Fifty-four Canadian Armed Forces personnel under investigation for right-wing extremism

Canadian Politics

Canadian Armed Forces Jumpmaster, Corporal Tyler Henrich assists members of the 82nd Airborne Division, as they board a Royal Canadian Air Force CC-177 Globemaster III aircraft. Photo by Sgt. Matthew McGregor/Canadian Forces Combat Camera (Flickr).

The President of the Canadian Association for Security and Intelligence Studies says there are 54 active duty troops being investigated by the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) for links to right-wing extremism.

Candyce Kelshall was speaking on NL Newsday, and says the specialized training CAF members could have could make them very valuable to an extremist group, and potentially dangerous.

“Because of the advance knowledge in terms of violence and managed violence that they have. So our concerns lie in what happens with these individuals who may be in the Armed Forces but also when they leave.”

She was speaking after the Centre for Security and Intelligence Studies issued a bulletin warning about the potential for right wing extremism in the Armed Forces.

“Heightened masculinity, authoritarianism, concepts like brotherhood and fraternities, these are strong concepts that draw people to the military, but they are also the same concepts that draw people into right wing extremism, and that’s why the two grounds are quite fertile, feeding one into the next,” Kelshall added.

She says even one of these individuals being involved in an extremist group can cause threats to ordinary citizens.

“In 2017, five Canadian Armed Forces Members involved with Proud Boys disrupting an indigenous ceremony in Halifax,” noted Kelshall. “In 2018, where we had Brandon Cameron, allegedly, associated with Atomwaffen. So I don’t want to hark too far back into 1993 and Somalia, horrific as that was, but I think, we need to pay attention to the fact that these instances are happening much more frequently, and that should give us some cause for concern.”

In their bulletin, CASIS argues that the Armed Forces has taken a reactive approach in responding to instances of right-wing extremism.

Victor Kaisar is a multimedia journalist and a Radio NL anchor-reporter.

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