As the mystery around a missing army reservist with alleged ties to a neo-Nazi group continues to deepen, the lack of media attention and public outrage raises many questions.
Master cpl. Patrick Mathews disappeared two weeks ago. He was in the process of being relieved of his duties with the Canadian Forces after a series of investigative reports in the Winnipeg Free Press exposed his ties with a U.S.-based neo-Nazi terror group known as The Base.
Mathews was reportedly last seen by family members on Aug. 24. The RCMP are looking for him, and his vehicle was found close to the U.S.-Canada border. They believe that he could be in the United States, where The Base has armed members and conducted secret training camps.
Whereas the CBC has been consistently reporting on this case, there is relative silence in Canadian media generally. Little public outrage is visible, and there isn’t any serious concern being raised by our politicians or newspaper headlines raising some kind of alarm across Canada. This tells us something.
To put it bluntly, the RCMP is seeking a potential terrorist with military training. Had he been a Muslim, the media would have been all over it, while the public would be up in arms and panicked by politician after politician making loud and passionate statements about the terrorist on the run. Mathews, however, has been able to quietly melt into the crowd.
We cannot say how seriously the issue of systemic white nationalist infiltration is being taken by the Canadian Forces, or in fact whether any attempts are being made to determine if he was a lone wolf or there were others like him who may have joined the army. But this whole affair demands a thorough inquiry to determine how deeply our forces have been penetrated by white nationalists.
How was someone associated with any hate group able to become a reservist? Is the screening process of the Canadian Forces so lax, despite the fact we have a history of people associated with neo-Nazis getting military training? Former neo-Nazi Tony McAleer, for example, has revealed that he too had joined the forces as a reservist years ago. And last year’s award-winning investigative report by Ricochet turned up connections between white nationalism and the armed forces.
For now we can only hope that Mathews is located soon, but the Canadian establishment and our society seriously need to do serious soul-searching.
It is well established that neo-Nazis and other far-right groups pose a more serious threat than so-called Islamic extremists. From Charlottesville to Quebec City, we have seen the toll in the deaths of innocents. In this context, the relative silence about the Mathews case is inexcusable. It’s time we took the growing threat of white supremacy seriously.