against Southern Ontario Skinhead Max Hynes in 2012. In addition, in 2013, former Aryan Guard member Jessie Lajoie, 24, used an edged weapon to attack a man who was allegedly a guest of the McKee-aligned Blood and Honour in Calgary

(Anti-Racist Canada, 2014). In 2006, Stephen Long, a 22-year-old white supremacist who belonged to the racist “Hammer Heads” gang, was murdered by up and coming white supremacist Christopher Broughton, 29. While sleeping, Long was attacked and murdered with a baseball bat, all of which was in retaliation to an event earlier in the evening (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014; McLaughlin, 2008; Ottawa Citizen, 2006). Transience/Mobility

The inability of some members to get along also means that there is a degree of mobility associated with the RWE movement. For example, there is a lengthy history of movement back and forth between western Ontario and Western provinces – Alberta in particular. Sometimes this is because members are trying to distance themselves. Occasionally, it is a form of outreach, wherein they are attempting to recruit new members, or establish a new “chapter” in other cities. In the early 2000s, the Edmonton Blood and Honour group sought to exploit the potential for mobility, and so went so far as to offer incentives for like-minded individuals who wanted to migrate from western Canada to join their brethren in Alberta. Promises of paid rent and travel, assistance with job seeking, etc. lured a small number westward. However, it appears that the appeal was more in the financial incentives than in the ideological message.

More often, the transience of RWE actors is connected to the fact that law enforcement officers have turned up the heat in particular cities. When it becomes uncomfortable in Calgary, actors may move to Edmonton. When that gets too risky, they may move on to Vancouver, or London. Nathan Touchette and Kyle McKee’s linked biographies are illustrative. Touchette, of Combat 18 fame, and McKee first made the news when they began flying the Nazi flag over their shared apartment in Kitchener, Ontario. When they made it very public that they intended to move to Calgary to one of the many constructions jobs available, the mayor of Calgary announced through the media that they were not welcome. They came anyway, but their stay did not last long. Touchette went back to Ontario within a few months, returned to Alberta to live in Edmonton, and then left that city under a cloud of suspicion regarding a number of assaults and arson. McKee was arrested for assault, possession of a weapon, and wearing a mask in committing his crime and spent a number of months in an Alberta jail; upon release he to went back to Ontario. However, he did eventually return to Calgary, impregnated his 16-year-old girlfriend, and helped to found the Aryan Guard. It’s exceedingly difficult to maintain a collective presence when members move on a regular basis.

Weak/Loss of Leadership

The instability of group membership is also a manifestation of the weakness of the leadership within the movement. The sort of infighting noted above is often a contributing factor, in that current leaders may be challenged by other members in a display of hypermasculinity. Or it may simply be the case that leaders are themselves not really leadership material. Several of those interviewed highlighted this particular limitation. While some members of the movement are educated and relatively intelligent, the consensus is that that is not the norm, even among leaders. They may be strong, tough, and charismatic, but they are not necessarily articulate or strategic enough to maintain group cohesion.

Finally, where leaders are sustainable, they are typically also highly visible – and volatile. Consequently, they become “known to police,” falling under ongoing surveillance. It is not uncommon for law enforcement to have “a chat” with leaders, just to let them know they are being watched. This alone can weaken their position within the group. More typically, however, they will eventually cross the line into illegal behaviour and find themselves under arrest. Kyle McKee, for example, followed such a trajectory. As noted previously, he was chased out of Kitchener by police activity. Ultimately, while still the leader of Blood and Honour, he was arrested on assault and weapons charges. As there was no worthy second in command, the group collapsed while he was in jail. Similarly, when Wolfgang Droege was arrested for his involvement in “Operation Red Dog” in 1981, far right activists began to lack urgency and commitment in Canada, and the RWE movement saw a decline in activity. Once released, however, Droege and his RWE organization, Heritage Front, became a force to be reckoned with (Lauder, 2002).

Lone Wolf Mentality

The fact that particular groups are not cohesive or well organized should not lead to complacency. Tragic events like Anders Breivik’s killing of 77 civilians in Norway, and more recently, Justin Bourque’s murder of three police officers in New Brunswick and Norman Raddatz’s slaying of a hate crimes unit officer in Edmonton have brought the risks associated with “lone wolves” to the forefront of our attention. These are generally individuals who may or may not be affiliated with identifiable groups, but who in any event act on their own. They find inspiration from the tenets of some element of the movement, but are unlikely to engage in group activities such as marches or rallies. In short, they keep a low profile. However, they can pose a risk, as “Despite their ad hoc nature and generally limited resources, they can mount high-profile, extremely destructive attacks, and their operational planning is often difficult to detect” (Hoffman, 2006, pp. 40-41). Their unpredictability is a challenge.

Several key informants indicated that they were aware of local individuals who seemed to fit this profile. That is, they were loners who nonetheless subscribed to RWE ideologies. They often took their cue from related websites that fed their fantasies of white supremacy, for example. They might even go so far as to display white pride symbols in their windows. However, that was the limit of their solidarity with the movement. Officers in Quebec described one individual as a committed skinhead who had never met any other skinheads. He had been radicalized solely through his use of the Internet. Nonetheless, his most enduring wish was to gather enough money so that he could buy an AK47 with which to “kill a bunch of blacks.” Whether he would ever act on this objective is unknowable. In general, there is no way to anticipate the potential for violence that similar lone wolves may have, unless of course they post a manifesto like Breivik’s. In the U.S., the FBI (2009) has warned that lone wolves, small cells and others engaging in “leaderless resistance pose a serious threat precisely because of their low profile and autonomy” (p. 7).

Sovereigntists and Freemen are especially likely to act independently. In fact, it is highly unlikely that they organize into groups at all. This is very much a movement consisting of self-regulating and self-sufficient individuals. They share a common creed, often a common script, but do not subscribe to any unified hierarchy. In effect, it would be something of a contradiction in terms for a sovereigntist to give themselves over to the authority of the group dynamic.

The cumulative effect of this constellation of inhibiting factors is that the RWE movement remains distinctly unorganized. The fact that a handful of law enforcement officers referred independently to hate “groups” in disparate communities as something like “three man wrecking crews” says volumes about the nature of the organizational capacity of Canadian groups. Interestingly, some of these groups have the appearance of being organized, often by virtue of their websites. Kevin Goudreau of Ontario, for example, manages a White Nationalist Front website, which gives the appearance of being a hub for the group’s activities. However, there is no concrete evidence that he is anything more than a community of one. Certainly there are people who are attracted to his site, but not necessarily enough to take their beliefs any further. In fact, site visitors are as likely to engage him in a war of words as they are to support his views.

In sum, an array of micro-level endogenous factors have facilitated the RWE movement in Canada. Members in the movement have created the façade of legitimacy, promoting a message of hate in more appropriate and palatable ways, rather than through fear mongering and acts of violence. Music and the Internet have also been used as recruitment and communication tools to connect like-minded others, and RWE connections to criminal organizations have perpetuated the movement, but with a new look. Excessive alcohol consumption, particularly the overconsumption of beer, has fueled members in the group to engage in violence and aggression, especially if they are given the opportunity to do so. On the other hand, a number of endogenous inhibiting factors are at play. For example, many members of the RWE movement lack ideological commitment, and instead jump from group to group and ideology to ideology, thus hindering the stability of a particular hate group in Canada. Members of any particular hate group, as has been illustrated by examples above, engage in ideological infighting and transiency, again rupturing the foundation of a group, and a weak leader or loss of a leader, and a lone wolf mentality can easily dismantle even the most powerful RWE organizations.

While it is important to address the micro-level factors that facilitate and inhibit the RWE extremist movement in Canada, it is also important to situate this movement in a broader social context. It is to the exogenous facilitating and inhibiting factors that we now turn.

4. A Climate for Hate?

4.1 Exogenous Facilitating Factors

Perry (2001) and Poynting and Perry (2007) have written often about the fact that hate can only grow in an enabling environment. We need only observe recent developments in the U.S. and Europe to discern the importance of context for the emergence and strength of a viable RWE movement. In that part of the world, populist right wing groups have exploited a dismal economic situation and rapidly shifting demographics to foment hostility toward the state, and toward the Others increasingly in their midst: immigrants, people of colour, and Muslims, in particular. To assume that the sentiments that inspire those groups is anomalous ignores the fact that they are embedded in a broader cultural ethos that bestows “permission to hate.” RWE ideology is nested within an array of other devices that stigmatize, marginalize, and perhaps demonize minority groups. Such groups then, find support in political, rhetorical and cultural practices of exclusion. Where state policy and practice, or media messaging, for example, send the signal that particular groups are not welcome, this can enhance the viability of the RWE movement.

Weak Law Enforcement/ Human Rights Environment When asked what they saw as the key factors enabling the emergence and sustainability of RWE groups, the majority of key informants claimed that the most obvious factor was a weak law enforcement response. This was the sentiment even among police officers, regardless of whether or not they deemed their own department to be vigilant in acknowledging and confronting RWE activity. Members of community-based organizations were also often critical of what they saw as police blindness in this respect. They feared that law enforcement were neither well trained nor motivated to confront the movement where it had a presence.

That most police services do not take seriously the RWE threat was apparent in our interviews. This is probably most apparent in rural areas, where officers suggest that “no one knows” the risk because no one is monitoring activity. But even in communities with demonstrable levels of RWE activity, there was a tendency to deny the presence and threat of activists in the community. An officer in one Ontario city that is a known “hot spot” for the RWE activity worried that “we’re not doing enough” to confront the known activists. Another in the same community stated outright that “until something happens, we’re not looking at them.” They also shared an example that illustrates the lack of responsiveness. There had been a gathering of 20-25 neo-Nazis, marching en masse through the streets, replete with White Pride flags and chants. However, there was no police presence to monitor the situation. In fact, neither the officer responsible for hate crime nor the one responsible for diversity was aware of the event, suggesting that they did not have their ear to the ground.

In addition to the neglect paid to any known RWE presence, some police personnel deny – at least publicly – that there is any risk associated with the right. By referring to them variously as “three man wrecking crews” or “losers without a cause,” they are trivializing their potential for growth and violence. Even in cities where officers admitted to RWE membership numbering in the 10s if not 100s, the threat was downplayed. Interestingly, police officers in three neighbouring cities in Ontario each claimed that “nothing happened” in their communities, but that right-wing extremists travelled to those other communities to flex their ideological muscle. The list of incidents in Appendix IV is testament to the fact that these groups are active and are violent. Yet many of those responsible for policing the movement dismissed them as a minor nuisance.

One of the factors that contribute to the lack of attention paid to RWE activity has to do with where responsibility for extremism lies. There is remarkable inconsistency. When dealing with RWE, some services confine jurisdiction to the diversity or hate crime portfolio. Either way, these tend to be under-resourced units, often falling to a single officer who has neither the time nor the required assets to effectively challenge the emergence of RWE threat. Other services embed the issue within the broader mandate of extremism units or gang units. In the former case, law enforcement is as obsessed with Islamic extremism and left wing extremism as the federal government and so pay little attention to other “home grown” activists. Where the responsibility lies with the gang unit, RWE groups fall far behind non-White racialized gangs as a priority.

The possible exception to this lack of attention revolves around the Freemen/sovereigntist movement, which is even less organized, and less likely to be violent than neo-Nazi activists. Nearly every officer with whom we spoke explicitly stated that that element of the movement was what concerned them the most. Many stated that it was “only a matter of time” before the movement would incubate violent adherents. It was also an area in which they had been most recently and widely trained. Again, there is an indication of misplaced priorities in some communities, away from violence that is occurring to violence that might occur.

Failure to attend to a RWE presence sends a dangerous message of tolerance. It empowers and emboldens groups and individuals who begin to think that they are under the radar and thus untouchable. Whether this is the reality or the perception is immaterial. If members believe that they can act with impunity, they will be drawn to particular locales. This is one of the conditions that contribute to the mobility of RWE actors noted previously. As rational beings, they flee communities where they are under surveillance for those in which they believe they will go unnoticed and unbothered.

Police ineffectiveness sometimes has a counterpart in a weak human rights framework. In particular, where there is no strong and visible anti-racist movement, RWE groups have free range. Rights activists in Saskatchewan, for example, are concerned about the demise of anti-racist groups in that province. The birthplace of the Canadian Klan, Saskatchewan is thought to be vulnerable to the re-emergence of a strong RWE movement. However, unlike the case in the 1980s and 1990s, there is no longer a broad based movement like the defunct Saskatchewan Coalition Against Racism to confront this challenge. Similarly, there are counties, towns and cities across the country without viable defensive bodies, and it is here that RWE groups begin to take root.

Normativity/History of Racism According to Welliver, “Communities have histories of hate” (cited in Flint, 2004, p. 251). It is these histories, and their contemporary remnants, that lay the foundations for the emergence and growth of a racist RWE movement, in particular. In short, the above noted failure to strike against or resist RWE is generally indicative of the broader normativity of racism and other related patterns of exclusion extant in the communities infected with a RWE presence. Moreover, the RWE movement itself has been a part of that normative history of hate. The Klan is not new to Saskatchewan; the Aryan Guard is not new to Alberta; and neo-Nazi skinheads are not new to Quebec.

It is striking that recent years have seen such a clustering of RWE activity in just a few areas: Quebec, Western Ontario, Alberta, and the lower mainland of British Columbia. We have had several conversations about these concentrations over the course of this project, and the consensus seems to be that there is something about these areas that makes them fertile ground for the cultivation of organized RWE activity. Indeed, one Saskatchewan activist argued that racism was endemic in the culture, especially in Western provinces, and was evident at all levels of society, across institutions. It is “simply an organized form of what lies under the surface – barely,” he claimed.

There are both historical and contemporary foundations for the observable patterns of RWE today. This is probably most evident in the “histories of hate” experienced by Aboriginal people, grounded as they are in the legacy of colonialism. In fact, it is impossible to understand the current strains of anti-Native organizing outside of its connection with colonialism (Perry, 2008). Indeed, colonialism is itself an exploitive and disempowering form of violence intended to disrupt, if not eradicate its subjects. From first contact, British and French colonizers invested great energy in the marginalization of the Aboriginal inhabitants of this continent, attempting to ensure their continued status at the fringes of society.

The historical patterns of colonization experienced by Canadian First Nations have followed the typical modes of conquest, including the suppression and destruction of native values and ways of life by the colonizing power, resulting in the forced assimilation of the colonized group into dominant society. The process is also associated with the surveillance and regulation of the colonized by representatives of the colonizers, as by armed forces or, more recently, by “Indian Affairs” bureaucrats or law enforcement personnel. Moreover, the associated practices of exploitation and oppression have been and continue to be justified by a colonizing and racist discourse that insists upon the relative inferiority of the colonized people.

The broader history of oppression lends itself to modern iterations that continue to privilege the place of straight, White, Christian males. As one Alberta community activist noted, the “prevailing sentiment” in many Canadian communities remains deeply racist, and in many places, deeply religious in a way that also has implications for views on abortion and homosexuality, for example. People still have “hate in their hearts” in a way that enables and encourages conservative values to dominate. Is it any wonder that the movement is strong in a province where the sort of message expressed in Figure 1 is openly flouted? One of the authors of this report (Perry) had seen this windshield decal while conducting interviews in Alberta. Since she was unable to get my camera out in time, we searched for it online where we found it posted on Facebook. As interesting as the message is, we were also struck by the fact that there were supportive responses. It is this empathetic outlook that feeds the RWE movement.

Figure 1. Redneck Pride Alberta Wide

(https://www.facebook.com/MeanwhileInAlberta/posts/692755154114183) Degradation of the Other is on fertile ground in a culture with a history of – and indeed origins in – a worldview which saw non-Whites as heathen savages, for example.

Canada is itself a legacy of centuries of persecution of minorities, whether they are First Nations, immigrants, women or “sexual deviants.” Such a history normalizes mistreatment of those who do not appropriately conform to the preconceived hierarchies. That leaves us with a culture reflected in bitter letters to the editor, and opinion polls that seem to tap deep divisions and resentment – fodder for the hate movement. These are the sorts of attitudes that provide fruitful ground for the rhetoric of hate groups. They enable these groups to play on public sentiment, exploiting fears and stereotypes.

In some of the areas most affected by the presence of RWE organizing, there are readily manipulable processes under way. Western Ontario, for example, is undergoing dramatic demographic shifts. Some of the cites in the region, which have been homogeneously White and Christian, are currently experiencing large influxes of non-White immigrants. London has seen growth in visible minorities from 8% to over 15% in just over a decade; it is home to approximately 15,000 newly arrived Columbians, and about the same number of Muslims. While the bulk of the population in these communities is likely either neutral or welcoming, there is nonetheless a narrow slice of the population disturbed by these changes. One informant referred to the “lack of preparedness for demographic change” as a key factor in laying the foundation for the emergence of reactionary movements. Newcomers become readily exploitable scapegoats for young, unemployed and under-employed youth drawn to RWE.

Antonio Gramsci (1971), the noted Italian Marxist, asserted that, in the on-going struggle for hegemonic supremacy, the appeal of any rhetorical formation depends upon “previously germinated ideologies... (which) come into confrontation and conflict, until only one of them, or at least a single combination of them, tends to prevail” (pp.

181-182). This applies to the ability of hate groups to extend their ideologies of hate and intolerance to the broader public and to thus recruit into the movement. In other words, in order to have an impact on the actions of others, hate groups must strike a chord in the broader community. The message of hate disseminated by RWE groups speaks to existing popular concerns – this is at the heart of the legitimacy of their rhetoric. The vitriol of the hate groups is not so much an aberration as it is a reflection of racialist and gendered views that permeate society. It is important to note that, even if a community may not see itself as a “hateful” place, its reputation as such is still important. Several participants suggested that Alberta, for example, appears hospitable to RWE activity. It is that province’s reputation that lures groups and individuals there.

Political/Rhetorical Climate of Intolerance In short, hate-motivated violence – and by extension, hate groups – flourish in an enabling environment. Across the Western world, such an environment has historically been conditioned by the activity – and inactivity – of the state. State practices, policy and rhetoric have often provided the formal framework within which popular RWE movements emerge (Poynting & Perry, 2007). Practices within the state, at an individual and institutional level, which stigmatize, demonize or marginalize traditionally oppressed groups, and legitimate the mistreatment of these same groups on the streets. They also lend some credibility to emerging hate groups. Similarly, the deficiencies in policing the right noted above also speak to the ways in which inactivity at the level of the state enables the development of such groups.

