The Royal Canadian Navy announced on February 2 that they released a sailor that had ties to a neo-Nazi organization.
Royal Canadian Navy Commander Craig Baines said in a statement that the sailor, Boris Mihajlovic, was being let go after initially being reinstated in June. Mihajlovic used be an administrator on a neo-Nazi forum called Iron March and was a member of Blood and Honor, a neo-Nazi group that the Canadian government has designated as a terrorist organization.
Baines acknowledged that there were “deficiencies” in how Mihajlovic’s case was initially handled and that steps are being taken to improve how the Navy handles such cases going forward.
“I cannot state clearly enough that the Canadian Armed Forces and Royal Canadian Navy have zero tolerance for racist and discriminatory behaviour in our ranks,” Banes said. “Canada is an inclusive and diverse country, and we must strive to ensure that the Forces respect and reflect our nation and its values.”
Canadian Jewish groups praised the Navy for severing ties with Mihajlovic.
“We commend Minister Sajjan, the Navy and the Canadian Armed Forces for coming to the decision to release this sailor,” Jaime Kirzner-Roberts, director of policy at the Friends of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, said in a statement. “Military members who engage in hate activity bring shame upon our Armed Forces, our veterans and our country. There are real reasons for optimism that we have turned an important corner and that those who espouse hateful or extremist ideologies will find no sanctuary in our military.”
B’nai Brith Canada similarly tweeted, “We commend @RoyalCanNavy for taking strong action by severing ties with a sailor with a white supremacist past and committing to fight hateful conduct.”
We commend @RoyalCanNavy for taking strong action by severing ties with a sailor with a white supremacist past and committing to fight hateful conduct. #Racism #WhiteSupremacy #Canada https://t.co/BdHiXlq1cJ
— B'nai Brith Canada (@bnaibrithcanada) February 3, 2021
Mihajlovic had said in December 2019 when his past neo-Nazi ties came to light that “he regretted his actions and had turned his life around,” according to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. He was suspended but then later reinstated after claiming that his views had changed.