Military investigates allegedly racist reservist

Military police are investigating a reservist who is alleged to have plans to go to a white-pride demonstration this weekend in Calgary.
Military police are investigating a complaint a teenage reservist from Winnipeg plans to go to a white-pride demonstration in Calgary. (Canadian Forces)

Military police are investigating a teenage reservist from Winnipeg who is allegedly planning to attend a white-pride demonstration in Calgary.

Capt. Karina Holder said actual attendance at the event, set for this weekend, isn't necessary for the Canadian Forces to take action if the investigation provides any evidence on which to act.

She said racist attitudes and activities are incompatible with service in the Armed Forces.

"You have to have that basic respect for your fellow human beings, otherwise you cannot function in this organization," she said.

Holder said a member of the public complained about the 17-year-old reservist but she couldn't confirm the complaint prompted the investigation.

The reservists allegedly planned to attend a white-pride demonstration on Saturday in Calgary and had expressed racist views in online postings, according to reports.

Holder wouldn't provide details of the alleged activities but said if racism is uncovered during the probe, the reservist's military career could be over.

"If found guilty of that, release is very much on the table," Holder said, adding it's important in Canada's multi-racial and mixed-gender Armed Forces to work together.

"You're told when you enrol you have to be on board with this. You never get to choose your fire team partner. Someone's got your back and you have to be OK with them being of any colour or gender. And if people do not comply with that, then at the recruiting stage they're filtered out."

The probe comes as Calgary police prepare for Saturday's march. A similar march turned violent in 2009 when a few dozen members of the Calgary-based Aryan Guard were met by hundreds of anti-racism protesters.

On its website, the Aryan Guard describes itself as the guardian of the white Aryan race.

Canada's military has been accused of racism before. In the mid-1990s, the Canadian Airborne Regiment was disbanded after an inquiry into the beating death of Somali teenager Shidane Arone at the hands of two Canadian soldiers.

There were reports of white supremacist activity at the regiment's home of CFB Petawawa.