By Scott Taylor
The saga of Master Corporal Patrik Mathews continues to be a puzzler, with a plethora of unanswered questions. What we do know for sure is that Mathews joined the Canadian Army reserves eight years ago as a Combat Engineer. He was promoted twice to his current rank, and received training in the usual Combat Engineer skill sets like basic firearms handling, construction, demolition and explosives training.
Thanks to the intrepid, and courageous investigative journalism of Ryan Thorpe with the Winnipeg Free Press, it was recently revealed that Mathews was also the Manitoba based recruiter for a Neo-Nazi hate group known as the Base.
The founder of the Base is an American who goes by the public name of Roman Wolf. Their manifesto is based on white supremacy and they are actively arming and preparing themselves for the “coming race war”. Recruiting posters for the Base began to appear on Winnipeg streets in July. With slogans like ‘Save your race – Join the Base’ and Nazi style images these flyers attracted the interest of Thorpe and the Free Press.
Thorpe was very quickly able to convince his Base interviewers that he was a legitimate volunteer who possessed the anti-Semitic, anti-immigrant mindset, which they were seeking.
After speaking with none other than head honcho Roman Wolf, Thorpe was granted a face-to-face meeting with Mathews. Although Mathews bragged to Thorpe that he was a member of the Canadian Armed Forces, Thorpe could not confirm this fact with the military prior to publishing his first story.
Once it was confirmed the MCpl Mathews and the Base recruiter were indeed one and the same person, DND went into full damage control mode. The problem was that nobody seemed to be singing the same song sheet.
Mathews’ Brigade Commander, Colonel Gwen Bourque told the media that the CAF had been blissfully unaware of the young Combat Engineer’s extra-curricular Nazi activities. This was quickly contradicted by Chief of Defence Staff General Jonathan Vance, who told CBC that Mathews has first been placed under suspicion for his viewpoints back in April. Vance said that at that juncture Mathews began to receive counseling. However, following an undisclosed escalation in Mathews activities in July, the alleged Neo-Nazi was placed “under full fledged analysis investigation by our national counter-intelligence unit” said Vance.
So, Mathews’ local Brigade headquarters knew nothing, but the feds in Ottawa had it fully under control? Got it.
Then there is the question of Mathews’ actual status in the CAF at the time the story broke. One version had it that Mathews had requested a voluntary release back in April; presumably around the time he was ordered to take counseling.
It was explained by DND spokespersons that these releases could take up to one year to process. Given the revelation by the Free Press that Mathews was in fact a recruiter for the Base, this process was being expedited so that he would not return for duty in the fall.
Further official clarification explained that the Reserve Combat Engineer unit to which Mathews belonged was stood down for the summer between May and September.
On Friday, August 23, after the story broke and his identity was confirmed, Mathews apparently asked his employer for time off so he could return his military gear.
I believe now that Mathews is indeed ‘essentially suspended’ as General Vance has claimed, but it is unclear whether or not Mathews indeed requested his release prior to this story breaking.
Although the RCMP subsequently raided Mathews home and seized what were admittedly legally registered firearms, no charges – either military or civilian have been filed in this case. So why then did Mathews disappear from sight?
This will no doubt play out in the days ahead, but one of the bigger questions we should be asking is why did it take a newspaper reporter endangering himself in order to surface the truth about these Neo-Nazis?
A few phone calls and some gutsy role-playing and Thorpe was able to get inside the Base. We have agencies with trained personnel and weapon permits that are supposed to be doing that sort of thing to protect all Canadians.