Political expressions of hate and bigotry are to be located at any number of different sites. Press releases and related sound bites, judicial decisions, congressional debates, commission hearings and certainly single issue and electoral political campaigns are laden with images and language – both implicit and explicit – representative of the dominant ideologies of race and gender. Legislative proscriptions around immigration and citizenship, miscegenation, voting, and land ownership, to name a few have carefully demarcated the relative place of “us” and “them.”

The demonization of minority groups is reinforced by the racialized and gendered discourse of politicians, judges, political lobbyists, and more. And the targets are diverse: immigrants, gay men and women, Muslims, to name a few – in other words, the very targets of RWE groups. As Perliger (2012) expresses it, a contentious political climate and ideological political empowerment play important roles in increasing the volume of violence; thus, it is not only feelings of deprivation which motivate those involved in far right violence, but also the sense of empowerment which emerges when the political system is perceived to be increasingly open to far right ideas (p. 146).

Much can be learned from recent European politics. There, reactionary rhetoric is rampant in viable political parties, some of which are explicitly tied to violent RWE groups. Anders Jupskås’ (2012) characterization of the array of extreme right wing factions in Norway could well apply to most other European nations as well:

Firstly, there are groups and failed parties directly or indirectly linked to neo-Nazism. Secondly, there are racist and slightly more successful anti-immigrant parties and movements that are somewhat more active but less militant. Thirdly, there are the emerging Islamophobic groups, which are heavily inspired by similar movements elsewhere in Europe (p. 42).

In these cases, fervent nationalism and xenophobic ideologies freely circulate in the public marketplace of ideas. Recall from the previous section references to RWE activists running on explicitly racist platforms in Ontario municipal elections.

What is worrying is that, in some regions, there appear to be traces of similar trends emerging here. Even at the federal level, there is a recent turn to the right unlike any we have seen since at least the early 1900s. Several participants pointed to the impact of contemporary conservative politics on the potential for RWE, suggesting that it has an empowering effect. Anti-democratic and anti-immigrant rhetoric and practice, and a retreat from the discourse of rights, for example, lend legitimacy to similar strains within the movement. Recent references by the Prime Minister to the threat of “Islamization” and to the wearing of hijabs as “offensive” stokes the flames of Islamophobia. As more than one key informant stated, the politics of fear mongering creates spaces where it is acceptable to hate. In an environment that has seen the shrinking of funding for human rights groups, the elimination of S. 13 hate speech protections, increasing restrictions on immigrants and refugees, and much more, the RWE movement finds its positions increasingly reflected in public policy (Mallea, 2001; McDonald, 2011).

Several of those interviewed for this project identified Alberta as a province that has garnered a similar reputation for provocative political rhetoric (Lund, 2006). In part, this has to do with the fact that it is “Harper” country, as well as the home of the earlier “Klein Revolution,” which has frequently been categorized as “hostile to diversity issues” (Lund, 2006). For example, One of the most disturbing aspects of the Klein Revolution has been the rapid descent to the lowest common denominator in public discourse and the increased influence in government of moral conservatives from the religious right. This disastrous combination has led to an unprecedented degree of scapegoating, attacks on minorities and “special interests” by the political leadership of the province (Jeffrey, 1999, p. 131).

The trend continues. The emergence of the Wild Rose Party is a contemporary cause for concern. They are widely considered to be a far right party, pandering to conservative sentiments in that province. In the run-up to the 2012 election, an Edmonton candidate Allan Hunsperger wrote in a now infamous blog that homosexuals would suffer for eternity in a “lake of fire.” He followed that up with racist comments two days later, saying I think as a Caucasian I have an advantage... When different community leaders such as a Sikh leader or a Muslim leader speak, they really speak to their own people in many ways. As a Caucasian, I believe that I can speak to all the community.

Initially, the party faithful failed to challenge Hunsperger’s divisive statements, lending credence to their characterization as a party willing to support regressive politics. In spite of – or perhaps because of – the party’s stance on social issues, they led the race right up to the election. While they did not win the election, they had remarkable success in southern rural areas of the province, and became the official opposition. Some informants suggested that the presence of the Wild Rose party also forced the Conservative party to move further right. Clearly, the party touched a resonant chord with voters – a chord very much in tune with the RWE movement.

Recent politics in Quebec probably provides the richest illustration of the link between public rhetoric and RWE ideologies, particularly with respect to Islamophobic sentiment. Quebec has been the “epicentre” for institutional challenges to Muslim identity. There is a lengthening history in that province that would restrict Muslim markers of identity. In the mid-1990s, there was considerable controversy over schools – and even the province’s largest teacher’s union – barring women and girls from wearing the hijab in school. Such targeted restrictions, however, reached their zenith under then Premier Pauline Marois, who first proposed her Charter of Values (originally Charter of Secularism) in 2012. The provision would have banned the wearing or display of religious symbols among public sector institutions. That the Christian crucifix would nonetheless still be allowed in public buildings highlights the selective nature of the proposal. The rhetoric surrounding the Charter was “dressed in the guise of narratives of gender equality and secular values” (Ameli & Merali, 2014, p. 39). However, it was also clear from the outset that it was targeted at Muslims and their “failure” to have assimilated into the “distinct society” that is Quebec.

It is no coincidence that right-wing extremist groups informed by cultural nationalism are probably most visible in Quebec. More so than segments of the movement elsewhere in the country, Quebec hate groups define themselves through the lens of culture rather than race per se, and specifically Québécois culture. Their rhetoric parallels that of Marois, focusing on the “threat” posed to the French language and culture by the increasing presence of immigrants and especially Muslims. A current indicator of this is the appearance in Quebec of a German-based Islamophobic group known as Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West (PEGIDA) (Toronto Star, 2015). One of the Quebec group’s members told the Toronto Star that, “the incompatibility of Islam with the West is flagrant and that’s the reason that PEGIDA and the Western patriots are rising up. It’s not just to counter Islam but to say that if Islam doesn’t reform itself, Islam needs to get out of the West.”

Media (Mis)Representations The media exacerbate these tendencies. Popular and political understandings of Others are reinforced by the popular media. The diverse media are important sites from which our perceptions of difference are derived. It is in the movies, newspapers, even cartoons, for example, that we often first learn about the “essential” differences between groups. There, discriminatory language and stereotypes abound, allowing for widespread antipathy toward raced or gendered minorities, for example.

There are identifiable ways by which media shape our reality. First, “the media often provide our first and only point of contact with the world out there” (Fleras & Elliott, 2002, p. 181). In spite of the growing diversity of our nation, there are many people who have little or no contact with those who are not like them – who are not White, Christian, or heterosexual, for example. Thus, the only knowledge they have is gained through various media sources. To the extent that media perpetuate stereotypes, what people thus “know” may not be an accurate reflection of the Other. Based as they often are on simplified and stereotypical caricatures of particular groups, media images “miscast” the Other:

This miscasting seems to have fallen into a pattern: minorities have been trivialized as irrelevant or inferior, or demonized as a social menace and threat to society, or scapegoated as problem people creating social problems, or ridiculed for being too different or not different enough, or “projected” through the prism of Eurocentric fears and fantasies, or subjected to double-

standards that lampoon minorities regardless of what they do or don’t do

(Fleras & Elliott, 2002, p. 160).

The media define for us what is culturally acceptable and desirable. They reinforce notions of normativity and deviance, thereby supporting prevailing ideologies and hierarchies. These definitions can be very rigid, allowing very little room for variation. Typically, these are standards that preclude those who are not White, who are not Christian, and who are not straight. Similarly, the media shapes our understanding of acceptable and unacceptable relationships. The emphasis is on heterosexual monogamous relationships. However, the media also teach us lessons about preserving the “colour line” through their representations of intimate inter-racial relationships.

The prevailing trend has been to either deny their existence by rendering them invisible, or to portray them as “unnatural” border crossings.

Recent work on Islamophobic violence by Perry (forthcoming) revealed the extent to which this was the case with respect to representations of Muslims. As a male participant in that study claimed, Muslims are cast as “islamic, islamic, fundamentalism, murderer, terrorist, terrorist, terrorist. They repeat ten times a day every day and it has, I think it has an impact on other people.” In a 2002 nationwide survey of some 300 Canadian Muslims, the Council on American-Islamic Relations – Canada (CAIR-CAN, 2004) found that 55% of respondents thought the Canadian media were more biased since 9/11. A survey of 9 Canadian newspapers by the Canadian Islamic Congress (2005) noted an increase in anti-Muslim stereotypes after September 2001. More recently, Navigator Research found that, across Canadian mainstream media, 59% of news articles featuring Muslims were negative in tone (2013; see also Helly, 2004).

These representations are reproduced, albeit in even more extreme form, among RWE organizations. The white supremacist websites are replete with caricatures that feed on mediated images that vilify the “Other” in their midst. Rhetors reconstruct minorities in threatening or unsympathetic terms, so that violence perpetrated against these minorities loses its malevolent connotations. They are presented as unworthy of the respect that might otherwise inhibit violent interactions.

The age-old tradition of dehumanizing one’s victim has served hate groups well, especially with respect to their caricature of blacks and Jews. This portrayal of non-Whites as something less than human is readily apparent in cartoon images, for example, which paint blacks as ape-like, or Jews as spiders, serpents, or rodents. However, dehumanization also refers to characteristics that suggest lack of “civilized” nature, such as criminality, or excessive sexuality.

4.2 Exogenous Inhibiting Factors

Strong and Visible Law Enforcement Response

In the previous section, we noted that a lack of police attention or response was one of the factors that allowed RWE groups to grow. However, the reverse is also true. That a strong and visible law enforcement response is vital to resisting that growth was also an opinion shared across the interviews. There are two regions that we would like to single out as leaders in dealing with hate crime and extremism: British Columbia and Alberta. Both provinces have developed teams grounded in collaborative, multi-sectorial approaches to hate crime and extremism province-wide. These are intended to facilitate a systematic and coordinated response in both reactive and proactive contexts. This is accomplished by integrating breadth of expertise (e.g., police, policy makers, victim service providers, community organizations), and of reach with respect to audience and clients (e.g., equity seeking groups, police, policy makers).

These two teams are important and innovative because of the diverse nature of the services they provide, because of their strong engagement with the communities in which they operate, and because of their commitment to policy enhancement. The BC Hate Crime Team has both direct investigative and enforcement responsibilities as well as engaging in community outreach intended to educate the public and other law enforcement agencies. The Alberta Hate Crime Committee as of yet has no direct enforcement role, but is very active in providing guidance and advice to law enforcement bodies that are investigating hate and extremism. It also has a significant community education focus. Both teams are notable for their inclusive memberships and commitment to community involvement. Both teams are also in the position to offer policy guidance at all relevant levels of decision-making. On all three fronts, then, there is much to be learned by other agencies about how to think about their role in policing, preventing and otherwise responding to extremism.

We would add, too, that Quebec is poised to join this short list of regions actively monitoring and responding to RWE violence. The Sûreté du Québec appears to have made considerable progress in identifying and engaging with RWE organizations in that province in recent years. Their counter-terrorism team was among the most forth-coming and informed participants in the project. They were very active in gathering intelligence about a wide array of RWE groups and activities in the province.

There are also some individual police services that have proven themselves to be proactive in responding to the RWE threat. Calgary and Edmonton are making strides in this direction, as is York Regional Police Services. Each has made some commitment to monitoring hate group and hate crime more generally. However, this is not the norm. Most police services can learn a great deal from those agencies that acknowledge and respond to the threat.

Presence of Anti-Racist Movement

Another important source of support for law enforcement initiatives are community partners engaged in anti-racism/anti-fascism work. Indeed, one police officer suggested that rights activists are crucial to counter-extremism initiatives because they “fill in the gaps where police can’t go.” The BC and Alberta hate crime teams have learned this lesson, and rely very heavily on their community partners for intelligence as well as counter-extremism organizing and activity.

Some participants suggested that Toronto was an interesting location for its apparent ability to resist the emergence of hate groups. Of course, there is considerable disagreement as to whether this was the case. Law enforcement seemed to reject the notion that the city was home to any locally active groups; community activists, and RWE group members countered this assertion. Nonetheless, what is apparent is that there have been few public RWE activities such as marches or demonstrations in that most diverse Canadian city. Participants attribute this to the remarkably rich diversity of the city – recall the mantra “Diversity is Our Strength” noted above. These informants insisted that far right activity simply would not gain ground, and that there would be immediate media and social media “outing” of extremists. One officer suggested that symbols such as the “Redneck Pride Alberta Wide” image referred to above would be quickly vandalized in that city.

The community reaction to the Immigration Watch Canada (IWC) anti-immigrant pamphletting in Brampton in 2013 and 2014 lends some credence to this proposition. There was zero tolerance shown for this; representatives from an array of faith communities, and from different ethno-racial communities were united in their very public condemnation of IWC’s activities. The show of solidarity sent a very loud message that such sentiments would not go unchallenged. A similar fate befell PEGIDA on the occasion of their first planned march in Quebec in March of 2015. The protestors so far outnumbered the PEGIDA contingency that police encouraged them to cancel the event, and in fact, escorted them safely out of the area.

Anti-Racist Action (ARA) and Anti-Racist Canada (ARC) represent another illustration of direct challenges to the rhetoric and activities of racist RWE groups. They engage in ongoing monitoring and “outing” of individuals and groups, as well as directly confronting them in public. This is especially the case for ARA, which often gathers members and supporters when RWE marches or demonstrations are planned. Both make it very difficult for groups to fly under the radar, and for them to gain traction at public events.

The work of the Southern Poverty Law Center in the U.S. provides a model worth emulating. Its director, Morris Dees, has led dozens of devastating civil rights lawsuits against RWE individuals and groups. Among those he has managed to purge are the White Aryan Resistance, the United Klans of America, and the Aryan Nations. Perhaps most notably, he led the case of Berhanu v. Metzger. The best summary of that case can be found on the SPLC website.

In 1988, Tom and John Metzger sent their best White Aryan Resistance (WAR) recruiter to organize a Portland skinhead gang. After being trained in WAR’s methods, the gang killed an Ethiopian student. Tom Metzger praised the skinheads for doing their “civic duty.”

Center attorneys filed a civil suit, Berhanu v. Metzger, asserting the Metzgers and WAR were as responsible for the killing as the Portland skinheads. In October 1990, a jury agreed and awarded $12.5 million in damages to the family of the victim, Mulugeta Seraw.

In 1994, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to review Metzger’s appeal, allowing Center attorneys to begin distributing funds from the sale of WAR’s assets. The principal beneficiary is Seraw’s son, Henock, who receives monthly payments from WAR’s bank account (http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/case-docket/berhanu-v-metzger).

In Canada, similar efforts have been made to challenge hate and extremism through the law. Alberta’s John Humphrey Centre for Peace and Human Rights published a report in which they profiled individuals in that province who had also engaged in landmark law suits, some of which involved RWE actors (Clement & Vaugeois, 2013). More specifically, attorney Richard Warman has attempted to emulate Dees’s strategy. He has used the recently repealed s. 13 of the Human Rights Act to launch legal actions against online hate speech. Early in 2014, for example, in Warman v. Fournier, the Ontario Superior Court found that “The continued publication of libellous material would cause irreparable harm to the plaintiff’s reputation and prohibited material has already been found to constitute libel.” In consequence, the relevant website, freedominion.ca, was temporarily taken down.

However, there is a fine balance to be struck here. Sometimes, these same organizations can be counter-productive. The legal route, for example, can energize the opposition rather than quelling it. Some participants feared that flashy trials could have the effect of giving the RWE activists a soapbox from which to preach. Warman’s efforts, for instance, have mobilized Ezra Levant into ongoing public diatribes on air and in print. Direct confrontations like those associated with ARA can and have induced violence on site as well as subsequent retaliatory violence. Activists engaged in counter-reactive measures need to be fully aware of the potential impacts of their own actions.

Community Resiliency: Lethbridge

We want to close this section with something of a case study in community resiliency. On the second research trip to Alberta, we included Lethbridge in the plans, having read and heard that this was one of many small Alberta towns with a deeply embedded history of racism (Lund, 2006). Here, we thought, would be a community ripe for the picking at the hands of right-wing extremists. To our surprise, we found quite the opposite. This was instead a small city that had managed to overcome that history, face racism head on, and run it out of town.

First, a little background on the community. Lethbridge sits close to the U.S. border, just over 100 kilometres north of Montana. It has a largely White population, numbering just under 100,000. There are still large First Nations and Metis populations in the city – around 5000, or 6%. Nearly 3% of the population is Asian. It is only recently that demographics have shifted noticeably, with a small influx of African immigrants, largely Bhutanese and Somali. There are now more than 30 distinct ethnic communities in the city. More than one participant – both from Lethbridge and elsewhere – referred to Lethbridge with such labels as the Canadian Bible Belt, or Mississippi of Canada. The first refers to the heavy concentration of traditionally conservative denominations such as Catholics, Hutterites, and Mennonites. The reference to the Mississippi of Canada evokes the history of segregation and racism that has blemished the image of this southern Alberta community (Lund, 2006).

These characteristics would seem to weave a tapestry with threads of hate. The proximity of Montana and Idaho, with their vibrant RWE presence; the history of marginalization of Aboriginal communities; the current demographic shifts; ongoing residential and labour segregation; and entrenched religious conservatism could easily coalesce as a breeding ground for RWE activism. Apparently, this was also what one particular RWE group anticipated. Each informant we met with in Lethbridge referred to the same episode and the community response to it. In 2010, a small Aryan Nations group, presumably based in Calgary, gathered at Henderson Lake, just a short distance from Lethbridge.

Ostensibly there for a rally, the members made some attempts at recruiting through invitations to their “party,” leafleting, and attempts to make connections in local bars. However, they had no success. In fact, they were met with a wall of resistance. Some informants even suggested that many members of the community made clear their outright anger and hostility toward the group. The backlash was swift and clear. Reminiscent of the successful American initiative (www.niot.org), Lethbridge citizens insisted “not in our town.” In the end, the recruiters returned to Calgary without having gained any traction in the city.

Lethbridge informants attributed their capacity to resist to recent mobilization around “reweaving the fabric of society” in which there was a concerted collective effort. They argued that Lethbridge was a community “equipped to respond” by virtue of the widely shared commitment to address broad problems associated with racism.

Participants described a “really committed cadre” of people addressing the issue in both proactive and reactive ways. This pledge was shared across sectors and layers of the community, from community activists, to a prior mayor, to the chief of police, to individual citizens. Moreover, the intent to challenge hate head on was embedded in municipal policy, as evidenced in, for example, Building Bridges: A Welcoming and Inclusive Lethbridge – Community Action Plan 2011–2021 (City of Lethbridge, 2010). The plan included reference to key objectives, including:

  1. Facilitate positive integration of groups

  2. Prevent and respond effectively to acts of racism, discrimination and marginalization in the community

  3. Address systematic barriers faced by racialized and marginalized populations

  4. Promote a culture that respects and values cultural diversity and inclusion (City of Lethbridge, 2010, p. 10).

To this end, the Action Plan obligates the city to

1) Increase vigilance against systematic and individual racism and discrimination.

2) Monitor racism and discrimination in the community more broadly as well as municipal actions taken to address racism and discrimination.

3) Inform and support individuals who experience racism and discrimination.

4) Support policing services in their efforts to be exemplary institutions in the fight against racism and discrimination.

5) Provide equal opportunities as an employer, service provider and contractor.

6) Support measures to promote equity in the labour market.

7) Support measures to challenge racism and discrimination and promote diversity and equal opportunity in housing.

8) Involve citizens by giving them a voice in initiatives and decision marking.

9) Support measures to challenge racism and discrimination and promote diversity and equal opportunity in the education sector and in other forms of learning.

10) Promote respect, understanding and appreciation of cultural diversity and the inclusion of Aboriginal and racialized communities into the cultural fabric of the municipality (City of Lethbridge, 2010, p. 11)

What is especially significant about Lethbridge’s approach is the emphasis that is placed on community-wide capacity building. Resisting the spread of RWE groups was not seen as only the responsibility of law enforcement, or the educational systems, or equity seeking groups. Rather, it was recognized as the collective responsibility of all elements of the community. It was inclusive of existing structures and organizations, but also of citizens at large. The idea of “voice” appears to be a common refrain. We heard it from participants, but it is also embedded in policy, as seen in the list above, as well as the following statement of engagement:

Creating a welcoming and inclusive community will require that a diverse and broad range of partners be identified and engaged in the process. The Inclusion coordinator/CMARD team will contact potential partners that represent a variety of interests such as non-profit organizations, community-based organizations, public institutions, private enterprises, Aboriginal and First Nations organizations, municipalities, regional districts, business organizations, chamber of commerce, faith organizations, government, business, labour, cultural organizations and/or other key partners (City of Lethbridge, 2010, p. 20).

And again later in the same document:

Working with others will be one of the key elements that will lead to success. It will be necessary to establish protocols to work with organizations such as human rights tribunals, legal clinics, police services, counseling/advocacy services that can help facilitate prevention, interventions and remedies for those who experience racism and discrimination (City of Lethbridge, 2010, p. 22).

There are important lessons to be learned from Lethbridge’s philosophy and practice. How might larger centres exploit these techniques to enhance their own resiliency?

How does any community develop the sorts of multi-sector collaborations that seem to work there?

5. The Next Steps

There is also much to be learned about confronting extreme right wing groups from the broader findings represented here. Understanding the strengths and weaknesses of the groups themselves can provide leverage for then exploiting them as a means of debilitating them. Similarly, understanding the enabling and inhibiting factors in the communities that are challenged by their presence offers guidance on how other locales might immunize themselves from right-wing extremism. The task is daunting, and clearly cannot be restricted to a police response. The foundations of right-wing extremism are complex and multi-faceted, grounded in both individual and social conditions; so too must counter-extremist initiatives be multi-dimensional, drawing upon the strengths and expertise of diverse sectors: law enforcement certainly, but also education, social services, public health, youth workers, and victim service providers to name a few.

We take our cue from the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (SDI), which has established itself as a global leader in research and praxis around RWE. Their 2014 report On the Front Line (Ramalingham, 2014) is an invaluable guide to global best practices around countering RWE. The report is grounded in interviews with more than 120 government and non-government practitioners in the area of tackling right wing extremism, across 10 European nations. On the basis of those interviews, the report identifies seven key approaches, each of which is detailed below, with efforts to identify parallel resources in Canada:

5.1 Diverting People from Getting Involved

According to the timeworn adage, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. This is an apt reminder that, in countering RWE, the most effective strategies are preventative rather than reactive. The goal should be to inhibit recruitment to extremist groups. Early intervention is key. Recognizing this, a slate of scholars (e.g., Pressman, 2009) and research centres (e.g., SDI) have tasked themselves with creating matrices for identifying the potential for vulnerability to extremist recruitment. Most recently, these have been developed in an effort to identify religious extremists, but have some value in providing warning signs of involvement in other types of extremism, including RWE. Appendix VI provides three such examples.

The value of early warning signs is that they enable intercessions, hopefully before individuals become fully engaged with extremist ideologies and groups. Fortunately, a number of organizations across the globe – but especially in the UK – focus explicitly on diverting individuals from getting involved in hate movements in the first place. For example, the Against Violent Extremism (AVE) network is a global organization that counters extremist narratives and prevents the recruitment of ‘at risk’ youth. Made up of former violent extremists and survivors of violent extremism, AVE utilizes the lessons, experiences, and networks of those who have experienced extremism first-hand. In Canada, AVE developed the “Communitas Project” with the goal of strengthening individuals and communities through social interdependence, active citizenship, dialogue, and youth leadership. This project spotlights the various needs of diverse communities, and has branched out to Montreal, Ottawa, the Greater

5 For each of the key strategies, the SDI report indicates core approaches. We include those here at the beginning of each respective section.

Toronto Area, London, Calgary, Edmonton, and Vancouver.

Life After Hate (LAH) is a non-profit consultancy and speaker agency that provides organizations with the information needed to implement long-term solutions to counter all types of violent extremism and terrorism. Notably, it works with leaders in a number of sectors, including foreign and domestic governments, military, international security and intelligence, policy makers, law enforcement officials, and the private sectors, to name a few. An important feature of LAH is its core members – they are reformed extremists. A key member and motivational speaker, Tony McAleer, is a former right wing extremist, and one of Canada’s more notorious members of the movement. Here, he shares messages of hope and compassion to a range of audiences, addressing issues around violence and extremism, and offering proactive solutions to divert individuals from entering a life of hate.

With youth as the target audience, school based anti-hate programs are especially widespread in North America and Europe. In the UK, for example, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), National Union of Teachers (NUT) and the Anthony Walker Foundation (AWF) have produced the Schools Project: Racist and Religious Hate Crime to counter prejudice among youth. The scenarios and classroom activities are intended to initiate discussion, and to “increase pupils understanding of hate crime and prejudice and enable them to explore ways of challenging it.” The program is intended as inoculation against the development of extremist ideologies.

In light of the emerging connections, noted above, between RWE and MMA, a Polish initiative stands out. The Mixed Martial Arts Club invites skinheads who have been involved in, or shown interest in, cage fighting or MMA into a group that includes MMA training alongside dialogue that counters the allure of right-wing extremism. This is an apt illustration of how the use of “recreational” activities favoured by right-wing extremists can become a venue for redirecting their energies.

5.2 Responding to Hate Speech and Incitement/Providing Counter-Narratives

Counter-narratives need to target right-wing extremists and potential recruits “where they live.” They must reflect the interests and day-to-day realities of those directly involved. The MMA club noted above is one such illustration. More broadly, however, contemporary efforts to reach these activists and sympathizers could not do better than to engage through social media and other similar forms. As noted in this report, a significant site of exchange and recruitment for right-wing extremists is online, through websites and social media venues. Consequently, parallel or even directly engaged online resources must be exploited. For instance, Bailey (2006) would have “antagonists” engaging with the hate movement online. Zickmund (1997) draws attention to the “dance” between racists and anti-racists online, where by the latter facilitate an “ideological dialectic” (Zickmund, 1997, p. 200). A quick look at some of the publicly accessible white power sites reveals some attempts by anti-racists to challenge right wing positions. A similar reading of the “comments” sections that follow online news stories about racist or homophobic incidents, for example, also reveals the steps of the “dance” to which Zickmund refers. There are frequent exchanges to be found there between “right” wing and “left” wing posters.

There are also legal and technical avenues with which to respond to hate speech, especially that found online. Indeed, most western nations have attempted to respond to cyberhate and related Internet phenomena through legal regulation. Legislators have passed new laws to address online extremism, and police agencies have trained open source analysts; and intelligence officers monitor the online activities of extremists of all stripes. The law enforcement landscape has had to change to come into line with the demands of the evolution of communication technologies.

These dilemmas notwithstanding, western nations have struggled with the legal regulation of cyberhate and extremism online. In many cases, existing legislation has been invoked, as in the case of defamation laws, incitement to hatred policies, and human rights legislation. Bailey (2006) urges the innovative application of intellectual property law, libel law, and even the filing of union grievances in work places (e.g. libraries) that are exposed to online hate.

There is another way to use the law to challenge right-wing extremists. In the last 20 years, Richard Warman, a Canadian human rights lawyer and activist, has dedicated an enormous amount of his time, energy, and resources to monitoring the activity of some of Canada’s most notorious and vocal white nationalists, essentially countering hate speech and incitement in the country. His efforts have focused primarily on hate propaganda found on the Internet, with an emphasis on the activity of the far right. He also initiated a number of successful complaints against the likes of Paul Fromm, Marc Lemire, Ezra Levant, Tomasz Winnicki, and Terry Tremaine. Efforts of individuals like Warman can be effective in challenging hateful narratives online. However, more emphasis on state intervention would be welcome.

The law is not the only – or perhaps even the most effective – weapon available to counter cyberhate. Bailey (2006) suggests additional mechanisms that can supplement legal intervention. The first of these is the simplest, and is especially useful in protecting children and specific contexts from hate speech. This is filtering, which allows the prevention of specified content from accessibility. A second option – one that is widely used – is the development of monitoring organizations. Entities like the Anti-Defamation League, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, and the Southern Poverty Law Center are powerful examples of this. Not only do they identify and “count” hate sites, they also counter them with high profile educational campaigns. Third among Bailey’s (2006) suggestions is the use of hate speech hotlines, a slightly more passive means of monitoring online hate activity. Web users report hate sites and incidents of cyberhate, which may then be investigated and passed on to law enforcement or other authorities for official action.

Finally, is Internet service provider (ISP) self-regulation, in which service providers assume the responsibility of cleaning up the Web. Canadian and German ISP organizations, for example, have developed codes of conduct for their members. It is not unheard of for ISPs to remove content, and in fact shut down sites, typically in response to public complaints or the actions of anti-racist advocates. Of course, this too, raises the spectre of censorship, which is such anathema to free speech advocates.

5.3 Managing Threats to Public Order

Key informants, community-based organization, and police officers in this study agreed that a key factor enabling the emergence and sustainability of right wing groups was a weak law enforcement response. Typically, activity of the far right has not been monitored or taken seriously, and while community groups confirmed a level of right wing activity, there was a tendency for officials to deny or trivialize the presence and threat. In a sense, law enforcement officials have been more reactive than proactive, undermining right wing groups as “three man wrecking crews” or “losers without a cause.”

However, in contrast, we also identified areas in which law enforcement have taken the lead on combatting hate crime and extremism in Canada. British Columbia and Alberta, for example, have demonstrated a strong and visible law enforcement response by developing teams that are grounded in collaborative and multi-sectorial approaches to addressing hate. Here, they integrate and utilize an array of experts, such as police officers, policy-makers, victim service providers, and community organizations. They are strongly engaged with the communities in which they operate, and they rely heavily on the public to enhance policy. Most police services can learn a great deal from these agencies that acknowledge and attempt to respond to the potential threat of right-wing extremism.

It is also clear that, in many communities, law enforcement are closely monitoring and responding to RWE activity. The Sûreté du Québec is clearly cognizant of the diverse RWE groups in that province, and keeps a watchful eye on them. Calgary police are also vigilant in their treatment of right-wing extremists, keeping the heat on them to the extent that they have successfully “beheaded” some of the most active groups through arrests, or even through surveillance that has gently encouraged activists to move on to other cities. Finally, RWE marches and demonstrations in cities like London, Montreal, Calgary, and Vancouver are closely monitored by law enforcement, particularly in the interests of minimizing the likelihood of violent exchanges between RWE and anti-racist activists.

An emerging challenge to policing RWE is that associated with “lone wolves.”

These loners have proven to be dangerous and unpredictable – as was seen with Justin Bourque in 2014 and Norman Raddatz in 2015 – and it is a tiring task for law enforcement officials to anticipate and manage such threats. Nevertheless, officials can be proactive by identifying and documenting potential warning signs, such as online presence and activity, and offline activity such as displaying white supremacy flags.

5.4 Ending Violent Behaviour and Fragmenting Movements

The same law enforcement initiatives noted above come into play in fragmenting movements as well. The endogenous inhibiting factors noted above suggest that there are exploitable weaknesses within the groups themselves. Key limitations of the movement are the incessant group infighting, the general lack of ideological commitment, and subsequent weak leadership. Our findings indicate that many individuals seek comfort in the initial appearance of group solidarity, but it is transient and temporary. Furthermore, most leaders in the movement are tough and charismatic, but they are often uneducated, cannot articulate themselves, and lack a strategic capacity to maintain group cohesion. When leaders are in fact sustainable, they usually become known to the police, which in turn can weaken their position within a group.

That said, our findings suggest that a crucial way for law enforcement officials to manage the threat of the far right is to target their leaders. Doing so will most likely render these unstable groups even more unstable, thus fragmenting whatever group cohesion they already have. Right wing extremist groups rarely have a shelf life for more than a few months in Canada, and even less so for groups with weak leadership.

European countries have also invested a significant amount of resources into counter-narrative initiatives, such as Exit programs in Germany and Sweden, offering violent extremists a means of disengagement (Ramalingham & Tuck, 2014). In short, these programs attempt to challenge the belief structure and behavioural aspects of an individual, and offer them a route out of extremist groups. According to Ramalingham (2014), these strategies target three processes: group dissolution, disengagement, and deradicalization. Indeed, an entire industry has grown up around deradicalization. Like the risk assessment strategies, the primary focus of these has been on fundamentalist Islamic terrorism. That said, bodies like Exit, and AVE noted above, specifically target right-wing extremists.

5.5 Supporting and Empowering Victims

The inclusion of affected groups into relevant conversations on community security is key to the creation of safe spaces and to effective community and victim services more generally. In short, communities and their members want to be heard, to have a voice in policies, practices, and initiatives that affect them. Rather than the paternalistic imposition of programming by a “benevolent” state, anti-hate/extremism initiatives must also be informed by those in the best position to understand what is needed – members of targeted communities themselves, including those who have actually experienced hate crime. Otherwise, policymakers run the risk of developing counter-productive initiatives or strategies that are far removed from the experiences and informed insights of targeted individuals and communities. Consequently, a number of civil society organizations have emerged globally, intended to address the needs of affected communities by acting as a voice for victims of hate crimes, especially by serving as intermediaries with the authorities; and providing practical assistance to victims of hate crimes, such as legal advice, counseling and other services.

Many of these same bodies are actively engaged in providing a diverse array of victim supports, including legal representation or advice, counseling services, and mediation (http://www.stophateuk.org/about/). Programs and practices that are directed to specific individuals and communities at risk of being targeted by right-wing extremists provides skills and awareness that empowers them. These programs are oriented toward strengthening individuals’ capacity to counter the effects if not the incidence of extremist violence.

One such initiative – Gender Journeys – provides support for trans individuals negotiating their transitions. Developed in 2005 at the Sherbourne Health Centre in Toronto, the program has expanded to several other communities across the nation. It is widely recognized as a powerful support to those exploring their gender identity and/or expression. It was designed so that people in the early stages of transition could discuss changes in relationships with loved ones, grapple with discrimination, share tips about dressing to pass, discover new community resources, and use the process of dialogue and reflection to become more secure and resilient in their new identities (Russell & Doctor, 2008, p. 5).

It also offers a safe environment where trans people can stand together in solidarity against that too-often hostile world, can protest the injustice that still permits trans people to lose jobs or housing because they dare to be themselves, to share complex and varied strategies of survival, and to expand and strengthen demands for basic human rights (Russell & Doctor, 2008, p. 9).

Clearly, a key area of emphasis is on empowerment, on strengthening individuals’ capacities to make sense of and confront hostility directed their way.

Another example is Egale Canada, the nation’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer (LGBTQ) human rights organization, advocating equality, diversity, education, and social justice. It supports and empowers victims of hate through research, education, and community engagement initiatives. Egale also has the “Courage in the Face of Hate” (CFH) project, which brings Canadians together to share their experiences with bullying and hate. The purpose of this project is to:

As strong advocates of community, B’nai Brith, is another advocate for victims of hate. It intervenes in courts on behalf of targeted minority groups, forms important strategic alliances with Canadian NGOs, and develops Holocaust educational programs in schools across the nation, to name but a few initiatives. The organization also offers an Anti-Hate Hotline (1-800-892-2624), wherein victims can call 24/7 for frontline counseling and assistance. The National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) is another non-profit organization dedicated to protecting the rights and liberties of Canadian Muslims, and by extension of all Canadians. The NCCM is leading voice for the Muslim community. It promotes public interests and challenging Islamophobia and other forms of xenophobia through anti-discrimination and outreach services, as well as media campaigns and public advocacy initiatives.

Another organization that gives victims a voice is the Anti-Racism Resource Centre (CRRC). It was created by the “Community and Race Relations Committee” as a clearinghouse of information for victims of hate, racism, and discrimination in Peterborough and surround area, and it provides victims with access to justice and education. Lastly, Victims of Violence is a Canadian registered charitable organization that promotes public safety and the protection of society. It offers a number of services and referrals, however the main focus is on conducting research on issues affecting victims of violent crimes, acting as a resource centre for victims and the community, and providing long-term support and guidance to those in need. Overall, these community-based organizations are but a few avenues that should be used to empower victims of extremist hate and discrimination.

5.6 Raising Awareness of the Problem

In an environment infused with discourses focused on jihadist extremism and violence, it has become a daunting challenge for community members, anti-racists, and academics to highlight the presence of the far right in Canada. A decade ago, on the basis of an extensive series of oral and written submissions on hate crime, the Ontario Hate Crime Community Working Group (2006) came to the profound conclusion that hate is so commonplace and institutionalized that is it almost impossible for those outside the vulnerable communities to fully appreciate its magnitude or to recognize it as a scourge on our society as a whole... when the public lacks cultural awareness and understanding of difference, this contributes to exclusion, victimization, fear and tolerance of hate crime (p. 32).

