Nazi Flags Found in Canada Prompt Calls For Hate Crime Investigation

A prominent Jewish organization is urging a criminal investigation be launched after neo-Nazi flags were found being flown in a Canadian province.

The Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center (FSWC) has expressed concerns about the "extremely disturbing" flags which have appeared in Alberta in the space of a few days.

The FSWC said it was first alerted about a Hitler Youth flag being flown on a flagpole near the village of Boyle last week, before also being notified of Hitler Youth and Confederate flags being displayed at a property near Breton a few days later.

The Toronto-based organization said it contacted the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) to file a criminal complaint regarding the flags in Breton. Police said they spoke to the property owner, who refused to take down the flags.

"It is extremely disturbing and quite disheartening to once again see a Hitler Youth flag, as well as the Confederate flag, on display," said Jaime Kirzner-Roberts, FSWC's Director of Policy.

"These displays of hate go against the values that Canada stands for and are an attack on not only the Jewish and Black communities, but also on our veterans and fallen soldiers who made unspeakable sacrifices to defeat the Nazis and preserve our freedoms."

The FSWC had already spoken to police about the Nazi flag at the property in Boyle.

While it is not a crime to display such banners on private property, it is illegal in Canada to engage in the wilful promotion of hatred.

The FSWC said it is urging police to investigate these incidents as hate crimes.

"Technically, flying a flag is not illegal in itself, so [investigators] have to determine whether there is motivation or something else behind it that is criminal in nature," RCMP spokeswoman Const. Chantelle Kelly previously told The Canadian Press.

The FSWC has also written to the local county council to ask it to work with law enforcement in order to try to have the flags removed.

"We urge police to investigate this incident as a hate crime and for community leaders to send a message loud and clear that hate will not be tolerated in their community," Kirzner-Roberts added.

The RCMP has been contacted for comment.

The incident occurred after a flag of the far-right Canadian Nationalist Party was seen at a "freedom rally" protesting COVID-19 restrictions in Saskatoon on May 9.

Travis Patron, leader of the fringe white nationalist group, was charged in February over an anti-Semitic video in which he called for Jewish people to be removed "once and for all" from the country.

"From day one we have seen every single hate movement and prominent individual that we monitor become involved in the COVID conspiracy movement. At this point they are one in the same," Evan Balgord, executive Director of the Canadian Anti-Hate Network, told CTV News.

Hitler Youth
Polcie have been alerted to the Hitler Youth and Confederate flags displayed at a property near Breton, Alberta. Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies