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Calgary's in-your-face neo-Nazis take to the streets Add to ...

Late Saturday morning, a crowd of dozens, perhaps hundreds, will converge along quiet, downtown streets. They'll wave flags, carry signs and chant slogans, all broadcasting an unmistakable, unsettling message.

White pride.

There's only one city in Canada where such demonstrations of this scale take place: Calgary, described by many as the centre of the country's neo-Nazi movement.

It's not the sheer numbers that are the cause of concern, as the movement boasts no more than 100 dedicated supporters over a handful of groups. Pockets of neo-Nazism have bubbled up in Canada for decades, and still do. Nor is there a natural foothold for white supremacists in an increasingly diverse Calgary, where nearly one-quarter of the population, including the mayor, are visible minorities.

What sets Calgary's neo-Nazis apart is their brazen profile. The movement has an aggressive leader, a following that dominates discussion on popular neo-Nazi Internet message boards, a thirst for publicity and the ability to attract new blood.

This parade, however it materializes, will be their fourth. It follows a series of recent attacks, threats and arrests. And the movement isn't confined solely to Calgary. Four members of the same group leading the march here, Blood and Honour, were arrested in Edmonton earlier this month for hate-motivated attacks. Edmonton, like so many other Canadian cities, has a dedicated hate-crimes unit. Calgary doesn't.

"Alberta, right now, is the hot spot for the neo-Nazi movement in Canada," said Richard Warman, an Ottawa lawyer who is Canada's leading crusader against hate speech. "There is nowhere in Canada that has as active a group or individuals as Calgary and, to some extent, Edmonton do."

The micro-fuhrer

The architect of the march, and much of the movement itself, is a 25-year-old construction worker from Ontario, Kyle McKee. Police call him the "micro-fuhrer" of Calgary.

Mr. McKee effectively leads Blood and Honour out of his Calgary townhouse, which he also uses as a way station for new recruits once they arrive in the city.

During one of a series of interviews with The Globe and Mail, Mr. McKee said he hopes he can develop the marches into mainstream events, a celebration of the white working class who he says are treated like second-class citizens.

"It's one thing where everyone says you can't do it [have a march] but I'm showing you that you can. Everyone has always said for years - 'The gays have their march, the blacks have their march, why don't we have ours?' Simple. Because you haven't organized it."

But on Saturday, he won't be there. Instead he's in jail again, not for "inciting hatred" (the most serious, and rarely laid, charge racially motivated statements can draw) but for the routine violence that accompanies the movement.

Mr. McKee has assembled the requisite image of a skinhead leader. He has a pit bull named Thor and a three-year-old daughter named Aryanna. He shaves his head, wears all black and is covered in tattoos: "white power" on his chest, "skin" and a swastika on his left hand, "kill" on one leg and "Jews" on the other.

In the townhouse, a Louisville Slugger bat hangs by the front door, a tally of half-inch markings carved along its thick barrel end.

"You don't play baseball?" Mr. McKee asked, grinning.

A month later, his current legal problems were triggered by a run-in with Jason Devine, a communist and anti-racist activist who is a long-time adversary of his.

Mr. Devine, a married father of four, was the target of a home invasion last year when masked men in black combat gear broke in, beat him, and left without taking anything. Police said he was "100-per-cent targeted" but haven't laid any charges.

On Feb. 12, a masked Mr. McKee pulled up alongside Mr. Devine. He tapped a bat on the side of the truck and, according to the defence, asked: "Do you need another visit?"

He was arrested later that day, and has been in prison since. He pleaded guilty Thursday to uttering threats and possession of a weapon. He will be released in about two weeks, and a warrant remains out for his arrest in Saskatchewan.

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