An Ottawa man is the first ever to be charged in Canada with terrorism and hate propaganda offences for advocating a violent, far-right ideology.
RCMP said Wednesday they arrested and charged 26-year-old Patrick Gordon Macdonald with participating in the activity of a terrorist group, facilitating terrorist activity and wilfully promoting hatred for a terrorist group.
The RCMP says Macdonald helped make propaganda material for a terrorist group called Atomwaffen Division.
The group, also known as AWD, is a U.S.-based neo-Nazi organization that was listed as a terrorist entity in Canada in 2021.
A second person was arrested in Kingsey Falls, Que., as part of the RCMP’s Integrated National Security Enforcement Team investigation but no charges have been laid against them at this point.
Macdonald appeared in an Ottawa court on Wednesday by video, wearing a black and sleeveless Adidas shirt. His matter was adjourned until Friday and he is remaining in custody.
According to the U.S.-based Southern Poverty Law Centre, AWD’s graphic designs are created by a Canadian known as “Dark Foreigner,” the online screen name allegedly used by Macdonald.
Public Safety Canada says the Atomwaffen Division calls for acts of violence against racial, religious, and ethnic groups, as well as informants, police and bureaucrats, to prompt the collapse of society.
It has held training camps, also known as hate camps, where its members receive weapons and hand-to-hand combat training.
Members of AWD have carried out acts of violence before, including at a deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., in 2017.
The co-leader of the group, who is American, was banned from Canada after the Immigration and Refugee Board determined he was a member of a group that has, or will, engage in terrorist activities.
In June 2022, RCMP officers conducted raids near Quebec City targeting people connected to the AWD. A month before that, a 19-year-old from Windsor, Ont., was arrested for alleged ties to the same group.