Charles Scott, “colonel” of the white-supremacist Aryan Nations and “pastor” of its racist offshoot, the Christian Identity Church of Christ in Israel, is 29. He is of average height, and when he is not laughing, which he does frequently, his blue eyes hide behind half-drawn lids. He wears loose sport tops that conceal a large spare tire. He recently became a father for the second time: on Easter Sunday, his wife, Leanne, 30, bore a son, Seth, a brother for daughter Kaelee, who will be 3 next month. Last week, Kaelee’s green tricycle lay on its side in the cluttered dog run next to the family’s rented house in Chilliwack, B.C., while her father talked to a reporter out in the unmown yard. Seated on a weathered lawn chair, Charles Scott expound-
ed a doctrine that he insisted was not simply one of hatred. It was sometimes difficult to see the
distinction. “Absolutely, Jews are evil,” he said earnestly at one point, squinting into the warm April sun. “They are the literal line of Satan on Earth.”
Whatever it is that Scott is purveying, it is easy to believe him when he says that his parents, a lifetime federal civil servant and a child psychologist, “don’t support my views whatsoever.” Born in Fort Saskatchewan, Alta., Scott had established himself in Edmonton by the age of 20, working as a private investigator, snooping on other people’s failed marriages. In 1992, he and Leanne moved to Hayden Lake, Idaho, to study the bizarre white-supremacy theology of Aryan Nations leader Richard Butler. Scott returned to Canada a year later, moving his young family to the lower B.C. mainland. There, he has had trouble keeping the occasional jobs he has found as an agricultural laborer and jujitsu teacher, a problem he blames on reaction to his views. He is now unemployed.
But not idle. Since returning to Canada, Scott has worked to spread the virulent mixture of biblical prophecy, militant racism and subversion that he absorbed in Idaho. He is Canadian director of the Posse Comitatus, an anti-government paramilitary movement founded in Oregon in 1969. He is also Canadian director—with the rank of colonel—of Aryan Nations, and Butler has ordained him as a pastor of its church. In Aryan Nations, he has connected himself with what Linda Tindal of the Montgomery, Ala.-based watchdog agency Klanwatch calls “one of the fastest-growing groups that we monitor. It is a major player in hate.” And Scott is a major player in Aryan Nations: at its congress in July he is to be proclaimed “Aryan of the Year.”
One man who has Scott’s admiration is Militia of Montana leader
John Trochmann, who claims that a proposed international park straddling the border between British Columbia and Washington state is a cover for a UN effort to control the world. “It’s being used for a number of different things,” says Trochmann. “The transfer of foreign troops and equipment is definitely one of them. Electromagnetic weather control is definitely another one of them.” Says Scott of Trochmann: “I think he’s a great guy. I have a lot of respect for him.”
In person, Scott rails against Jews, homosexuals, the United Nations and “those sons of Lucifer in Ottawa.” Last week, the message on a telephone hotline that he maintains began with a gloating declaration blaming the Oklahama City bombing on the U.S. federal government: “The beast has inflicted a wound upon itself in the heartland of America.”
Scott claims to be making gains in a region of Canada where the Bible, guns and rightwing politics frequently go hand-in-hand. The Chilliwack area is home as well to a thriving branch of the seven-year-old Christian Heritage Party of Canada, which disavows racism but places biblical law above that of Parliament. In recent months, the towns around Chilliwack also have been the scene of several angry public meetings to denounce proposed new federal gun-registration requirements. Amid what he says is fertile soil for recruitment, Scott asserts: “I have a congregation. I have trained militias here in Canada.” Active supporters, he says, number “30 Christians and 20 non-Christians.”
But Scott’s claim is disputable. A source within the RCMP confirmed to Maclean’s last week that Scott “is being monitored,” but added that “so far he hasn’t done anything criminal.” The RCMP also puts the number of his disciples closer to six than 50. Scott himself, meanwhile, cited reasons of “security” for refusing to allow a Maclean’s reporter to confirm his claims of support by attending one of the periodic training sessions that he says he holds for his troops.
In fact, there is reason to believe that U.S.-style apocalyptic militarism will prove a poor transplant even to a conservative corner of Canada. “If you listen to Scott,” says political scientist Bruce Foster of the University of Victoria, “he sounds indistinguishable from any number of American right-wing extremists.” Foster says that gives Scott only limited appeal to the typical moderate right-wing Canadian, “who is uncomfortable with the changes that have taken place in Canada over the past 10 years, but who still respects the political institutions in the country.” Underlining that difference, Foster adds: “Just as you can’t draw a beeline from the NDP to Pol Pot, you can’t draw a beeline from the Reform party to Charles Scott.” That distinction is important for the vast majority of Canadians who are trying to handle their affairs within the traditional political framework.
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