CALGARY — Police say a white supremacist group, armed with a music CD, is trying to bolster its ranks by recruiting students at Calgary schools.
A hate-group initiative called “Operation Schoolyard” recently launched in Calgary on the heels of a similar campaign in the U.S. in late 2008, said Const. Lynn MacDonald of the Calgary police hate crimes unit.
“They are targeting junior and high school students,” she said Friday. “It is not clear if it is at random or if they are targeting specific students.”
Police have found a few CDs with white pride rhetoric at transit stations and some students have come forward to say they were given CDs, although they did not say from where.
MacDonald said the Aryan Guard is behind the recruitment ploy and police are trying to determine if there is criminal content on the CDs and who specifically is behind its distribution.
“There’s nothing illegal about what they are doing, right now they are just handing out a CD,” she said.
“It’s always disturbing for police when we see these groups ... targeting youth.”
A website called “Western Canada For Us” reveals “Operation Schoolyard” plans.
At a December meeting in Red Deer, discussions included “a mandate to recruit as many local youths as possible” — with a quota of two a month.
They would attempt to lure them with freebies of “eight different White Power music compilation CDs ... (designed) for distribution at local high schools.”
Public school officials said it’s “pretty foolish” for the hate group to think it will get far in its efforts.
“This happens in the communities, it could be happening in schools,” Calgary Board of Education spokesman Ted Flitton said.
“But we are doing everything we can to keep those type of individuals out.”
Recently, senior administration sent an email to principals “letting them know there is a possibility this group was interesting in recruiting students at high schools,” and to ensure they are “on high alert” to thwart hate groups.
“I think it’s reprehensible ... it’s important to counter it at every turn,” Flitton said.
“Our schools do a lot of work to teach young people about diversity in our culture and to stand up for what’s wrong.”
Calgary Catholic School District spokeswoman Tania Younker has not heard of the racist recruitment drive but hopes teachings promoting acceptance, respect and diversity would make it a waste of time at its schools.
“I know in all of our schools, this would be one of those situations where we would be hoping with some of the (Catholic) values they would make smart decisions when faced with something like this,” she said.
The Aryan Guard was scheduled to take to Calgary streets on Saturday to celebrate “White Pride World Day.” Hundreds of anti-racism demonstrators were to stage a counter rally.