This study has itself revealed that while right-wing-extremist hate groups and individuals have garnered very little media, law enforcement or political attention, their presence is far more widespread than one may assume (see Appendix IV for a list of Canadian incidents related to right-wing extremism). An important first step in confronting the movement, then, is to convince the broader community that it constitutes a potential threat, in short, to get right-wing extremism on the public agenda. As a starting point for such initiatives, many NGOs, for example, engage in ongoing monitoring of hate incidents and hate groups globally, regionally and nationally: Human Rights Watch, OSCE, Southern Poverty Law Centre, B’Nai Brith, Council on American-Islamic Relations, to name a few. The readily available reports published by these agencies provide an overview of the demographics, distribution, and, to a lesser extent, dynamics of hate crime. However, few people go in search of such information, so the key is to find ways to expand the audience by “pushing out” the information. Social media has become crucial to a much broader capacity to share information. Most anti-hate organizations like those noted above are very active on Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, and other interactive sites. Use of these venues will continue to be key to engaging an otherwise uninformed public.

Anti-Racist Canada (ARC) is a group of like-minded individuals who combat right wing hatred, bigotry, intolerance, and violence through monitoring and reporting to law enforcement officials. In the ARC collective, they have documented what they call “A History of Violence: 1970 – 2015,” essentially raising awareness by revealing activity of the far right. Their website also includes an array of web links that further reveals the dark and often hide world of the far right, including “Nazi Watch Toronto” and “Stand Up To Hate.” Similarly, Daniel Gallant, a former right-wing extremist and current anti-violence activist in Canada, offers a variety of resources to raise awareness about issues involving the far right. For example, the newly launched “Extreme Dialogue” initiative is a series of short documentary films that shares personal stories of Canadians who were affected by violent extremism, one being the story of Daniel. The purpose of the project is to offer young people a positive alternative to the increasing amounts of extremist material found on the Internet and social media outlets.

One People’s Project (OPP) is U.S. based initiative that researches and reports on activities of far right groups and individuals. They are dedicated to being vigilant about the potential threats posed by right-wing extremists, and they encourage communities to follow suit. OPP also documents the activity of right wing in Canada, raising awareness about the state of the movement just north of the U.S. border. Another U.S. initiative that challenges the right and advocates for social just is Political Research Associates (PRA). In short, PRA raises public awareness by producing investigate reports, articles, and resource kits, all in the name of advocating for LGBTQ rights, racial/immigrant justice, civil liberties, and economic justice.

5.7 Pushing Public Agencies to Act

A subsidiary component of many of the anti-racist/anti-hate initiatives noted above is their role in challenging public officials to take a public stance against RWE. Our findings reveal the enabling impact that contemporary conservative politics has on right-wing extremism, wherein anti-democratic and anti-immigrant rhetoric and practices lend legitimacy to hate mongers in Canada. In Ontario, for example, we have seen a wave of far right extremists entering the political arena, including Jeff Goodall’s battle for Oshawa City Council, and Don Andrews’s run for Toronto mayoralty. Inflammatory actions and statements by public figures exacerbate the tensions that already exist in some communities. Justice Eliana Marengo’s refusal to hear the case of a woman who appeared in court in a hijab plays to the Islamophobia already apparent in Quebec. That the Prime Minister of Canada supported the action – calling the wearing of hijabs “offensive” – rather than reproaching it is even more problematic and has been challenged by an array of politicians, media commentators, academics and community based groups. Collectively, those interested in social justice have a responsibility to continue to pressure government leaders to refrain from exclusionary language and practices.

Our study also revealed neglect – if not outright derision – of the very idea that there is anything like a RWE threat in Canada. This was evident across the board, from law enforcement to the federal government. Police officers often were unaware of or unconcerned about potential RWE activity in their jurisdictions. Two highly publicized incidents reveal the federal government’s vision of RWE. Neither Justin Bourque’s killing of three RCMP officers, nor the Halifax mall shooting conspiracy were considered acts of terrorism or even right-wing extremism. The Minister of Justice at the time of the Halifax incident explicitly stated that the plot was not considered “terrorism” because it was “not culturally motivated.” This was in spite of the evidence of the suspects’ extensive development and use social of media sites rife with Nazi propaganda and symbolism. Ironically, however, the Minister’s statement was made just a month before The Toronto Star (2015) publicized an internal CSIS document asserting that lone wolf right-wing extremists represented a greater risk than lone wolf Islamic radicals.

The CSIS report just noted is a welcome sign. Prior reports tended to downplay the risk of RWE. A 2012 CSIS report, for example, stated that the extreme right wing was marginal, and “do not overly propose serious acts of violence” (CSIS, 2012, p. 8). The findings here belie that assessment. Given the number of attacks on Canadian minority groups, along with the aggression that often accompanies police interactions with Freemen, there is a need to acknowledge the presence and impact of RWE groups and individuals. This study was one such effort to lay the groundwork for further assessments of the movement in Canada. Emerging research consortiums – like the Canadian Network for Research on Terrorism, Security & Society (http://www.tsas.ca) – have an important role to play in nurturing and publicizing work in the area. As noted at the outset, there has not been much academic interest in the field since the late 1990s. This generation of scholarship has considerable ground to make up in creating and mobilizing knowledge on right-wing extremism in Canada.

There are other signs of public agencies invested in challenging right-wing extremism in Canada. This study found that those bodies that have acted against the movement have been met with a degree of success. For example, the persistent surveillance and subsequent imprisonment of right wing leaders Kyle McKee and Robert Reitmeier has minimized the level of right wing activity in Alberta. The formation of the BC Hate Crime Team has both raised awareness of issues relating to the far right, and has promoted other law enforcement agencies to be proactive agents of change. And a police presence – in partnership with anti-racist groups – during right-wing marches and demonstrations in various Canadian cities have made it challenging for hate mongers to gain footing at these public events.

5.8 Conclusion: Creating Safe and Inclusive Communities

Ultimately, the goal of any research in the field of right-wing extremism is to facilitate efforts to nurture safe and inclusive communities in Canada. To that end, we argue for the necessity of multi-agency efforts coordinated around acknowledging and responding to RWE. The divisive rhetoric and damaging violence associated with this movement are shaped by and in turn shape the communities around them. The motivations for the formation of RWE beliefs derive from the confluence of multiple social processes and institutions. It is imperative, therefore, that it not been seen as only a law enforcement or intelligence issue. It is a social issue. We stress the need for law enforcement officials partner with various anti-hate community organizations and human rights activists, sharing both knowledge and ideas for change. Lethbridge, AB, for example, was cited as a strong example of the impact that multi-agency coalitions can have on resisting the encroachment of RWE.

There already exist in Canada a number of organizations are dedicated to creating safe and inclusive communities. For example, the Alberta Hate Crimes Committee (AHCC) developed a community response plan to counter hate, titled “Beyond Hate: A Resource Toolkit.” With the vision of fostering an environment that is inclusive, safe, respectful, and free of hate, this committee promotes an integrative approach to preventing, enforcing, and responding to bias-motivated activities in Alberta. It encourages law enforcement and government/community partnerships, and supports a collaborative and cooperative approach to developing relevant resources needed to combat hate. Not only is the AHCC designed to educate communities about prevention strategies and plans of action, it also offers a number of tools and resources to assists targets and communities of hate.

B’nai Brith Canada is another non-profit charitable organization and the independent voice for Canada’s Jewish community. It consists of a team of volunteers and professionals who offer wide-ranging educational and social programs, as well as community and volunteer services and initiatives. One of its many initiatives is to empower communities to take action by recognizing and providing practical strategies to counter violence and hate speech. This is done by unifying different segments of the Canadian population, including community members and leaders, anti-racist experts, educators, and government and law enforcement officials.

The Canadian Race Relations Foundation (CRRF) is another leading voice of change in Canada, with the intention of elimination racism and all forms of racial discrimination. It offers an array of programs, resources, and education and training to raise public awareness of the issues faced my members of Canada’s diverse segments. For example, the CRRF offers “Cross-Canada Workshops” to discuss issues that have emerged with the growth of Canadian multiculturalism, and to build knowledge around concerns faced by minority groups in the workplace and in their communities. The National Secretariat Against Hate and Racism in Canada (NSAHRC) also raises awareness around issues of inequality, racism, and hate involving Aboriginal people. Here, communications and information sharing activities, education and training, and advocacy and coalition building are but a few of the initiatives the NSAHRC does to raise awareness about legal issues faced by visible minorities. In addition, Canadian Anti-Racism Education and Research Society (CAERS) monitors white supremacy hate groups, and provides government and law enforcement agencies with strategic information on the their activity. CAERS also raises public awareness on serious issues concerning the rise of fascism in Canada, through various organized conferences and meetings, community initiatives, lobbying initiative, and educational initiatives.

While there are clearly challenges to overcome in getting RWE on the public agenda, and in subsequently confronting elements of the movement, there are also encouraging signs. This final section of the report has identified a number of agencies and organizations that acknowledge the presence, context and impacts of a loose RWE movement in Canada. They will no doubt continue to lead the way in nurturing the development of much needed research, theorizing, and policy making in Canada.

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APPENDIX I: Applying Black’s framework: Themes, Criteria and Data Collection



Source of data

Nature of data

Methods of



Interviews with law enforcement and community activists

Media coverage


Extent/frequency of extremist activities Nature of planned activities

Methods of


Methods: mass violence; extreme violence

Interviews with law enforcement and community activists

Court records

Group websites/blogs GTD

Media scan

Violent activities conducted/planned

Methods of



Media coverage Court records Interviews with community members and activists Interviews with law enforcement and intelligence communities

Web page hits Injury/damage caused by activities Public reaction (media coverage, letters to editor, blogs, etc.)

Objects or


Standard of collective liability

Interviews with hate group activists

Group websites/blogs Court records GTD

Targeted groups named

Objects or


Nature of “Grievance”

Interviews with hate group activists

Group websites/blogs Court records



Explicit ideological positions/statements


Agents of


Capacity to Organize

Interviews with hate group activists Interviews with law enforcement and community activists

Court records Group websites/blogs

Individuals connected to groups Forms of communication Planned activities Networks (online and otherwise)

Agents of


Covert/Overt Activity

Interviews with law enforcement and community activists

Court records

Group websites/blogs Media coverage

Potential, planned and completed activities

Visibility (websites,

demonstrations, etc.)


Racist/anti-racist environment

Interviews with law enforcement and community activists

Absent or weak

- Law enforcement activity

- Anti-racist organizing

- Human rights framework


APPENDIX II: Right Wing Extremist Groups in Canada: Past and Present

Current or recent (post-2010) in italics. [Lost in HTML conversion – Ed.]

  1. Aryan Brotherhood

  2. Aryan Guard

  3. Aryan Nations

  4. Black and Red Front

  5. Blood and Honour

  6. British Canada Party

  7. British Israel

  8. British People’s League (and Party)

  9. Canadian Action

  10. Canadian Anti-Soviet Action Committee (CASAC)

  11. Canadian Association for Free Expression (CAFE)

  12. Canadian Ethnic Cleansing Team

  13. Canadian Heritage Alliance

  14. Canadian National Party

  15. Canadian Nazi Party

  16. Canadian White National Association

  17. Canadian Youth Corps

  18. Christ Is the Answer, Inc.

  19. Christian Defence Council

  20. Christian Fellowship Assembly

  21. Christian Mutual Defence Fund

  22. Church of Creativity

  23. Citizens for Foreign Aid Reform (CFAR)

  24. Combat 18

  25. Committee for Free Speech in Canada

  26. Concerned Parents of German Descent

  27. Creativity Movement Toronto

  28. Dead Boys Crew

  29. Direct Action

  30. Ezra Pound Institute of International Studies

  31. Federation for Individual Rights and Equality

  32. Freeman on the Land

  33. FreeMan Society of Canada

  34. German Freedom Fighters

  35. German-Jewish Historical Commission

  36. Heritage Front

  37. House of Freedom (and Free Speech)

  38. Human Life International

  39. Hungarian Freedom Fighters Federation

  40. Identity

  41. Immigration Watch Canada

  42. KKK: Brotherhood of Knights

  43. KKK: Canadian Knights of the Ku Klux Klan

  44. KKK: Invisible Empire, Knights of the Ku Klux Klan (British Columbia branch)

  45. KKK: National Knights of the Ku Klux Klan (Ontario)

  46. KKK: Imperial Knights of the Ku Klux Klan (British Columbia)

  47. KKK: Confederate Klans of Alberta

  48. Légion nationaliste

  49. Légionne nationale

  50. National Advancement Party

  51. National Alliance

  52. National Association for the Advancement of White People (NAAWP)

  53. National Citizens Alliance

  54. National Progressivist Party of Canada

  55. Nationalist Front

  56. Nationalist Party of Canada

  57. National Socialist Alliance

  58. National Socialist Liberation Front

  59. National Socialist Movement of Canada

  60. National Socialist (Nazi) Party

  61. National Socialist Party

  62. National Socialist Party of Canada (Quebec)

  63. National Social Underground

  64. National Social Party

  65. National Unity Party

  66. National White American Party

  67. Natural Order (and Faith)

  68. North American Labor Party

  69. Northwest Imperative

  70. Odinism Party for the Commonwealth of Canada

  71. Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West (PEGIDA)

  72. Quebec Radical

  73. Quebec Stompers

  74. Ragnarok

  75. Ragnarok Vinland

  76. Realist Party

  77. Samisdat Publishers Ltd.

  78. Slingers Social Credit Association of Ontario, Inc.

  79. Southern Ontario Skins

  80. TriCity Skins

  81. Troisieme Wai

  82. True White Boys Union of Fascists (Canada)

  83. United Anglo-Saxon Liberation Front

  84. United Klans of Canada

  85. Vinland Front

  86. Vinland Hammerskins Vinland Warriors Volksfront

  87. Waffen

  88. White Boys Posse

  89. White Knights

  90. Western Canada for Us

  91. Western European Bloodline

  92. Western Guard

  93. Western Guard Universal

  94. White Canada Council

  95. White Canada Party

  96. White Canada Christian/Patriot Rights Association

  97. White Legion

  98. White Nationalist Revolutionary Army

  99. White Nationalist Front

  100. White People’s Vigilantes

  101. World Freeman Society

APPENDIX III: Right Wing Ideologues, Gurus and Lone Wolves

  1. Andrews, Don (1942–present), a Canadian white supremacist who waged war with Toronto’s communists in the 1970s, was the first individual to be charged in Canada with wilfully promoting hatred. He also co-founded the “Edmund Burke Society” with Paul Fromm and Leigh Smith in 1967, and he founded the “Nationalist Party of Canada” in 1977 (Lauder, 2002), which he still leads. In 1974, Andrews ran for Toronto Mayor, coming in a distant second. Most recently, Andrews ran for the 2014 Toronto mayoral election (Hong, 2014), but he was unsuccessful.

  2. Arcand, Adrien (1899–1967) is the most notorious anti-Semitic in Quebec history, forming the “Parti National Society Chretien” in 1934, and expanding his organization to Toronto under the group name “National Christian Party of Canada” in 1938, later known as the “National Unity Party” in 1949 (Barrett, 1987).

  3. Beattie, John (1942–present) founded the Toronto based “Canadian Nazi Party” in 1965, and he later organized the “British People’s League” in the late 1980s (Lauder, 2002). In 1989, he hosted an outdoor white-pride concert that attracted neo-Nazi skinheads and members of the Canadian Airborne Regiment, and he recently ran for municipal office in Minden Hills, Ontario’s cottage country (Humphrey, 2014).

  4. Bourque, Justin Christien (1990–present) is accused of murdering three RCMP Mounties and injuring two other Mounties on June 4, 2014 in Monton, NB, and he is facing three charges of first-degree murder, and two counts of attempted murder (Brean, 2014; Carlson, 2014). Bourque was known for his anti-establishment Internet rants. His Facebook page portrayed him as a gun enthusiast and libertarian with an anti-authoritarian mindset, and his account was plagued by pro-gun, cop-hating, and liberal-bashing propaganda (CBC News, 2014; Friscolanti & Patriquin, 2014).

    Arguably, Bourque was a self-motivated ideologue, a lone wolf, and had no ties to any larger organization. Bourque used social media to educate himself on far-right libertarian preoccupations, such as the “militarization” of police, anti-authoritarianism, survivalism, “crownless kings,” confiscation of guns, and Canada’s readiness for a Russian invasion (Brean, 2014). Most interestingly, a Globe and Mail reporter found a large Confederate flag in Bourque’s mobile home (CBC News, 2014).

  5. Burdi, George (1970–present) was the Canadian leader of the “World Church of the Creator” (Kinsella, 2001), and he also organized Church of the Creator paramilitary training with a former member of the Canadian Forces Airborne Regiment (Michael, 2006). In addition, Burdi’s band “RaHoWa” formed in 1989, pushing the white-power music scene across the country (Kinsella, 2001), and he attempted to advance white-power music by launching “Resistance Records” (Michael, 2006).

  6. Christie, Douglas H. (1946–2013) founder of the “Canadian Free Speech League” in the 1970s, was one of Canada’s most well-known and controversial lawyers who advocated for what he called “freedom,” or more specifically, encouraged individual liberty and free speech. Critics, however, regarded him as dishonourable, labeling him as the legal defence and “battling barrister” for the anti-Semites, the white supremacist, the Holocaust deniers, and individuals charged with hate crimes (Watts & Dickson, 2013). For example, Christie represented some of Canada’s most reviled hatemongers, including: James Keegstra in 1983 (Alberta teacher, convicted of promoting hatred against Jewish people), Ernst Zundel in 1984 (a Toronto printer, Holocaust-denier and Nazi sympathizer, who printed and distributed an array of anti-Semitic literature), Paul Fromm (white supremacist and self-proclaimed Nazi-sympathizer), Malcolm Ross (anti-Semitic conspiracy theorist), Doug Collins, John Ross Taylor, and Terry Tremain (white supremacists), Michael Seifert (Nazi prison guard, convicted of war crimes), Tony McAleer (white supremacist and founder of Canadian Liberty Net), and Imre Finta (Nazi war criminal).

  7. Droege, Wolfgang (1948–2005), former “Nationalist Party of Canada member,” was an ultra-violent founding member of the “Heritage Front,” a successful neo-Nazi white supremacist organization established in 1989 (Kinsella, 2001; Lauder, 2002).

