Canada

RCMP searches Manitoba home in relation to Canadian Forces member allegedly in hate group

RCMP searches Manitoba home in relation to Canadian Forces member allegedly in hate group

The RCMP executed a search warrant at a home in Manitoba on Monday in connection with allegations that one of its members was involved in an organization that promotes hate.

Multiple sources tell Global News’ Mercedes Stephenson that a number of firearms were seized during the search, which occurred at around 10 p.m. in the town of Beausejour.

While it’s unclear if the CAF member accused in the military investigation resides at the home, sources say it is related to the investigation.

The Winnipeg Free Press first reported on Monday the allegations that Master Cpl. Patrik Mathews was recruiting for white supremacist network The Base.

The CAF issued a statement about the situation, saying it was investigating and exploring potential “immediate actions” to take. Few other details were provided at the time.

Col. Gwen Bourque told reporters Tuesday that no arrests had been made. She said Mathews had been relieved from duty but is still considered an active member.

Mathews is employed at a CAF base in Winnipeg as a combat engineer.

According to the report, Mathews put up Nazi posters across the city for the group. He also allegedly expressed admiration for serial killers and mass shooters, such as Charleston shooter Dylann Roof. Members of The Base also consider the alleged Christchurch shooter “a saint,” the report said.

“He wants to recruit young white men for a race war,” it alleged. “He thinks one is coming and can’t wait for it to get here.”

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In its statement, the CAF said if there were an indication that the military’s code had been violated, officials would “leverage all tools at [their] disposal, including legal and disciplinary measures.”

Brian Levin, a criminologist and attorney at the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, said allegations like the one against a Canadian military member are yet another example of how the “normalization of white supremacy and Nazism” is growing.

He said the spread “occurs across the spectrum.”

“Canada actually had a decline last year after hitting a record in 2017. The bottom line is we’re seeing hate expressed in hate crimes and we’ve seen increases in recent years, including Canada, which just came off a record,” he said.

“South of the border, it’s the same news cycle. We’re seeing kids do a Nazi salute in a sporting team event.”

Ran Ukashi from B’nai Brith Canada said The Base is among the most extreme alt-right groups.

“When they are inciting violence or when they are promoting the idea of ‘we should attack group X, Y and Z,’ the way you do that is through violent means, so they see it as advantageous in having military training of all sorts in order to facilitate that, which makes it all the more serious and all the more dangerous,” Ukashi told Global News.

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Levin pointed to the “rabbit hole” of content online as a factor in the spread of hate.

“It’s a worldwide, international trend, and that’s what is so head-scratching for our Canadian friends, who are a tolerant society,” he said.

“Bottom line is, it doesn’t occur in a vacuum.”

— With files from David Lao