white supremacy in canada

New report shows Canada is one of the worst countries for white supremacy

As human rights advocates continue to try and show how Canada is just as racist as our neighbour south of the border, some data from a new report has shed additional light on the issue.

Researchers from the U.K.-based Institute for Strategic Dialogue was commissioned to investigate the prevalence of white supremacy in Canada — a nation that many believe to be kinder and more polite than the U.S. — by investigating online activity from far-right groups over the past two years.

Content on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, 4chan, and dedicated right-wing extremist sites was examined.

Titled An Online Environmental Scan of Right-wing Extremism in Canada, the report notes in its summary that "acts of terrorism committed by the far-right have increased by 320% over the past five years, supported by an increasingly connected and internationalist community of right-wing extremism. Canada has not been isolated from this trend."

It adds that "in recent years, the number of hate groups operating in the country has tripled" and that "there appears to have been an alarming qualitative and quantitative shift in rightwing activism in most parts of Canada."

According to the findings, there are around 6,660 identifiable right-wing extremist pages, groups, accounts and channels coming out of Canada, reaching upwards of 11 million people online. They range in ethos from white supremacy and anti-Muslim hate to incel misogyny and pro-militia, anti-establishment beliefs.

Strong opposition to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is also a strangely, but perhaps unsurprisingly, prevalent topic of conversation among these users, who mostly seem to originate from western Ontario, Quebec and Alberta. Alt-right sentiments are also growing significantly in the Maritime provinces, especially since the pandemic lockdown, as people have been spending more time stuck inside their homes (or parents' basements).

While these groups have grown in number over the past few years, tripling from 2017 to 2019, they have also sharpened their focuses.

"By 2015, the movement was quite diverse in its targets, often defined by regional concerns that reflected the demographics or politics of the province or city in question," the document notes.

"In the past three to four years, however, there is a much more united front as Muslims, immigrants and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau emerge as shared objects of scorn and antipathy, matching trends seen in online analysis."

Along with the social isolation that the health crisis has brought, the consequent economic fallout may lead to more growth of such beliefs and online enclaves, a representative from Ontario Tech University, who came up with the idea for the report, tells Vice.

"We know that mass killings in recent years were done by lone actors mobilized by online engagement, and it’s a concern that more exposure to these narratives during COVID-19, when so many have lost work, might engender similar violence," they said to the news outlet.

Compared to users from other countries, Canadians are the third-largest group on alt-right sites like Iron March, and also the third-largest participating in things like the "politically incorrect" board on 4chan, after Americans and Brits.

And though we'd like to think ourselves better than the States in many ways, it is undeniable that their culture — both good and bad — at times can feel inextricable from our own, due in part to our shared border.

So when you're decrying racism or hateful extremism of any kind in America, be sure to try and acknowledge and put a halt to it at home, too.

Lead photo by

Hector Vasquez

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