  8. Farr, Joseph (1900-unknown), a sergeant major in the British Army and member of the “Orange Order,” replaced Taylor to lead the “National Christian Party of Canada” in 1938 (Barrett, 1987).

  9. Fromm, Frederick Paul (1949–present), Canada’s central right wing leader and one of Canada’s most notorious white nationalist activist, is recognized for his relentless critique of and attacks on foreign aid, highlighting the effects of inflation, unemployment, and government spending sprees, to name but a few. His most noteworthy group associations were with the “Edmund Burke Society” and “Campus Alternative” in 1967, and Western Guard in 1972, and he is currently the leader of the Canadian Association for Free Expression (CAFE), and Citizens for Foreign Aid Reform (CFAR) (Kinsella, 2001). He has spoken at a number of white power rallies, such as the 1989 Toronto Skinheads “Domination Day celebration,” and many Heritage Front rallies, including a December 1990 rally commemorating the death of “Silent Brotherhood” leader Bob Mathews (Kinsella, 2001). He has also shared the stage with Holocaust denier David Irving, and has organized Canadian rallies to support Holocaust denier Ernest Zundel.

  10. Gostick, Ron (1918–2005), an active member of the social credit movement, established an Ontario-based anti-Semitic publication, “Canadian Intelligence Publications” in the late 1940s, and later created the “Christian Action Movement” in 1967. He also founded the “Canadian League of Rights (CLR)” in 1968 (Barrett, 1987).

  11. Harcus, Bill (1970–present) was the Grand Dragon of the “Manitoba Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.” He noticed that the Manitoba KKK was inactive since the late 1920s, and rather than joining the “Church of Jesus Christ Christian Aryan Nations” as did most Christian Identity followers, he formed a modern Klan in 1989. By early 1991, the Klan became a formidable force, and the group was running a 24-hour telephone hate line out of Harcus’s apartment (Kinsella, 2001).

  12. Levant, Ezra (1972–present), Calgary-raised lawyer and right wing pundit, is Canada’s best-known conservative analyst, political activist and TV host, and has been involved in several legal cases and controversies on free speech issues in Canada. Levant is the founder and former publisher of the “Western Standard” magazine in 2004, Canada’s only media outlet to publish the Danish cartoons of Mohammed. The magazine was eventually charged with two counts of “hate speech” offenses, of which went before the Alberta government’s human rights commission. Levant’s battles against those attacking freedom of speech resulted in significant changes in how Canadian human rights commissions operate, and he later wrote a book titled Shakedown on what he perceived as the illiberal nature of Canadian human rights commissions (Speakers’ Spotlight, 2014).

  13. Long, Terry was a former “Progressive Conservative” member and former “Social Credit” supporter, founding president of the “Christian Defence League,” and the political organizer and candidate for the “Western Canada Concept Party.” He led the Canadian sector of “Aryan Nations” in 1986, building a training camp in Caroline, AB and bringing together various extremists. He also staged a major rally and cross burning in Provost, AB (Barrett, 1987; Kinsella, 2001), and was known as ‘Canada’s high Aryan warrior priest’ (Kinsella, 2001).

  14. Lyle, Kelly Scott was Calgary’s “Final Solution Skinheads” leader in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and was considered one of the most dangerous members of the skinhead movement in Canada (Kinsella, 2001).

  15. Mac a’Phearsoin, Tearlach (1948–present) was one of Canada’s more elusive white supremacist leaders. In May of 1972, he and his colleagues registered the “Confederate Klans of Alberta” as a society under the provincial Societies Act, and he was eventually named “Imperial Wizard of the Confederate Klans of Alberta” (Kinsella, 2001). He also received copyright over a number of KKK symbols by the federal copyright office in Ottawa, and he attempted to license or sell rights to the KKK insignia to a variety of neo-Nazi groups, including the Canadian branch of the “Aryan Nations,” one of the most virulently anti-Semitic and violent-prone group in Canada (Kinsella, 2001).

  16. McKay, Matt, a former Master Corporal in the Canadian Airborne Regiment, was an extremely violent and hardcore “National Socialist” skinhead from Winnipeg. He was also a member of the “Manitoba Klan” and the “Final Solution Skinheads” in Winnipeg, and he frequently visited the “Final Solution Skinheads” in Edmonton. McKay was involved in the Somalia Affair scandal in 1993, in which he was caught on tape saying, “we ain’t killed enough niggers yet” (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014; Kinsella, 2001).

  17. McKee, Kyle (1987–present) was the ultra-violent founder and spokesperson for Alberta’s “Aryan Guard” in 2006. In 2010, he replaced the Aryan Guard and founded two ultra-violent offshoot white supremacist groups, Western European Bloodline (WEB), and Blood and Honour (Jarvies, 2012; One People’s Project, 2011).

  18. Menard, Robert is the Director of the World Freeman Society and a “guru” or “poster boy” for the loosely knit “Freeman on the Land” movement in Canada. The movement is as an anti-government group of “sovereign citizens” and “detaxers” who refuse to be governed by human laws, disrupt court operations, and frustrate the legal rights of governments, corporations, and individuals (Bell, 2012). Police are concerned that that this group, which preaches endlessly online, is growing in numbers as the economy worsens, and may become increasingly violent (Bell, 2012; CBC News, 2012; Tucker, 2013; Zerbisias, 2013).

  19. Nerland, Carney was a self-confessed fascist Saskatchewan leader of the Ku Klux Klan and Aryan Nations. In 1991, he shot and killed a Cree man in a pawn shop, and was charged with manslaughter and was sentenced to four-years in prison (Kinsella, 2001).

  20. Noble, Keith Francis William (Bill) (1976–present), also recognized as “Exterminance” and “Leto Atreides II” on racist websites, message boards, and forums, is well known to law enforcement officials for spreading messages of White Pride, becoming a fixture on the Stormfront and VNN forums, as well as the now obsolete Western Canada for Us (WCFU) forums in 2004. He is also a member of the “National Socialist Party of Canada,” and was the founder of the now defunct “National Progressivist Party of Canada.” It is also alleged by Simon Wiesenthal Centre researchers in Toronto and Los Angeles that Noble registered the “Aryan Guard” website on June 17, 2007, and that he was behind a popular flyer campaign targeting immigrants in Calgary (CNW, 2007).

  21. Raddatz, Norman Walter, described as anti-Semitic, anti-government, and homophobic, is the alleged shooter in the death of an Edmonton police officer on June 8, 2015 in West Edmonton. When members of the hate crimes unit visited Raddatz’s home to serve him with an arrest warrant for criminal harassment, he unloaded a high-powered rifle on officers, killing one and wounding another (CBC News, 2015; Simons, 2015). He was suspected of harassing a local Jewish man and his family for a year-and-a-half, intimidating them with hateful messages (Simons, 2015). Raddatz had a lengthy criminal record of hate-related offenses (Canadian Press, 2015; CBC News, 2015; Simons, 2015), but it is unclear whether the lone-offender was affiliated with a particular far-right group.

  22. Reitmeier, Robert is the co-founder of Western European Bloodline (WEB). He is ultra-violent, and was charged with second-degree murder in a deadly and brutal attack in Calgary in 2011 (CBC News Calgary, 2011).

  23. Taylor, John Ross (1910–1994) was first named by Arcand to lead the “National Christian Party of Canada” in Ontario in 1938, and he later created a right wing mail-order business called the “Natural Order” in the 1960s. He is also a founding member of the “Western Guard,” a white supremacist political party, formed in 1972 (Barrett, 1987).

  24. Waters, Christian, known online as “BOKcanada,” is a Regina resident and “Grand Dragon” of the Ku Klux Klan in Saskatchewan since 2007. He is also a high-ranking officer with the Canadian branch of “Brotherhood of Klans” (BOK), which is the largest Klan group in North America (The Leader-Post, 2007). Waters has attracted new members in Saskatchewan over the past few years, causing unease, say anti-racist activists (CBC News, 2007c).

  25. Whatcott, William (Bill) (1967–present) is a Canadian social conservative activist and religious anti-gay activist. He is also a born-again Christian who discovered religion following an early adulthood of drugs, crime, and homosexuality (CBC News, 2013; Gray, 2013). With the goal of making both abortion and homosexuality illegal, Whatcott is known as an awkward revolutionary, a sexual purist and Christian fundamentalist who regrets his own homosexual and criminal conduct, denouncing it as filthy and corrupt (Brean, 2013). In the early 2000s, Whatcott protested at various gay pride celebrations and outside of abortion clinics. Canada’s anti-gay crusader was eventually charged with distributing flyers that promoted gay men as sodomites and pedophiles, one titled “Keep homosexuality out of Saskatoon’s public schools,” and the other “Sodomites in our public schools.” (Canadian Press, 2013; CBC News, 2013; Gray, 2013).

APPENDIX IV: Incidents Related to Right Wing Extremists, 1980–2015


1981, Toronto, ON


  1. James Alexander McQuirter, Grand Wizard of the Canadian KKK, had his car stopped at a routine police check, and they found two ounces of cocaine and 5,000 pills. His home was later searched, and another KKK member threated police officers with a loaded shotgun (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014; St. Joseph News Press, 1981).

  2. 1982, Toronto, ON James Alexander McQuirter, Grand Wizard of the Toronto KKK and an outspoken Canadian racist who helped start the Toronto Ku Klux Klan, paid an undercover police officer, posing as a hit man, $2,000 to murder Gary MacFarlane. It was believed that MacFarlane, a former Klansman, interfered with Klan activity (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014).

  3. 1983, Toronto, ON Famed abortion provider and pro-choice activist, Dr. Henry Morgentaler, was attacked by a man with garden shears outside his clinic. The clinic was firebombed that same year (Huffington Post, 2013).

  4. 1987, Ottawa, ON Members of the Aryan Resistance Movement (ARM) Mark Bauer, Brian McQuaid, and a 16-year-old male fired a weapon at the home of Jaajpe Ladan, hitting her in the face. Ladan survived, and the three men were later arrested. All three pled guilty to criminal negligence causing bodily harm, and were given two-year suspended sentences and ordered to stay away from one another (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014; Kinsella, 2001, p. 311).

  5. 1987, Toronto, ON White supremacist Detlev Michael Kiklas and another man were arrested and charged for extortion and death threats. The victim claimed that he was threatened with death for failure to pay a debt (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014; Toronto Star, 1987).

  6. 1988, Ottawa, ON Richard Arbic, Aryan Resistance Movement (ARM) member, and two other neo-Nazi skinheads brutally assaulted Michael Jeffries, a Carleton University student, in an unprovoked attack. Jeffries suffered serious head and chest injuries (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014; Kinsella, 2001, p. 318).

  7. 1989, Toronto, ON Chris Newhook, a Heritage Front member originally from Nova Scotia, attacked a Vietnamese shopkeeper, and she was left blind in one eye (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014; Canadian Press, 2009).


  1. 1988, Calgary, AB Tearlach Mac a’Phearsoin, Imperial Wizard of Alberta’s Invisible Empire, was charged with gross indecency after a mentally disabled teenager filed a complaint against him. Mac a’Phearsoin was fined $1,000 (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014; Kinsella, 2001, p. 33).

  2. 1988, Calgary, AB Robert Hamilton and Tim Heggen, two members of Mac a’ Phearsoin’s Invisible Empire Association’s Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, were arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit murder, conspiracy to commit property damage, and serious injury by use of explosives. The men targeted a Jewish businessman and the Calgary Jewish Centre, and they were convicted and sentenced to 5 years in prison (Anti-Racist, 2013; Kinsella, 2001, p. 33).


1994, Montreal, QC


  1. Sacha Clouatre, Northern Hammerskin member, was arrested for firing blanks at employees at restaurant. When police showed up to the scene, Clouatre pointed his gun at an officer and was subsequently shot in the shoulder. Clouatre pled guilty to four counts of assault with a weapon and received a suspended sentence (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014; The Gazette, 1995).

  2. 1994, Montreal, QC Northern Hammerskins Brant Smith spent 60 days in prison after pleading guilty to pointing a firearm at an individual (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014; The Gazette, 1995).

  3. 1997, Montreal, QC Neo-Nazis Richard Stack and Steve Lavallee were arrested for attacking two anti-racists. Stack, Lavallee, and four of their friends waited outside of a bar and ambushed the anti-racists as they left; however, the anti-racists successfully resisted their attackers (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014).

  4. 1997, Montreal, QC Eight members of the Vinland Hammer Skins and Berzerker Boot Boys carried out a series of attacks, injuring approximately 30 individuals. Four planned attacks took place at three bars. Brant Smith, Claude Brunet, Daniel Brunet, Sylvain Quiron, Mathieu Dubois, Jonathan Cote, Steve Lavallee, and Alain Letart were arrested in connection with the assaults (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014). When the arrests were made, police uncovered caches of knives, switchblades, mace, pepper spray, assault riffles, telescopic sights and silencers on the men, all of which resulted in 240 separate charges. Prior to the arrests, a growing number of similar attacks were taking place in the city that year (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014).


  1. 1990, Toronto, ON Kevin Dyer Lake, 21-year-old member of Aryan Resistance Movement (ARM), was found guilty of murdering Tony Le, a 15-year-old Vietnamese refugee, and was sentenced to 12 years in prison. Le was fatally stabbed in the heart after intervening in a confrontation between his friends, Lake, and another neo-Nazi. Le’s friend, Mukesh Narayan, 18, also tried to intervene and was stabbed five times by Lake (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014; Toronto Star, 1990b).

  2. 1990, Toronto, ON Jeffrey Paul Jusczel, 25-year-old Hammerskin member, and two men attacked a fellow Toronto Hammerskin. Juczel beat and choked the man, stole his money and credit cards, and dragged him naked through the streets while beating him. Juczel was charged with robbery, aggravated assault, and endangering a life (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014; Toronto Star, 1990a).

  3. 1991, Scarborough, ON Sean Maguire, Aryan Nations member from Idaho and Heritage Front affiliate, was arrested and deported from Canada on weapons violations. A 12-gauge shotgun and an assault riffle were found in a car that Maguire and Grant Bristow were occupying (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014; Toronto Star, 1991).

  4. 1992, Toronto, ON A plot to seriously harm Jewish community leaders was connected to Heritage Front member Leslie Jasinksi. Heritage Front member Ken Barker told Wolfgang Droege that Jasinksi planned to walk into the Toronto offices of the Canadian Jewish Congress and “take out some people.” CSIS and the Toronto Police investigated the threat (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014).

  5. 1992, Oshawa, ON Heritage Front members Ken Barker, 31, and Leslie Jasinksi, 25, were charged with armed robbery and weapons offenses in connection with a robbery at a coffee shop. Jasinkski brandished a sawed-off shotgun and stole $275 from the teller. Weeks later, another Heritage Front member, Phil Grech, 21, robbed a bank in a clown mask and was arrested when he fled to Barker’s apartment. Police then found a cache of weapons, including ammunition and a shotgun, a crossbow, a sword, batteries wired to a timer to look like a bomb, as well as a police scanner, neo-Nazi propaganda, and a large sum of cash at Baker’s home (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014). Barker was arrested and charged with robbery, possession of a prohibited weapon, careless storage of a firearm, possession of a dangerous weapon, use of a firearm in an indictable offence, disguise with intent, and possession of an explosive device. Jasinkski was also arrested when he showed up at Barker’s court hearing. His intention was to confess to the coffee shop robbery, all in an effort to clear Barker (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014; Toronto Star, 1993b).

  6. 1992, Toronto, ON Dr. Henry Morgentaler’s clinic was firebombed. The damage was so severe that the building had to be demolished (Huffington Post, 2013).

  7. 1992, Kitchener, ON The home of anti-racist activist Monna Zentner, 55, was firebombed hours after attending a protest against British Holocaust denier David Irving. No one was hurt in the attack, but the fire caused $100,000 in damage. Police ruled it arson, and the attack was suspected to have been in retaliation by Irving supporters (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014; The Global Jewish News Source, 1992).

  8. 1992, Toronto, ON A cache of weapons was found at the home of Heritage Front member Richard Manley. Canada Customs investigated Manley, who was a security enforcer for the Heritage Front and for George Burdi, on allegations that he was importing a gun part to convert semi-automatic weapons to fully automatic weapons. Police searched his home and uncovered several weapons, including an AR-15 assault rifle and an Uzi automatic pistol (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014; Peace Magazine, 1995).

  9. May 29, 1993, Ottawa, ON Hundreds of people gathered in Ottawa to protest a planned RaHoWa concert. Conflict soon erupted on Parliament Hill between the Heritage Front and anti-racist activists, and neo-Nazis attacked both anti-racist protestors and innocent bystanders (Lauder, 2002). Four neo-Nazis were later charged with assault, and George Burdi, then leader of RaHoWa and the Canadian branch of the World Church of the Creator, was sentenced to one year in prison for kicking then ARA member Alicia Reckzin in the face, breaking her nose (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014; New York Times, 1995).

  10. 1993, Toronto, ON Members of the Church of Creator, Drew Maynard and brothers Elkar Fischer and Eric Fischer, kidnapped Tyrone Alexander Mason, a 22-year-old Heritage Front member, who was resigning from the organization. The men believed that Mason stole a Church of Creator computer that contained a membership list and names of neo-Nazis in the Canadian military (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014). Mason was handcuffed, beaten, and threatened with injections of window cleaner. In a police raid on the homes of six Church of the Creator members, a cache of guns was discovered, and the three kidnappers were arrested. The Fischer brothers were members of the infamous Canadian Airborne Regiment, and Eric Fischer was a former sergeant and the head of security for the Heritage Front (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014; Toronto Star, 1995).

  11. 1993, Toronto, ON Heritage Front members Wolfgang Droege, Peter Mitrevski, and Chris Newhook were charged with aggravated assault and weapons offenses in connection with an attack on anti-racists outside of a bar. The attack took place after a militant Anti-Racist Action (ARA) demonstration (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014; Canadian Anti-Racism Education and Research Society, 2013b).

  12. 1993, Toronto, ON Following a RaHoWa concert, Jason Roberts Hoolans, who had ties to the Church of Creator but was described by Wolfgang Droege as a “hanger on” of the Heritage Front, attacked 45-year-old Tamil refugee Sivarajah Vinasithamby with two other accomplices. The racially motivated attack left Vinasithamby brain damaged and partially paralyzed as a result of being repeatedly kicked in the head (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014).

