The Canadian Armed Forces is investigating a reserves combat engineer in Winnipeg for alleged links to a hate group called “The Base.”
Canadian Army Reserves leader Master Cpl. Patrik Mathews, 26, joined the reserves in 2010 and is with the 38 Canadian Brigade Group. He has some explosives experience.
The Winnipeg Free Press first broke the story of his arrest Monday.
Later that night the RCMP raided an address in Beausejour, about 45 kilometres north east of Winnipeg, registered to Mathews, where officers can be heard addressing him over a loud speaker announcing they have a search warrant and for Mathews to exit with his hands in the air.
Officials told CTV News Winnipeg a number of firearms were seized and that no one is in custody.
A CAF spokesperson confirmed a military investigation is ongoing and that the accused is a part-time Class A soldier. The last time he worked was in May, and he also has a full-time civilian job.
“This is not something they (CAF) haven’t known about,” said Bernie Farber, chair of the Canadian Anti-Hate Network, a non-profit group which monitors, exposes and counters hate groups.
“There was a report from their own Canadian military intelligence which we received through a freedom of information (request) which told us there was at least 50 members of neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups within the Canadian military.”
Farber said soldiers are deliberately targeted by extremist groups, who prefer their members to have military training.
He said “The Base” is a sister organization to “Atomwaffen” in the U.S, which are both domestic terror groups preparing for a future race war.
“They are ultraviolent,” Farber told CTV News Channel.
“This is the most violent group around. They recruit through dark places on the internet, they start on areas like 4chan and 8chan and identify potential recruits (and) they bring them to different places on social media where they can interrogate them.
“It’s a mystery to me as to why they (CAF) haven’t taken precipitous action with all the other 50 individuals involved.”
Winnipeg Free Press reporter Ryan Thorpe brought the allegations to light by infiltrating the hate group.
He said that Mathews revealed to him that he had travelled to the U.S. for paramilitary training and that he was attempting to establish a cell in Manitoba.
Mathews declined to speak to CTV News Winnipeg.
A CAF spokesperson told CTV News Winnipeg a member of the 38 Canadian Brigade Group based in Winnipeg is under investigation for possible racist and extremist activities.
The spokesperson told journalists in a telephone conference that if the reservist is found guilty he could lose his job.
“He has a basic understanding of demolitions and he is only able to access any these type of explosives on military exercises that are sanctioned,” Col. Gwen Boourque, Commader 38 Canadian Brigade Group, told reporters.
An internal Canadian Armed Forces report obtained by CTV News Winnipeg in November 2018 found that between January 2013 and November 2018, 53 members were identified as being part of a hate group or undertook action and/or made statements which could be viewed as discriminatory or racist. As of a year ago, 30 were still serving.
The same report concludes that given the small number of members identified, hate groups do not pose a significant threat to the Canadian Armed Forces or the Department of National Defence.
“I would like to hear exactly what they’re (CAF) going to do. We have no answers right now and this is a clear and present danger,” Farber added.
“We don’t want individuals -- racist, violent individuals -- trained by the Canadian military to make bombs wandering around Canadian streets.”
Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan said in an emailed statement to CTV News that he has asked the National Defence and Canadian Forces Ombudsman for an independent examination on racism in the Canadian Armed Forces, and to provide recommendations to ensure a positive and inclusive environment is maintained.
Lt.-Gen. Wayne Eyre, Canadian Army Commander, told CTV News Channel that the military has no time for those who don’t hold “the values of Canada close to their heart.”
“The values of diversity, inclusion, respect for others, teamwork, that’s who Canada is,” said Eyre.
“That’s who we are protecting. Those that do not embrace those values, those that do not protect those values have no place in this organization.”
The allegations against Mathews have emerged at the same time as The Base has made itself more visible in Winnipeg.
The group’s posters have appeared across the city with messages including "Learn, Train and Fight" and "Save your race, join The Base."
CTV News Winnipeg emailed the address on its posters and a person identifying himself as Roman Wolf, official spokesman for The Base, replied with a statement.
"The Base is an international survivalism and self-defense network,” the statement read.
“Our mission is to organize and facilitate training events and meetups worldwide. Through self-improvement and mutual support, we aim to outlive the current liberal globalist system and establish order from chaos."
With files from CTV News Winnipeg’s Beth Macdonell and The Canadian Press