A statement from the Canadian Armed Forces, released Monday, confirmed the military is aware of allegations indicating a member may be involved in an organization that promotes hate.
The statement, which was issued from the acting commander of the 3rd Canadian Division, Brig.-Gen. David Awalt, said the CAF will “move forward to explore what immediate actions can be taken,” and “will continue to support the ongoing CAF investigation.”
The allegations were first made public on Monday, when the Winnipeg Free Press identified Master Cpl. Patrik Mathews as an alleged recruiter for the white supremacist network, The Base.
The report alleged that Mathews, who is currently a combat engineer at a Canadian Forces base in Winnipeg, put up neo-Nazi posters across the city for the hate group.
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Joining the Canadian Army Reserve in 2010, Mathews holds a leadership position.
Ran Ukashi from B’nai Brith Canada told Global News that the far-right group Mathews is recruiting for is among the most extreme.
“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,” said Ukashi.
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In early August, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said that the federal government is “concerned” about white supremacist ideologies leading to acts of terror within Canada and abroad.
He alluded to the shooting in Gilroy, Calif. into which FBI officials had launched a domestic terrorism investigation. That shooting was then closely followed by two other mass shootings in Texas and Ohio which left a combined death toll of 31.
Awalt said that it is “completely unacceptable” for any CAF member to participate in an organization that “promotes hatred, violence, discrimination, or harassment,” as defined in the Canadian Human Rights Act.
The statement continued, noting that Awalt said if there was any indication that a violation of the CAF’s code of values and ethics had occurred, he would “leverage all tools at [his] disposal, including legal and disciplinary measures.”
The measures could also include release from the military.
With files from Global News’ Joe Scarpelli
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