  13. 1993, Kitchener, ON Paul McGraw, Heritage Front member and neo-Nazi drug dealer, was charged with assault with a weapon and uttering threats in connection to an incident in which McGraw, Gary Danicki and one other neo-Nazi were asked to leave a store by its Jewish owner, Elliot Eisen. The storeowner was shoved, had cowboy boots thrown at him, on man tried to punch him, and McGraw threatened his life and told the man that he was going to kill all the Jews. Eisen’s 18-year old son was also spat at, and two merchandise displays were overturned (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014; The Global Jewish News Source, 1993).

  14. August, 1993, Kitchener, ON The home of Jewish anti-racist activist Monna Zentner was destroyed in a second arson. It was firebombed after a protest against Holocaust denier David Irving, who was speaking at the European Sound Imports Store (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014).

  15. 1994, Toronto, ON Darryl Wesley Sutton, a 22-year-old neo-Nazi, was sentenced to life in prison for murdering an 18-year-old street kid named David Murray Quesnel. The victim was beaten, stabbed, and left in a bath to die during a party at a city rooming house (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014; Toronto Star, 1993a).

  16. 1995, Toronto, ON Violence erupted between neo-Nazis and members of Anti-Racist Action (ARA) in a subway, ending with a 19-year-old ARA member being stabbed in the stomach and jugular vein. Two neo-Nazis were charged in connection with the attack. Adrian Kaddie, 22, was charged with attempted murder, and Kristian Brandes, 19, was charged with aggravated assault, possession of dangerous weapons, and assault with a weapon (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014; Toronto Sun, 1995).

  17. 1995, Toronto, ON Paul McGraw was arrested in Toronto after fleeing assault charges in Kitchener-Waterloo. Here, he broke a woman’s arm with a baseball bat, and attacked two others. He was subsequently charged with break and enter and assault (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014).

  18. 1995, Hamilton, ON Abortion provider, Dr. Hugh Short, was shot in the elbow while at home. The sniper is thought to have been James Kopp, an anti-abortionist, who was also implicated in the shooting of Dr. Romalis and Dr. Fainman (CBC News, 2009).

  19. 1996, Toronto, ON During a confrontation over neo-Nazi symbols, Michael Aman-Ewaschuk, 17, was fatally stabbed in the subway by 22-year-old Frank Chisholm. The Metro Hate Crimes Unit and several classmates identified the youth as being a racist skinhead, and before being killed, he reportedly was planning to attend a white power concert in London later that month. During the concert, several bands dedicated songs to Amann-Ewaschuk, and George Burdi claimed that a white power compilation CD would be released in his memory. During the trial, a reporter was attacked outside of the courthouse by several of Amann-Ewaschuk’s neo-Nazi friends, and had his nose broken (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014; Agno, 1997).

  20. 1997, Sarnia, ON Chris Newhook was sentenced to three years in prison on 10 charges, including assault, assault with a weapon, and issuing death threats (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014).

  21. 1997, Kitchener, ON Paul McGraw, 24, was charged with break and enter, assault, assault with a weapon, and possession of a dangerous weapon. McGraw and 28-year old Christopher Watt broke into an apartment and assaulted a man over a drug debt. The man was kicked in the head, face and shoulder, and he was stabbed in the stomach with a butter knife. Charges were stayed after the victim could not be found. McGraw had a history of intimidating witnesses (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014).

  22. 1998, Ajax, ON White supremacist Ennio Stirpe was charged with murdering Michael Kiklas. Kiklas was involved with Stirpe’s ex-wife, Kathy Ford, who is the sister of two Toronto Councilmen, Rob and Doug Ford (Anti-Racist Canada, 2013; The Globe and Mail, 2013).

  23. 1999, Kitchener, ON Paul McGraw was charged with conspiracy to commit assault, conspiracy to commit extortion, and obstructing justice after trying to arrange for an inmate to be assaulted. Allegedly, the inmate identified McGraw as the owner of a sawed-off shotgun that police discovered in McGraw’s car in 1997. McGraw also attempted to have the inmate falsely identified as a sex offender so he would be assaulted in prison. Charges of conspiracy to commit extortion were laid because he and his girlfriend tried to enlist a man to settle a drug debt through intimidation (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014).


  1. 1994, Vancouver, BC Dr. Garson Romalis, and abortion provider, was shot in his home at his breakfast table, sustaining serious injuries. The sniper is thought to be James Kopp, the anti-abortion extremist infamous for his alleged shootings and murders of several abortion providers across North America (Globe and Mail, 2014).

  2. 1997, Surrey, BC Nirmal Singh Gill, a 65-year-old Sikh caretaker, was beaten to death in a parking lot by neo-Nazis Nathan Leblanc, 27, Radoslaw Synderek, 24, Robert Kluch, 26, Daniel Miloszewski, 22, and Lee Nikkel, 18. During the police investigation, plans to murder more Sikhs were uncovered, including what was referred to by assailants as “Plan B,” which meant killing hundreds of Sikh school children (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014; CBC News, 1999).


  1. 1990, R v Keegstra James Keegstra was charged with wilful promotion of hate against an identifiable group under s. 319(2) of the Criminal Code for teaching anti-Semitic beliefs to his high school students. Keegsta argued that the section of the Criminal Code violated his right to freedom of expression under s. 2(b) of the Charter, and while the Court agreed that the section violated his expressive rights, it was nonetheless upheld by a narrow margin as a reasonable limit on free speech under section 1 of the Charter (Calgary Herald, 2012; Gall, 2012).

  2. 1990, Edmonton, AB Daniel Sims and Mark Swanson, 19-year-old members of the Final Solution Skinheads and followers of Terry Long and the Aryan Nations, assaulted Keith Rutherford in his home. Rutherford, a retired radio journalist who 30 years prior had broadcasted an expose on an alleged Nazi war criminal, was kicked in the groin and left blind in his right eye as a result of being struck with a club (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014; Canadian Anti-Racism Education and Research Society, 2013a).

  3. 1992, Alberta, Kane v Church of Jesus Christ Christian-Aryan On September 9, 1990, the Church of Jesus Christ Christian-Aryan Nations (the Church) held a rally in Provost, AB, and as a sign of their solidarity with white supremacists in the U.S., the group assembled and displayed a KKK White Power sign, a Nazi flag and swastika, and conducted a cross-burning event (Chak & Ashcroft, 2012; Gall, 2012). In attendance were Terry Long, leader of the Aryan Nations in Canada, Kelly Scott Lyle, founder of Calgary’s Final Solution Skinheads, and Carney Milton Nerland, the Saskatchewan leader of the Church of Jesus Christ Christian Aryan Nations (Kinsella, 2001, p. 191). Several individuals complained about the gathering, and four days later, the Commission released a statement condemning the event. Massive media attention focused on the hateful display and the Aryan Nations organization. In December of 1990 and January of 1991, several human rights complaints were filed against the Church as well as individuals involved in the Church and activities (Chak & Ashcroft, 2012). The hearing took nearly five months, and the Aryan Nations decision was significant in several respects, but most notably, the decision recognized that free speech was not without reasonable limits and that human rights protection required a complete understanding of the political and social reality of vulnerable minority groups (Chak & Ashcroft, 2012).

  4. 1996, Edmonton, AB The Edmonton Morgentaler clinic was struck by an attack with butyric acid, in a way that is reminiscent of “advice” in the extremist anti-abortion group Army of God manual entitled manual When Life Hurts, We Can Help: The Army of God. The book details “99 Covert Ways to Stop Abortion,” including arson, bombing, use of butyric acid, and vandalism (Pro-Choice Action Network, 1997/1998).

  5. 1998, Calgary, AB Darnell Bass, a 31-year-old Sergeant in the Canadian Airborne Regiment (CAR), and Patrick Steven Ryan, a 30-year-old white supremacist, disguised themselves as security guards and staged an armed heist on a Brinks armoured car, all in an attempt to steal $400,000 (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014; Calgary Herald, 2006). Described as “the most violent hold up in Calgary history,” the robbery involved the use of tear gas and a hail of almost 90 gunshots. The commando-style raid on the bank ultimately failed, and police raided Ryan’s apartment, uncovering neo-Nazi literature and paraphernalia, including an Aryan Nations flag, a David Irving book, and a number of white supremacist films (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014).


  1. 1991, Winnipeg, MB Gordon Kuhtey was walking in an area known as the “gay stroll,” in which he was beaten, stoned and thrown into a river. Five years later, charges were laid when four men were implicated in his murder: Matt McKay, a member of the Manitoba Klan and the Final Solution Skinheads in Winnipeg, and Northern Hammerskin members Robert Welsh, James Lisik, and Gary Kuffner (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014; Winnipeg Free Press, 2013).

  2. 1997, Winnipeg, MB Dr. Jack Fainman becomes the third Canadian abortion provider to be shot, allegedly by James Kopp. The shot to his shoulder was so damaging that he was not able to practice medicine again. Kopp never faced charges for any of the shootings in Canada (Winnipeg Free Press, 2014).


1991, Prince Albert, SK Klan member and leader of Saskatchewan’s Aryan Nations chapter Carney Nerland shot Cree trapper Leo LaChance in the back as he was leaving Nerland’s gun ship. Even though Nerland told a police officer, “if I am convicted of killing that Indian, they should give me a medal and you should pin it on me,” he was charged with manslaughter instead of murder (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014; CBC News Saskatchewan, 2011).


2000, Montreal, QC

2000 to 2010

  1. Neo-Nazis Sacha Montreuil, 26, Adam Guerbuez, 25, and Frederic Morin, 22, beat Christian Thomas, 39, to death. As Thomas was leaving a bar, he was approached by approximately 10 men, and was beaten into a coma; he later died from massive head trauma. Also at the bar that night were fellow neo-Nazis Mathieu Carriere, Jonathan Cote, Isabel Forget, Steve Lavalee, and Stephen LePage. Cote and Lavallee were previously convicted in a series of Montreal bar attacks in 1998 and were not supposed to be in any bar (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014; CBC News, 2001a).

  2. 2000, Chatham, QC Two boys murdered fifteen-year old Aylin Otano-Garcia. The two classmates were charged with first-degree murder after they lured Otano-Garcia to a secluded sandpit and bludgeoned her to death. One of the boys responsible for planning the murder was fascinated by Adolf Hitler, claiming that he murdered the girl because he did not like immigrants (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014; CBC News, 2001d).

  3. 2000, Laval, QC Fifteen-year-old Christelle Lavigne-Gagnon was stabbed to death by Richard Germain, a 20-year-old ex-boyfriend and neo-Nazi. Germain harassed and threatening Lavigne-Gagnon for months, and after the murder, he attempted to kill himself twice. Jean-Sebastian Pressault, then leader of the Laval Ku Klux Klan, came to the trial to show his support. Germain was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 11 years (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014; Radio-Canada, 2002).

  4. 2001, Montreal, QC Neo-Nazi Steve Legault pled guilt to attacking an anti-racist at a courthouse during proceedings against his friend, who was facing charges for the beating death of Christian Thomas. Leagault also attempted to attack an anti-racist in a separate case outside the Montreal courthouse in 1998 (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014).

  5. 2002, Montreal, QC Evens Marseille, a 26-year-old Haitian man, was beaten and stabbed by two neo-Nazis outside of a bar. Daniel Laverdiere and Remi Chabot-Brideault were responsible for the attack. Laverdiere was on probation for mischief during the time of the incident, and was described in court as a “hard-core neo-Nazi extremist.” He was also a member of the Vinland Front Skinheads, whose members came to the trial to support him. Laverdiere was sentenced to four years for aggravated assault, and was ordered by the Quebec Human Rights Tribunal to pay Marseille $35,000 in moral damages and $10,000 in punitive damages. Chabot-Brideault was given a one-year conditional sentence, which was served at home, and he was forbidden from associating with “skinheads” for three years (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014; Vancouver Sun, 2006).

  6. 2006, Montreal, QC Jean-Sebatian Pressault, a notorious Montreal-based white supremacist, was arrested and charged in 2003 with wilfully promoting hatred through a racist website that he built and managed. While on bail, he threatened to kill the judge who was presiding over his case if he was given an exemplary sentence. Police searched Pressault’s home and discovered a loaded gun, and he was charged with threatening the judge and procuring a firearm (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014; CBC News, 2007a).

  7. 2006, Île Perrot, QC Eighteen-year-old Renaud Emard, known as “necro99” on Stormfront, was arrested on weapons charges after being investigated for making racist threats on the Internet and posting pictures of himself posing with guns. After police raided his home, 20 firearms and other weapons were uncovered. Hate literature, an ethnic cleansing manual, and a hit list featuring the names of schoolmates were also discovered. Emard pled guilty to possession of a prohibited weapon and five counts of careless storage of firearms (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014; Montreal Gazette, 2006).

  8. 2008, Montreal, QC Neo-Nazi Julien-Alexandre LeClerc, 20, and a male youth attacked several people in a series of racially motivated assaults. Initially, a group of seven young Arab men were confronted by the pair, in which racial insults were directed at them. Two Arab men were then stabbed, and one required multiple blood transfusions and 50 stitches in his head (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014; CTVMontreal, 2011). The perpetrators fled in a cab, and hurled racist slurs at the Haitian cab driver. They also punched him, and smashed his windshield. They later attacked a second cab driver who was of Arab origin. Both LeClerc and the minor were sentenced to two years in closed custody for aggravated assault, assault and possession of a weapon for the purpose of dangerous to public peace (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014; CTVMontreal.ca, 2011).


  1. October 3, 2001, London, ON James Scott Richardson, 27-year-old operator of the Canadian Ethnic Cleansing Team (CECT) website and a member of the Tri-City Skins, was charged with making death threats against Muslims and Jews post-9/11. The website also contained other hateful messages about Jews and non-whites (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014). Lawyer Richard Warman filed a human rights complaint against Richardson and Alexan Kulbashian, a co-operator of the website, and the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal found that the two websites encouraged violence against immigrants and visible minorities. Richardson and Kulbashian were fined a total of $13,000 (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014; CBC News, 2001f).

  2. 2001, Toronto, ON Approximately 10 neo-Nazis gathered on the corner of Queen and Lansdowne, which resulted in a fight between them and others on the corner. The neo-Nazis later ran into the nearby bar, yelling racist slurs at patrons and shooting random people with pepper spray. They fled before being arrested by police (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014).

  3. 2002, London, ON Neo-Nazi Christopher Broughton attacked a 23-year-old gay woman who was holding hands with her female partner in public. Broughton initially hurled homophobic nicknames at them, and then he told the woman to perform a sex act on him. He then ensued by punching the victim, grabbed her by her ponytail, throwing her on the ground, and kicking her in the head. Broughton served three years for the assault (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014; The Ottawa Citizen, 2006).

  4. 2002, Toronto, ON David Rosenzweig, a 48-year old Hasidic Jew, was attacked and stabbed to death by two alleged skinheads – 20-year-old Christopher Steven McBride, and Mercedes Asante, 19. Witnesses said they heard a young man shout, “He’s a rabbi” before Rosenzweig was stabbing, severing his aorta (Chicago Tribune, 2002).

  5. 2004, Toronto, ON As Tomasz Winnicki and three others were driving to a rally in support of Holocaust denier Enst Zundel, police stopped the vehicle and found throwing knives, a bow and arrows, and body armour. Winnicki was charged with carrying a concealed weapon, having weapons at a public meeting, and possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose. He pled guilty and received a conditional discharge with six months of probation (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014).

  6. 2004, Kingston, ON Chris Newhook, a violent member of the now defunct “Heritage Front,” attacked a man with a piece of plywood and threw him through a plate-glass window during a dispute over rent expenses. He served two years for assault with a weapon (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014).

  7. April 13, 2005, Scarborough, ON Wolfgang Droege, 55-year-old founding leader of the “Heritage Front,” was shot to death by Keith Deroux, a 44-year-old mentally ill individual. Droege was his cocaine dealer, and Deroux stated that he believed that Droege was sending him messages through his computer. He also believed that Droege hired bikers to watch him. In 2006, Deroux pled guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced to 10 years in prison (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014; CBC News, 2005; National Post, 2006).

  8. 2005, Kitchener, ON Neo-Nazi Christopher Garvey, 25, and Russell McMahen, 27, were charged with assault causing bodily harm, uttering threats, and forcible entry after attacking Daniel Schwass. The victim attended a party earlier in the night, and narrowly escaped from getting into a fight with Garvey and McMahen. However, once Schwass returned home, the two men showed up at his apartment and forced their way inside. They then kicked him repeatedly in the head and face with combat boots, and it took three men a total of two hours to clean up the trail of blood. Ultimately, Garvey and McMahen pled not guilty, and the victim moved to BC and did not show up to court proceedings (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014).

  9. April 16, 2006, Collingwood, ON Stephen Long, a 22-year-old white supremacist who belonged to the racist “Hammer Heads” gang, was murdered by Christopher Broughton, 29, of Hamilton. While sleeping, Long was attacked with a baseball bat, also known as a “nigger stick,” and was engraved with white power symbols. Earlier that night, Long slapped Broughton in the face and called him an embarrassment. As such, the murder may have been in retaliation to this event. Broughton had a history of violence. He had previous assault charges, including a conviction for a hate crime against a gay woman in 2003. He was sentenced to life in prison in 2008 (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014; McLaughlin, 2008; Ottawa Citizen, 2006).

  10. 2006, Kitchener, ON Neo-Nazi drug dealer Paul McGraw, 38, beat a 27-year-old man, who was also a drug dealer, leaving him with brain injuries. McGraw, who was described in news reports as the leader of a violent gang known as “The Family,” was later convicted of aggravated assault and sentenced to 15 months in prison (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014; Waterloo Regional Record, 2011).

  11. March 16, 2007, Toronto, ON Jason Belifiglio, 20, was charged with mischief after three windows were smashed at a Jewish daycare centre. Belfiglio denied his ties to the neo-Nazism, even though he was arrested near the crime scene wearing a neo-Nazi t-shirt (i.e., a Celtic cross intertwined with a swastika). He was given a 90-day conditional sentence, three years of probation, 100 hours of community service, and ordered to make restitution and stay away from neo-Nazis (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014; National Post, 2007).

  12. 2007, Guelph, ON Neo-Nazi Paul McGraw was arrested in connection with a series of violent offenses that took place in Guelph. After a three-hour standoff with police, McGraw and two women were charged with assault, kidnapping, sexual assault, and forcible confinement in relation to an incident involving seven male and female victims. McGraw was also charged in relation to a separate assault, which took place in Orillia days before his arrest. The charges in this incident included assault, assault causing bodily harm, forcible confinement, and uttering death threats. In 2009, McGraw was sentenced to 14 years in prison, which he appealed in 2011. His appeal was denied, and he is eligible for parole in 2016 (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014; Waterloo Regional Record, 2011).

