How and why a hate group tries to recruit members of the military
Published Wednesday, August 21, 2019 6:04PM CST
There are recruitment concerns as revelations surface about a Winnipeg member of the Canadian Armed Forces being investigated for possible racist and extremist activities.
The Winnipeg Free Press reports MCpl. Patrik Mathews is a member of a group called The Base. The Canadian Armed forces is investigating. Military charges have never been laid against Mathews.
The Base had posters up in neighbourhoods across Winnipeg this summer with contact information, and had an online video.
The Canadian Anti-Hate Network said the base is a neo-Nazi terrorism group preparing for a race war.
In a statement to CTV News, a spokesperson for the base described the group as "an international survivalism and self-defence network."
Peter St. John is an Manitoba-based expert on international relations, terrorism and security.
He said Wednesday the tactics of The Base in Winnipeg appear blatant, that people have been encouraged by racism in the United states, and the motivation is fear.
"There's certain fear in this community of people of unknown people coming in and taking your country, and supposedly taking your job, which of course is not really true, but it’s perceived that way, and why people behave like this," St. John said.
He said the Armed Forces is a place to recruit because it's a place people learn to fight and deal with explosives.
"If you are a right-wing group and want you a bit of experience to try and do something of a terrorist nature, then obviously the Armed Forces would be a good place for you to target for experience in this field,” said St. John.
He said education is key. He would like to see what he calls ‘training talks’ with people who know about racism and extremism.
"Allow members of the Armed Forces who have these views to talk about them and explore them, and maybe abandon them or maybe not develop them further when they see how socially unacceptable they are,” he said.
Rate of racism and white supremacy
Canada’s Department of National Defence said Monday a recent report from the Military Police Criminal Intelligence Program found the rate of racism and white supremacy between 2013 and 2018, less than 0.1 per cent and is not considered a threat.
However, it said even one person engaged in hateful conduct is too many and is an issue that it must rectify.
The CAF said if any instances of wrong-doing are found action will be taken.
A DND spokesperson said if a member's chain of command determines that a member has demonstrated a conduct deficiency, measures can includes, counselling, a warning and probation. It can also result in a transfer, the member's rank reverting back to a former rank or release from the Armed Forces.