Flyers promoting the Ku Klux Klan found outside dozens of homes in Abbotsford, Mission, and Chilliwack, British Columbia this week are stoking fears about a rise in white supremacy.
The flyers, some of which were dropped off in clear plastic bags containing white rice, declare: "Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan! Yes! White Lives Do Matter!" and "We Must Secure the Existence of Our People & A Future for White Children."
They also state a phone number for a "Klan Hotline" with a North Carolina area code and a URL to the KKK recruiting website. According to Global News, it's believed the flyers are being tossed out of a car window in the middle of the night, a recruiting tactic referred to as "Knight Riding" long used by chapters in the US.
This week, police in Albany, Georgia reported that similar "recruiting bags" containing a poster and white rice were found at a number of homes. It follows a string of similar deliveries this month in neighbourhoods across the US — from California to Pennsylvania. Authorities have not been able to determine whether it's part of a concerted national effort.
Over the last year, KKK groups across the US have multiplied, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center's report on hate groups.
The KKK took root in Canada around the 1920s, especially in Ontario, BC, and Alberta, but the movement had trouble recruiting members and dissolved quickly over the next decade. Other groups and political parties with white supremacist goals would later emerge across the country such as the Heritage Front and World Church of the Creator.
Mission local Ken Rothe told Global News he couldn't believe when he woke up to find the poster on his driveway. "It's disgusting to be honest," he said. "I'd like to think in Canada this stuff doesn't go on, but here it is right in front of us."
It's still unclear who delivered the posters, and if it's the work of an official KKK group, but local police forces and the RCMP are investigating and have sent the packages out for forensic testing.
This latest incident comes just months after dozens of the same flyers were dropped off at doorsteps in Chilliwack in late July.
The RCMP launched an investigation into it then as well, but didn't immediately respond to a request from VICE News for an update.
Chilliwack resident Cameron Kenis who received one of those flyers in a bag of white rice told CBC News at the time he hoped it was just the actions of "one crazy guy" and not a KKK cell.
"It's a really, really good community and we're all really close, but it's concerning when you see something like this happen in your neighbourhood. It sort of makes you question what's going on," Kenis said.
While these flyers do not mention other religions or cultures, they come just weeks after posters targeting Sikh men who wear turbans appeared on the University of Alberta campus. There's nothing to suggest the two are related.
Daniel Gallant, a law student at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops who describes himself as a former recruiter for white supremacists around Vancouver, said that while the flyers aren't new, he's seen a spike in such right-wing extremist activities in the province.
"Pamphlet campaigns in an area typically spike within close times as other areas, which has been happening as of late in Western Canada," Gallant told Metro News on Wednesday. "These campaigns are a way to instill terror and typically to further inflate radicalized tensions within communities, which already exist."
A recent study on right-wing extremism in Canada found there are at least 100 such groups operating across the country, even though the movement as a whole is deeply fragmented and plagued by infighting. The authors define these types of extremists as people who hold racist, homophobic, and nationalist ideologies.
"The threat from the far right in Canada is real," Ryan Scrivens, a researcher at Simon Fraser University and the report's co-author, told VICE News earlier this year. "It doesn't get the same kind of attention and publicity that Islamic extremist groups get, but they have, historically, done more damage in Canada."
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