  13. February 15, 2009, Toronto, ON A Russian memorabilia store was targeted by various instances of arson, vandalism, and graffiti. Neo-Nazis Richard Martin and Andrew Benson were believed to be the culprits. Alexander Shapurko’s store was vandalized three times in two weeks. The first incident involved the burning of a Russian flag, but the owner thought it was some kids being reckless. The second incident involved a swastika, the number 88 and the letters “WP” spray-painted on the front window of the store. The third incident involved a burning Soviet Union flag hanging in a window. Neo-Nazi graffiti was again painted on a window, another window was smashed, and shop collectibles were broken. It is unclear if charges were ever laid, however, Toronto Police are still investigating (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014; Aulakh, 2009).


  1. 2006, Vancouver, BC Nathan Richard Fry, a 19-year-old Nazi fanatic, was convicted on five counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder after murdering a Congolese family and another woman. He set the family’s household on fire, using 25 litres of gasoline and a blowtorch, killing Adela Etibako, 39, and her children, 12-year-old Edita, 9-year-old Benedicta, and 8-year-old Stephane (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014). One of the other children, 19-year-old Bolingo, escaped the fire with serious burns, but his girlfriend, 17-year-old Ashley Singh, did not survive. It is alleged that Fry set the fire because he thought that Bolingo ratted him out for a stabbing that they were both being charged for. Fry received life in prison without the possibility of parole for 25 years (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014; Canwest News Service, 2010).

  2. 2009, Courtenay, BC In the parking lot of a fast food restaurant, three men attacked Jay Philips, a 39-year-old half black man, all while shouting racial slurs at him. The attack was caught on video, and Adam Huber, 25, Robert Rogers, 25, and David White, 20, were all convicted of assault (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014). The first two men were handed conditional sentences and a third man spent one day in jail as the assault went viral on YouTube (CBC News British Columbia, 2010). Hubert spent one day in jail and was put on 12 months probation. Rogers was fined $500 and given eight months probation. White, who uttered the racial slurs, was sentenced under hate crime provisions of the Criminal Code. He was fined $100, sentenced to 30 days community service, put on a curfew, and ordered to undergo psychological counseling (CBC News British Columbia, 2010).

  3. 2009, Fort St. John, BC Thirty-two-year old Peter Anthony Houston, known for his involvement in the Canadian racist movement, was convicted of building a potentially deadly pipe bomb that was planted in a highway restroom in northeastern BC. In 1999, the bomb was left at a rest stop on Highway 29 between Fort St. John and Hudson’s Hope, BC. When Houston was charged with attempted murder and intent to cause an explosion, the case was never made public (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014; CBC News British Columbia, 2009).

  4. February 8, 2009, Prince George, BC Peter Houston was found guilty of being in possession of an explosive substance without lawful excuse, and possession of a weapon contrary to an order. He was sentenced to 247 days in jail, and he received a lifetime prohibition on the possession of firearms (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014; CBC News British Columbia, 2009).

  5. 2009, Nanaimo, BC Jeffrey Scott Hughes, a white supremacist involved with the Canadian branch of the “Northwest Imperative,” was shot to death by RCMP officers. Police were called to his apartment in response to a noise complaint, and RCMP testified that Hughes was shot after he threatened officers. It was believed that the man came out of his apartment holding a weapon (which was later determined to be a flare gun), and pointed it at an officer. Several years earlier, the RCMP visited Hughes at his home, responding to hate propaganda he had been distributing. He also had a history of violence, including assault and bomb threats (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014; McGarrigle, 2011).


  1. 2006, Calgary, AB The Aryan Guard was formed in late 2006, but was never truly active until March of 2007. Claiming to be around 20 members at the time, they began to schedule a number of meetings (as was listed on their website), and the website domain was registered to Bill Noble (One People’s Project, 2009). Aryan Guard members were active before 2007, putting up fliers and blaming minorities for committing multiple crimes in the city, but it was not until August 14 that the media really began paying attention to them (One People’s Project, 2009). The Aryan Guard staged a counter rally when anti-racists organized a protest concerning the activities of the gang. Up until August 2009 when they disbanded, the gang became more active and more brazen (One People’s Project, 2009).

  2. September, 2006, Calgary, AB Kyle McKee and Dallas Price of the Aryan Guard were charged with assault with a weapon and possession of a weapon or imitation for a dangerous purpose. The charges were in connection with a physical altercation, where one victim was stabbed and another was hit with a wooden club (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014; Southern Poverty Law Center, 2009).

  3. 2006, Calgary, AB Aryan Guard spokesman Kyle McKee was arrested on assault and hate crime charges after he attacked a North African cab driver. McKee claimed that he was not responsible for the attack, but instead he was taking the fall for a friend who almost took an attempted murder charge for McKee the year prior. The charges were eventually dismissed, and McKee bragged about police officers not being able to make a positive identification of him (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014; Scherr, 2009).

  4. 2006, Calgary, AB Robert Reitmeier of Western European Bloodlines (WEB) and formerly the Aryan Guard was charged with attempted murder in connection with a confrontation involving a man in his 40s being beaten into a coma and suffering skull and facial fractures. Charges against Reitmeier were later stayed (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014).

  5. October, 2007, Calgary, AB Layton Bertsch, Aryan Guard supporter, was arrested for throwing a bottle at an activist during an anti-racist demonstration (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014; CBC News Calgary, 2010a).

  6. 2008, Calgary, AB The home of Anti-Racist Action (ARA) members Bonny Collins and Jason Devine was firebombed while their children were asleep inside. A Molotov cocktail was thrown at their home, missing a window, but burning the fence and patio furniture (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014; Calgary Herald, 2008). Fortunately, no one was injured, however no one was charged in the incident. Collins and Devine believed that they were targeted for their anti-racist activism by affiliates of the Aryan Guard (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014; Calgary Herald, 2008). Aryan Guard member John Marleau later taunted Collins about the firebombing, stating, “How’s your house, Bonnie? Is it nice and toasty in there? How’s Jason and the kids”? (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014).

  7. 2008, Edmonton, AB Haldane Jensen-Huot, 23, who showed interest in the Aryan Brotherhood and identified himself as a National Socialist and Satanist, stabbed 77-year-old Hans Albers to death in a random attack. One hour before the murder, he posted a video on Facebook, which included documentaries about the Aryan Brotherhood and a U.S. white supremacist on death row. He also had a history of violence. He was convicted of assault causing bodily harm on his father, and he was charged with second-degree murder in 2006, which was later upgraded to first-degree murder (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014; CBC News Edmonton, 2009).

  8. 2008, Calgary, AB Asako Okazaki, a 26-year-old Japanese woman, was attacked by a 17-year-old Aryan Guard member. The youth first made disparaging comments about Asians, and then followed Okazaki as she left a bar, dropkicking her in the back of the head with steel toed boots. She was also kicked repeatedly while she was on the ground. The youth was charged with assault with a weapon, assault causing bodily harm, and three counts of breaching probation from previous convictions (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014; Calgary Herald, 2009).

  9. 2009, Edmonton, AB Lacey Dan Snyder, 22, and Dylan Alfred Trommel, 23 were charged in a racially motivated attack on 32-year-old Congolese student Valentin Masepode. Snyder and Trommel confronted Masepode in a convenience store, calling him a “nigger” and telling him “This is our country, nigger.” The pair then called the student outside, and when he would not comply, the two walked back into the store and bear sprayed him in the face. Trommel, who had a swastika tattoo on his back, claimed that the harassment was because he was intoxicated (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014; Blais, 2010).

  10. 2009, Calgary, AB A cinderblock was thrown through the living room window of Anti-Racist Action (ARA) Calgary members Bonnie Collins and Jason Devine. A smaller projectile was also thrown into the bedroom of their three sleeping children, and the front door of their home was spray-painted with “C-18” and a swastika (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014).

  11. 2009, Calgary, AB Tyler Sturrup, member of Western European Bloodlines (WEB), and Carolyne Kwatiek, a white nationalist, were targets of two homemade pipe bombs planted by 17-year-old Aryan Guard founder Kyle McKee. He was later charged with attempted murder, possessing, making or controlling explosives, and possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose. McKee pled guilty to possessing explosive devices, but attempted murder charges were dropped (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014; Canoe.ca, 2010).


  1. 2000, Dartmouth, NS Donna Marie Upson, AKA “Baby Hitler” and 22-year-old KKK and Aryan Nations member, were sentenced to two years in prison for threatening to kill Elias Mutales, a black pastor. Upson was also convicted of threatening to kill black people and threatening to destroy property at a United Baptist Church (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014; CBC News, 2000a).

  2. 2001, Dartmouth, NS Donna Marie Upson failed to appear in court on charges of assaulting two prison workers at a prison in Nova Scotia, and a warrant was issued for her arrest. The assaults occurred while she was incarcerated on charges of threatening to kill a black pastor (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014; CBC News, 2001b).

  3. 2007, Halifax, NS Chris Newhook was convicted of aggravated assault, as he stabbed a man in the forehead during a dispute over rent. It was not the first time that Newhook violently assaulted someone over rent concerns (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014; CBC News Nova Scotia, 2010a).


  1. 2001, Moncton, NB Donna Marie Upson was arrested and denied bail after attempted arson. One month after being released from a Nova Scotia prison on charges of assault and failure to appear, she refused a bed at a shelter, and was seen trying to set fire to the exterior of the building (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014; CBC News, 2001c).

  2. 2001, Moncton, NB James Frederick Hanley, a 19-year-old who had a history of making derogatory comments about black people and was suspended from school for possessing hate literature, and Matthew Charles Duncan, a violent individual who had racist tattoos, burned a cross on the lawn of a black family in Moncton. Both men were charged with wilful promotion of hatred (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014; CBC News, 2001e).

  3. 2005, Saint John, NB Chinese students at the University of New Brunswick were targeted in a series of racially motivated attacks. Over a period of several weeks, students were screamed at and told to go back to China. They also had lit fireworks thrown at them, were pelted with eggs, and one couple was assaulted with a cup of ice (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014; Canwest News Service, 2007).

  4. 2007, Saint John, NB Four Chinese university students were attacked with baseball bats and wooden sticks, and days later, two more Chinese students were attacked, and a bus stop was spray-painted with the words “Gooks go home.” The assaults and vandalism took place in the same neighbourhood where Chinese students were attacked with eggs, ice, and fireworks two years prior. Neo-Nazis Jonathan Clifford Martin, 19, and two minors aged 17 and 15 were charged in connection with the 2007 assaults. Martin was charged for the bus shelter vandalism and for possession of a knife for a purpose dangerous to the public peace. The minor youths were charged with assault and possession of a dangerous weapon (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014; Canwest News Service, 2007).

  5. 2007, Saint John, NB Saint John City Councilor Jay-Young Chang received death threats two weeks after the two violent attacks on Chinese students. A threatening telephone message was left for the Korean councilor, and the message included racial slurs, threats to harm Chang with a weapon, and threats to kill him (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014; CBC News New Brunswick, 2007).


  1. 2000, Charlottetown, PEI Dwayne Finlayson, organizer for the Heritage Front in Prince Edward Island, and neo-Nazi Jonathan Petrie attacked two Asian women of Japanese decent. The men smashed pizza into the face of one of the women, shouted racist insults, and they physically attacked a bystander who tried to intervene. Charges of inciting hatred were dropped in exchange for Finlayson pleading guilty to assault and causing a disturbance. Petrie also pled guilty to assault and causing a disturbance. He was additionally charged with failing to appear for his sentencing. Notably, Finalyson is the cousin of Carl Finlayson who committed suicide in 2010, and was involved with the Heritage Front in PEI and the Brotherhood of Klans in Regina (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014; CBC News, 2000b).

  2. 2007, Charlottetown, PEI Tony Laviolette, 19-year-old neo-Nazi was sentenced to 30 months for eight charges, including: sexual assault, uttering threats, two counts of arson, and break and enters. He was also found guilty of having sex with a 13-year-old girl and threatening to kill her if she saw anyone else. Laviolette was also convicted for setting fire to a building and a vacant home, and for three break and enters, including one at a skating rink which he vandalized with a swastika and racial slurs (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014; CBC News, 2007b; Mayne, 2007).


July, 2010, Hamilton, ON

2010 to 2015

  1. 23-year-old Richard Martin and 38-year-old Shane Gill were arrested for threatening a woman and an 11 year-old girl (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014; the Spec, 2010). Martin, who lived near the victims, harassed them for weeks, however the first incident occurred when the woman saw Martin standing outside making gunshot sounds and shooting gestures at her house. Days later, Martin and another man stood near her bedroom window singing racist songs and yelling, “Go back to Africa” (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014).

    The last incident occurred on July 16 as the woman was walking with her friend’s 11-year-old daughter (the Spec, 2010). Confronted by Martin and Gill, Martin made gunshot sounds and the sign of a gun in her direction, and as the victims turned and began to flee back to her home, Gill and Martin chanted, “We hate niggers.” They then followed her home and Gill pounded on the door (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014). Martin was later sentenced to nine months in prison and three years of probation, and Gill received six months in prison and three years probation. They were also ordered to submit DNA samples and to refrain from possessing weapons, ammunition and explosives for 15 years (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014).

  2. May, 2011, Kitchener, ON White supremacist gang “True White Boys” faced assault and weapons charges. Matthew Armstrong, 19, was charged after an incident in which he elbowed, punched, and kicked a man in the head because he thought the victim spread rumours about another True White Boy member. Police also investigating a break-in and found seven members of the gang in an apartment which contained a cache of weapons, including a machete and knives, bandanas, and drugs (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014; Waterloo Regional Record, 2011).

  3. August, 2013, Kitchener, ON Former Aryan Guard member Jessie Lajoie, 24, was arrested on charges of aggravated assault, and disguise with intent and conspiracy. The victim, who was allegedly a guest of the McKee-aligned Blood and Honour in Calgary, was attacked with an unknown edged weapon and a hard metal object, receiving a cut to his head and abdomen. Two others, Marrissa Kissack, 23, and Eric Marshall, 25, were also charged in the incident. Marrissa was charged with aggravated assault, public mischief, and obstructing police, and Eric was charged with aggravated assault, and disguise with intent and conspiracy (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014; CTV News Kitchener, 2013).

  4. June, 2014, St. Catherines, ON Christian Edmunds, 18, was arrested for a month-long campaign of alleged racist harassment and intimidation of an elderly couple in St. Catherines. Edmunds, who has connections to the Southern Ontario Skinheads, was charged with criminal harassment (Niagara Falls Review, 2014).


  1. April 6, 2010, Abbotsford, BC Two weeks after activists held an anti-Nazi rally in BC’s Lower Mainland, the home of an anti-racist organizer was bombed, causing a fire that damaged the exterior of the home. Fortunately no one was injured (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014). Activist Maitland Cassia was with SkinHeads Against Racial Prejudice (SHARP) and Anti-Racist Action (ARA). Some speculate that neo-Nazis targeted the home because the organizer’s name and photo was published in the Abbotsford Times and gained significant publicity (Anti-Racist Canada, 2013; Oommen, 2010). 2011, Vancouver, BC Members of Blood and Honour, Shawn Macdonald, Alastair Miller, and Rob de Chazal were arrested for a series of assaults in Vancouver between 2008 and 2011. MacDonald was charged with three counts of assault for allegedly attacking two men and one woman, and Chazal was charged with aggravated assault for allegedly setting a man of Filipino descent on fire. Chazal was also charged with assault causing bodily harm in connection with an incident in which he attacked a man who was black. Race was a factor in each attack (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014; CBC News British Columbia, 2012).

  2. March, 2012, Surrey, BC Blood and Honour associate Jan Korinth, 26, was fatally stabbed during his attempt to break into a home (Bolan, 2012; CBC News, 2012a; CBC News, 2012b). Korinth was known to police and convicted in Vancouver community court last November for assault causing bodily harm (Bolan, 2012). Police claimed that it was not clear if or how the men knew each other, and that the motive had not yet been determined, but appeared to be gang-related and an attempted home invasion or break-in (CBC News, 2012a). Korinth was a friend of Shawn Macdonald, who along with Rob de Chazal and Alastair Miller, were charged in December 2011 with carrying out a series of assaults against minorities in Vancouver (Anti-Racist Canada, 2012). Police were concerned that the fatal stabbing of a white supremacist in southern BC could fuel simmering tensions between gangs in the area (CTVNews.ca, 2012).

  3. November, 2014, North Delta, BC A minor league hockey coach lost his job after posting what is described as “a shrine to Adolf Hitler and Nazism” on his Facebook page. In an interview with the Vancouver Sun, he showed himself to be a Holocaust denier, asserting that “there is no such plan, there was no idea” (The Huffington Post, 2014).


  1. 2010, Calgary AB John Marleau, affiliate of the Aryan Guard/Blood and Honour, was arrested after attacking a non-white C‑Train operator. After someone accidentally pressed the emergency button in the train, the driver came into the car where Marleau was, and he lunged at the operator. Police officials did not believe that the operator was lured by Marleau; however he was arrested and charged with three counts of assault with a weapon, and one count of possession of a weapon, carrying a concealed weapon, and causing a disturbance (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014; Calgary Sun, 2010).

  2. 2010, Edmonton, AB Dave Burns, a 55-year old known as “The Nazi” and white supremacist around his office, walked into his workplace a started shooting. He eventually shot and killed his co-worker Garth Radons before killing himself, and a second co-worker was also shot and critically injured. Burns, who reportedly had a swastika tattoo and a very hot temper, was suspended from work for making racist remarks and posting a sexually explicit photo on a staff bulletin board (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014; CBC News Edmonton, 2010). Thirty-six years earlier, Burns stabbed an 18-year-old boy to death and served four years for manslaughter (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014).

  3. March, 2010, Calgary, AB During an anti-racist demonstration, William Kaiser Miettinen, AKA “Willis,” was charged with assaulting cameraman Jason Beers with a skateboard. During the court proceedings, Miettinen denied any skinhead or neo-Nazi ties, even though he ripped his shirt open to display white supremacist tattoos during the rally (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014; Martin, 2011).

