Alberta has a long history of racist movements that have emerged over the decades. During the 1920s the Ku Klux Klan recruited 8000 members to target mostly Eastern European immigrants, Roman Catholics, French speaking Canadians, and African-Canadian ranchers. In the 1980s the Aryan Nations’ Canadian Leader TERRY LONG and Saskatchewan based Carney Nerland organized a neo-Nazi and Klan rally held on private land near the town of Provost, Alberta (few, if any, of the participants were local). That same decade high school history teacher JAMES KEEGATRA was telling his students that the Holocaust was a lie. More recently the group Western Canada For Us was founded by GLENN BAHR and PETER KOUBA in Edmonton to organize Alberta neo-Nazis and attempted to spread its influence into both Manitoba under the leadership of JAIMIE MURPHY and British Columbia through CHRIS BROWN.
But just as racist movements have gained a foothold, there is an equally long history of groups in Alberta that sprang up to oppose and uproot them. The KKK of the 1920s was rendered impotent when Albertans realized that the Klan’s claims to morality and virtue rang hollow and hypocritical when founder and organizer J.J. MALONEY was jailed for embezzlement. Terry Long’s Alberta Aryan Nations collapsed as a result of a successful lawsuit initiated by a man attacked by skinheads under the influence of Long (CARNEY NERLAND had been convicted earlier of manslaughter in the death of First Nations trapper Leo LaChance in Prince Albert). In 1984 Keegstra was stripped of his teaching credentials, charged with “willfully promoting hatred against an identifiable group,” and convicted. Western Canada For Us fell apart almost immediately after it began due to the efforts of community activists and the Edmonton police’s Hate Crimes Division. Glenn Bahr and Peter Kouba, along with members CIARAN DONNELLY and JESSICA BEAUMONT have been or are currently subjects of human rights complaints brought forth by anti-racist activist and attorney Richard Warman (Bahr is also the subject of a criminal case for violating section 319 of Canada’s Criminal Code). Now a new group going by the name Aryan Guard, based primarily in Calgary but with members and supporters from other cities within and outside Alberta, has emerged. And, as has occurred in the past, the community is rising up in opposition.