OTTAWA—Neo-Nazis chatted about joining Canada’s military reserves to gain access to combat training, according to a new report by VICE Canada.
A cache of posts obtained by VICE from a neo-Nazi online chatroom suggest that several Canadian extremists had either joined up or made plans to join the Canadian Armed Forces reserves.
The chat logs, which date between 2015 and 2017, ethused that joining the reserves was a low-commitment way to gain access to combat training and physical conditioning.
“Its fun, volunteer-only for deployments and they give you a solid 8k to get yourself educated,” one user, who went by “Nikolajević,” wrote in 2016.
“Ah, another fascist in the Canadian military,” replied AlbaNuadh, an alias VICE reported was used by a Nova Scotian reservist named Brandon Cameron. Cameron has denied using the moniker.
The posts are more evidence that right-wing extremism has a presence in Canada’s military.
In 2017, five CAF members who associated with the far-right “Proud Boys” group attempted to disrupt an Indigenous protest in Halifax.
AlbaNuadh, allegedly a former reservist, was connected to the right-wing terrorist group Atomwaffen Division. And a CBC/Radio Canada investigation revealed 70 active CAF personnel were members of a Facebook group for La Meute, a far-right anti-immigrant group in Quebec.
In August, General Jonathan Vance told the Star that it’s “clear” that some members of the Canadian Armed Forces harbour far-right and white surpemacist views.
“The facts speak for themselves,” Vance said, referring to two well-publicized incidents involving CAF members participating in far-right groups.
“We have people who retired from the military and are active on social media, La Meute, and organizations like that. So clearly it’s in here.”
Vance said he believes that there isn’t a significant number of extremists within the ranks, and that it’s certainly not the norm — but said that was simply his sense, and the CAF has not conducted an internal investigation.
Research in the United States has suggested right-wing extremists are drawn to law enforcement and military service, although comparably little research has been done on the phenomenon in Canada. A 2015 FBI report published by The Intercept suggested that far-right groups had courted a close relationship with law enforcement.
It’s not clear that any similar assessment has been conducted in Canada. The Canadian Security Intelligence Service refused to answer that question when contacted by the Star in September.
Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan told the Star that he trusts in Vance and the CAF chain of command to “deal with” any type of “negative behaviour.”