The man accused of driving a stolen vehicle through the Edson courthouse on Saturday and vandalizing the property with anti-Semitic slurs is a part-time rapper who appears to hold a dark fascination with Hitler.
Kelvin Zawadiuk, who lives in Edson, is a part-time musician who performs under the moniker La Haine, French for The Hatred.
“He’s very clearly, a fairly traditional neo-Nazi,” according to Barbara Perry, a criminologist specializing in hate crime at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology.
“He really cuts across the spectrum of the groups. There’s racism, anti-Semitism, celebration of the Holocaust and also a whole heap of misogyny and homophobia in his music.”
Perry, who researches white supremacist subcultures, said Zawadiuk’s music shows how the movement uses music to recruit new members and spread their message online.
“The music and the videos and games really build that community and that sense of we, that sense of we-versus-them,” she said.
“We are in the middle of a project looking at white power music videos and we often think about it being just metal music but we have identified up to 11 genres and rap was one of them.”
Zawadiuk, 35, is charged with public incitement of hatred, according to court documents released Tuesday.
He is also charged with breaking and entering, dangerous operation of a motor vehicle, theft, mischief under $5,000 and failure to comply with a probation order.
He was arrested on Saturday after a suspect stole a vehicle from an ATCO Electric compound, drove through a fence, then plowed through the east entrance of the provincial building, exiting on the other side.
Soldiers don’t stand and win without shedding blood.– Kelvin Zawadiuk
Zawadiuk’s official music page includes Nazi choruses and imagery. One song called Zyklon B, the trade name of the cyanide-based pesticide used in the gas chambers at Auschwitz, includes excerpts of a Hitler speech.
The web page also features a rambling 1,000-word “author’s bio” which includes violent misogynistic language and calls for “mass suicide social media campaign” and the need for “the awakened human race” to take up arms “within our brains.”
“Soldiers don’t stand and win without shedding blood and leaving their comrades silently in the dust littered with gunshots and laying upon his own spent shells and spattered with shrapnel from dirty bombs and the smell of the gun smoke permeating all around him,” the post reads.
Perry said there has been a dramatic increase in extremist activity across the country, and Alberta remains a “hotbed” for these movements.
These ideological groups believe the white race is under dire threat, Perry said.
“That’s really what it evolves around is the defence of not only the Canadian nation but the great white European nation as a global identity.”
There are, at minimum, 200 active far-right extremist groups across Canada, Perry said.
Longtime friend Justin Gilfoil said Zawadiuk had become increasingly isolated from friends in recent years.
The two met in 2005 and “made a lot of music together” but, Gilfoil said, they drifted apart.
Gilfoil said his friend was kind and his political views have been deeply misunderstood.
“I know he has German heritage and he had a really big fascination with World War II-era history,” Gilfoil said in an interview with CBC News.
“He collected a lot of Nazi, or National Socialist, memorabilia from that time and just kind of had a fascination with that time period.
“He never was overtly racist or anti-Semitic … he had an alternative perspective on that time.”
Zawadiuk remains in custody. He was due to appear in Whitecourt provincial court Tuesday.
The case remains under investigation and RCMP say additional charges may be laid.