  4. 2010, Calgary, AB Five masked men, armed with bats and hammers, invaded the home of Anti-Racist Action (ARA) Calgary members Bonnie Collins and Jason Devine. Devine was beaten on the head, back and arms, sustaining serious back injuries, and a friend who was in the home had his arm broken. Overall, three adults and four children were in the house at the time of the attack (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014; CBC News Calgary, 2010b). No arrests were made, however police spoke with a number of suspects, including Kyle McKee, who was charged in connection with a pair of homemade bombs left outside of a Calgary apartment last year (CBC News Calgary, 2010b). A few months later, McKee was charged with uttering threats after he asked Devine if he would like another visit to his home. Police believed the home was targeted, although they did not confirm a motive. Devine posted a number of pictures of suspected white supremacists on his blog, and he and his wife put up posters in their neighbourhood “outing” people they claimed were neo-Nazis (CBC News Calgary, 2010b).

  5. 2010, Calgary, AB Three members and affiliates of Aryan Guard/Blood and Honour Calgary beat an 18-year-old girl at a party, leaving her with broken teeth. Kyle McKee was later charged as one of the attackers (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014; The Globe and Mail, 2011).

  6. October 2011, Calgary, AB Leaders of the white supremacist group Western European Bloodline (WEB), Robert Reitmeier, 24, and Tyler Williams Sturrup, 26, were charged with second-degree murder (CBC News Calgary, 2011; Humphreys, 2011; Martin, 2011). Mark Mariani was found dead in an alley and was an apparent victim of a group attack while returning to his car after shopping (CBC News Calgary, 2011; Humphreys, 2011; Martin, 2011). Staff Sergeant Doug Andrus said that it appeared to be a random act of violence (Anti-Racist Canada, 2009; CBC News Calgary, 2011; Humphreys, 2011; Martin, 2011). Tyler Sturrup pled guilty to murder charges, and on March 4, 2013 he was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 10 years. Robert Reitmeier was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 13 years (CBC News Calgary, 2013).

  7. February, 2011, Calgary, AB Four affiliates of Blood and Honour Calgary were charged during a sequence of racial assaults (Anti-Racist Canada, 2011; CTVEdmonton.ca, 2011). Three individuals were physically assaulted, and more than 10 random people had racist or hate comments directed at them during the course of the night, all of which were unprovoked (CTVEdmonton.ca, 2011; Edmonton Sun, 2011). James Andrew Brooks, 25, was charged with criminal harassment, mischief, cause disturbance, utter threats, and assault. David Roger Goodman, 18, was charged with criminal harassment, mischief, cause disturbance, utter threats, and assault. Jason Anthony Anderson, 32, was charged with criminal harassment, mischief, cause disturbance, and assault. Lastly, Keith Virgil Decu, 32, and charged with criminal harassment, mischief, cause disturbance, and assault (CTVEdmonton.ca, 2011). The charges came after the four were seen handing out flyers to strangers and posting flyers on poles about a white supremacist group (Blais, 2011; CTVEdmonton.ca, 2011; Edmonton Sun, 2011).

  8. March, 2011, Calgary, AB Kyle Robert McKee, 25, of the Aryan Guard and Blood and Honour was imprisoned for 60 days for racist motivated threats and assault (Calgary Herald, 2011). McKee pled guilty to uttering threats and possession of a dangerous weapon in relation to an incident involving ARA member Jason Devine on February 13, 2011. A few months earlier, Devine had been the victim of a home invasion in which he and a friend were seriously injured (Calgary Herald, 2011).

  9. August 31, 2011, Peace River, AB Ian Michael Butz, 28, and his brother Jason Avery Butz, 26, were charged with two counts of armed robbery at a gas station (CBC News British Columbia, 2013). They are alleged to be neo-Nazis (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014).

  10. December, 2012, Lloydminster, AB Four members of Alberta’s drug gang, “The White Boy Posse,” were charged in a series of three murders (CBC News Edmonton, 2012). Randy James Wayne O’Hagan, 22, was charged with three counts of first-degree murder and attempted murder. Nikolas Jon Nowytzkyj, 32, was charged with attempted murder. Kyle Darren Halbauer, 22, was charged with two counts of first-degree murder and attempted murder. And Joshua Petrin, 29, was charged first-degree murder (CBC News Edmonton, 2012). One of the victims was decapitated, and his remains were located in various locations across Alberta (CBC News Edmonton, 2012; Wittmeier, 2012). Police said that all four men were members of the White Boy Posse, a drug gang based in Alberta with tentacles extending into Saskatoon and the Northwest Territories (CBC News Edmonton, 2012), reaching from Yellowknife to Saskatoon to Medicine Hat (Wittmeier, 2012). The gang were a suspected “puppet gang” of the Hell’s Angels, dealing drugs for the larger gang (CBC News Edmonton, 2012). Edmonton police linked the Alberta–based White Boy Posse to Nazi symbols, street-level drug dealing, and affiliations with the Hells Angels (Wittmeier, 2012). The White Boy Posse is also a gang known for its racist ideology, cocaine dealing, and violence (CBC News Saskatchewan, 2012). Many of the members have swastika tattoos and hold white supremacist beliefs (CBC News Edmonton, 2012).

  11. March, 2013, Edmonton, AB Two members of Blood and Honour and an associate approached two men inside of a liquor store, making derogatory comments and racial slurs (Roth, 2012b). The two males were attacked and assaulted, and one of the males was assaulted with a bottle of liquor (Roth, 2012a). Consequently, Calgary’s infamous neo-Nazi and Blood and Honour member Kyle McKee, 26, Blood and Honour’s Bernard Miller, 20, and associate of Blood and Honour Philip Badrock, 44, were charged in the alleged bottle attack against two East Indian males (Gardner & Parrish, 2012; Massinon, 2012; Roth, 2012ab; Roth, 2012b). McKee faced 15 weapon-related charges, as well as two stemming from the assault (Roth, 2012a); Miller was charged with one count each of assault with a weapon and assault causing bodily harm. Badrock was charged with one count each of criminal harassment and assault causing bodily harm (Global Edmonton, 2012).

  12. October 2013, Okotoks, AB Freeman on the Land Darren Clifford (brother of Dean Clifford) was arrested on a series of charges, including assaulting a police officer. When Detective Christie attempted to arrest Clifford on other charges, Clifford allegedly resisted arrest, striking the officer in the process (Calgary Sun, 2013).

  13. 2013, Calgary, AB Andreas Perelli, a self-proclaimed Freeman on the Land, was embroiled in a landlord-tenant dispute in which he refused to vacate the rented property that he had declared to be his “Embassy.” He finally complied with his eviction order on September 28. As he left the property, he was arrested on an outstanding warrant from Quebec, where he had been known as Mario Antonacci. He was accused in that province of pushing his landlady down a flight of stairs, resulting in a broken pelvis, arm, wrist, and ankle (Huffington Post, 2013).

  14. March 2015, Calgary, AB A suspected white supremacist, Morgan Thompson, disrupted an anti-racism rally with shouts of “white power.” When police observing the event exited their vehicle, Thompson began to run, and was chased into an alley. An officer caught up to him, and Thompson allegedly fought against him, brandishing a metal pipe. Officers fired a number of shots, leaving him in critical condition. One officer sustained minor injuries (Calgary Sun, 2015).

  15. June 8, 2015, Edmonton, AB Norman Walter Raddatz, 42-year-old anti-Semite, anti-government, and homophobe, is the alleged lone-shooter in the death of an Edmonton police officer on June 8, 2015. When members of the hate crime unit visited Raddatz’s home to serve him with an arrest warrant and court documents, the man refused to answer the door. Officers used a battering ram to gain access to the West Edmonton residence, and in turn the suspect fired a high-powered rifle at officers, killing Constable Daniel Woodall, 35, and injuring 38-year-old Sargent Jason Harley. The house was later set ablaze, most likely by the suspect, and his body was located in the basement of his home (CBC News, 2015; Simons, 2015). The paranoid man was suspected of harassing a local Jewish man and his family for a year-and-a-half, intimidating them with increasingly violent hate messages (Simons, 2015). He also posted hateful messages on the Internet about “sodomites” and “f-bomb Jews,” and sharing crude jokes about the film “Brokeback Mountain.” Prior to the police shootout, he was battling alcoholism and depression, had recently become divorced, lost his business and motor home, and was in the process of losing his bungalow (Canadian Press, 2015; CBC News, 2015; Simons, 2015).


June 4, 2014, Moncton NB: 24-year old Justin Bourque shot and killed three RCMP officers, and injured two others. He is often described as a “lone wolf,” who used social media to educate himself on far-right libertarian preoccupations, such as the “militarization” of police, anti-authoritarianism, survivalism, “crownless kings,” confiscation of guns, and Canada’s readiness for a Russian invasion (Brean, 2014). His Facebook page revealed him to be a gun enthusiast and libertarian with an anti- authoritarian mindset, and his account was awash with pro-gun, cop-hating, and liberal-bashing propaganda, (CBC News, 2014; Friscolanti & Patriquin, 2014).


  1. 2010, Hants County, NS An interracial couple experienced a cross burning on the lawn of their home. Michelle Lyon and Shayne Howe, a black man, reported hearing someone shout, “Die, nigger, die,” before his daughter saw a 2-metre cross burning on the family’s lawn with a noose hanging from it. Brothers Nathan Rehberg, 20, and Justin Rehber, 19, who are distant cousins of Lyon, were charged with inciting hatred and criminal harassment (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014; CBC News Nova Scotia, 2010a).

  2. 2010, Halifax, NS Chris Newhook, long-time white supremacist and one of the first members of Heritage Front, was declared a dangerous offender and imprisoned indefinitely after spending half of his life in prison, and accumulating roughly 50 criminal convictions, including several for racist attacks on minorities. During his hearing, Newhook yelled at the crown prosecutor, “I hate your fucking guts. I wish I could cut your fucking head off with a rusty hacksaw blade” (Anti-Racist Canada, 2014; CBC News Nova Scotia, 2010b).

  3. 2011, Amherst, NS Daren McCormick, 45, was arrested on firearm violations as well as uttering threats to police officers. McCormick is an avowed Freeman on the Land adherent. He told an officer that he could outdraw police, and that if a police cruiser appeared on his property, he would kill the officers within. When police arrived at his home in response to the threats, they were met by McCormick, who allegedly carried a loaded revolver on his hip. He was convicted of the charges in 2012 (Times-Colonist, 2012).

  4. 2015, Halifax NS Lindsay Souvannarath, 23, Randall Steven Shepherd, 20 were arrested on charges of conspiracy to commit murder, conspiracy to commit arson, illegal possession of weapons for a purpose dangerous to the public and making a threat through social media. They had allegedly planned to unleash a deadly assault on a Halifax shopping centre on Valentine’s Day. A third youth who was alleged to have been part of the conspiracy, James Gamble, 19, was found dead in his home. Based on the presence of Nazi materials in Gamble’s home, it is presumed that the group was influenced by white supremacist ideals.

    Nonetheless, Justice Minister Peter MacKay publicly proclaimed that this was not a terrorist crime, noting: “The attack does not appear to have been culturally motivated, therefore not linked to terrorism” (Toronto Star, 2015).

APPENDIX V: Recognizing Sovereigntists

The indicators here are drawn from FBI (2010), and UNC School of Government (2012).

  1. License plates with oddball names like the “Kingdom of Heaven” and the “Little Shell Pembina Band,” which is a fake Indian tribe that runs a redemption scam. The FBI has a brochure available for all law enforcement agencies that includes pictures of a variety of sovereign plates.

  2. Antigovernment bumper stickers.

  3. An arrogant or belligerent attitude. Sovereigns believe that they have secret knowledge about a complex government conspiracy that most Canadians, including law enforcement officials, are too stupid to comprehend.

  4. Unsolicited anti-Semitic comments, either outright or veiled.

  5. Odd punctuation of names, typically involving colons and hyphens, or capitalized. JOHN ROBERT DOE, for instance, signifies the corporate shell of a person, as opposed to the flesh-and-blood person.

  6. Anti-government or banking comments, even though all you are discussing is a driver’s license, registration tags or traffic infractions. Anger towards other government agencies such as FEMA, the EPA, the U.S. Post Office and the Census Bureau is common.

Treasury Direct Account

When a baby is born, sovereigns believe that the government funds a secret account in that baby’s corporate shell name, based on that person’s future earnings. This account can be accessed by writing special checks to pay taxes, mortgage balances and other debts. Sovereigns variously believe the account’s value is between $600,000 and $20 million.

Odd Postal Practices

  1. The absence of a postal code in adherents’ addresses (sometimes, the zip code is present, but placed in brackets).

  2. International postage rates is applied even for domestic mailings.

  3. All paperwork will be mailed using registered mail.

  4. Stamps will be affixed near the signature line or at the bottom corner of the page.

Unusual Documents or Components of Documents

  1. Include an “Apostille Number”

  2. Contain the phrase “Accepted for Value”

  3. Are notarized, even if not required Include presence of thumbprints, typically in red or blue ink, on or near a signature or seal

  4. “SLS” may follow signature; stands for “Sovereign Living Soul”

Birth Certificate

This form establishes each person’s corporate shell, a kind of evil doppelgänger that is attached to every flesh-and-blood baby. The shell is then supposedly sold by the government as a security to foreign investors to enrich bankers. The proof that the certificate has secret meaning is found in the use of all capital letters, bond paper and a seal and/or watermark.

Affidavit of Fiduciary

A sovereign citizen will file an Affidavit of Fiduciary when a financial institution files legal documents against him/her. This Affidavit claims the financial institution’s lawyer, will be representing the sovereign citizen. The lawyer cannot ethically represent both parties due to a conflict of interest-creating a procedural problem for the filing agency.

Affidavit of Truth

This document declares the filer as a “sovereign” or “Freeborn sovereign” consistent with the tradition of natural Common Law. Although the individual may have accepted or used instruments of federal, state, and local governments, this does not indicate the acceptance of these items. Therefore, any implied “contracts” with federal, state, and local government are null and void.

Truth Language

A complex and bizarre set of language rules designed to mimic the secret language of the law. All sentences must start with the preposition “for,” have a minimum of 13 words, and use more nouns than verbs. Punctuation rules are just as complex.

Unusual use of Outdated Language, or Formal/Legal Language

A simple question like, “Where are you headed?” may get you a response along the lines of, “I am a free man, traveling upon the land.”


The label assigned to the corporate shell in the redemption process. This corporate shell is attached to a baby at birth when a birth certificate is typed out using all capital letters and a Social Insurance number is applied for.

Sui Juris

Many sovereigns add this Latin phrase, meaning “of one’s own right,” to their flesh-and-blood names on legal documents to signify that they are reserving all the rights to which a free man is entitled.

Accepted for Value (A4V)

An “Acceptance” is an offer from a sovereign citizen, which forms a “binding contract” with the receiving party. The value of the contract is considered the “property” of the sovereign citizen. If a sovereign citizen writes “Accepted for Value” on a document, they are acknowledging the terms of the contract, recognizing the contract limits their rights, and waive their right to any legal remedies. By acknowledging the terms and limitations, the sovereign citizen is not indicating a willingness to adhere to them. Instead, this person is indicating a willingness to negotiate the terms of the contract.

Example: A sovereign citizen receives a credit card bill which states the amount owed on the account, an interest rate for the card, and a payment plan. By writing “Accepted for Value” on the bill, the sovereign citizen acknowledges the contract was received. The amount owed, interest terms, and payment schedule are all considered to be negotiable items, which once “accepted for value” could be negotiated with the billing company.


The phony legal process sovereigns use to separate a person’s flesh-and-blood body from their mythical corporate shell. Since only the corporate shell is subject to taxes, traffic laws and license requirements, the ability to separate the two is the key to liberating people from such requirements. An added bonus is that the newly freed sovereign can then write checks, or “bills of exchange,” on the account the government has set up to monetize the person’s life and earnings.

APPENDIX VI: Matrices for Recognizing Radicalization

Signals of Extremist Risk

  1. A. Self-Identification

    1. 1. Naming New Ideological Leaders/Role Models

    2. 2. Lingering Concern with Questions of Meaning and Identity

    3. 3. Concentrated Self-image

    4. 4. Very Strong Devotion to a Particular Change

    5. 5. Newfound Patriotism

  2. B. Us vs. Them Societal View

    1. 6. Seeing Society as the Enemy

    2. 7. Verbal Expression against the Government

    3. 8. Expressed Feelings of Disconnection

    4. 9. Change in Personal Narrative

  3. C. Social Interaction

    1. 10. Disconnecting with Former Community

    2. 11. Initiating Personal Violence

    3. 12. Forcing Customs on Others

    4. 13. Untouchable Demeanour

    5. 14. Dependence on Communication Technology

  4. D. Persona

    1. 15. Change in Personality

    2. 16. Particular Emotional Expressions

  5. E. Association

    1. 17. Associating with Extremist Groups

    2. 18. Word Choice

    3. 19. Change in Physical Appearance and/or Attire

    4. 20. Internet Identity

    5. 21. Training Travel

      8 The indicators noted here are derived from Pliner (2013).

Violent Extremism Risk Assessment

Attitude Items

Contextual Items

Historical Items

Protective Items

Demographic Items

Derived from Pressman (2009).

Potential Indicators of Risk to Extremism10

Expressed Opinions

These may include support for violence and terrorism, the leadership of terrorist organizations and uncompromising rejection of the principle of the rule of law and of the authority of any elected Government in this country.


The following may be relevant:

  1. Possession of violent extremist literature and imagery in hard copy or digital form (e.g., so called “beheading videos” or amateur film of terrorist attacks)

  2. Attempts to access, become a member of or contribute to violent extremist Websites and associated password protected chat rooms

  3. Possession of material regarding weapons and/or explosives Possession of literature regarding military training, skills and techniques.

  4. Online communities are important in the radicalization process and enable ready access to radicalizing material which may not be available in the offline world. Digital content can be made very attractive and persuasive and can be quickly and widely shared between young people.

Behaviour and Behavioural Changes

Relevant changes may include:

  1. Withdrawal from family, peers, social events and venues
  2. Hostility towards former associates and family
  3. Association with proscribed organizations
  4. Association with organizations that hold extremist views that stop short of
  5. advocating violence in this country.Personal HistoryThe following may be relevant:
  6. Claims or evidence of involvement in organizations espousing violent
  7. Extremist ideology in this country or overseas
  8. Claims or evidence of attendance at military/terrorist training in the UK or overseas
  9. Claims or evidence of involvement in combat/violent activity, particularly on
  10. Behalf of violent extremist non-state organizations
  11. Low level criminality, including some violence, is also commonly seen in case histories of convicted terrorists.


Derived from UK Home Office (2010).