RCMP charges 19-year-old man from Windsor, Ont., over alleged links to terror group

·3 min read
The RCMP has charged a 19-year-old from Windsor, Ont., with a terror offence. (Daniel McHardie/CBC file photo - image credit)
The RCMP has charged a 19-year-old from Windsor, Ont., with a terror offence. (Daniel McHardie/CBC file photo - image credit)

The RCMP has charged a 19-year-old Windsor, Ont., man for allegedly offering to help a known terrorist organization, among several charges he already faces.

The RCMP alleges Seth Bertrand filed an application to join the Atomwaffen Division (AWD), also known as the National Socialist Order, and offered to do things for the group.

The charge is linked to various hate-motivated offences in Windsor between Feb. 12 and May 20, 2021.

"As a result of the investigation, RCMP Integrated National Security Enforcement Team (INSET) was able to determine that the individual filed an online application to join a listed terrorist entity," RCMP said in a news release Friday.

According to the Ministry of Public Safety, "the group calls for acts of violence against racial, religious, and ethnic groups."

It was first named by the federal government as a terrorist listed entity in 2021.

The AWD joined 77 other terrorist entities listed under the Criminal Code. They include organizations and individuals the government said it has reasonable grounds to believe have knowingly participated in or facilitated a terrorist activity.

Bertrand is charged with:

  • Participating in or contributing to, directly or indirectly, any activity of a terrorist group for the purpose of enhancing the ability of any terrorist group to facilitate or carry out a terrorist activity, contrary to Section 83.18(1) of the Criminal Code.

"The success of this investigation is directly attributable to the strength of our policing and intelligence partnerships," said RCMP Insp. Cheryl Brunet-Smith.

"Along with our partners, the Windsor Police Service and OPP PATS, the RCMP remains committed to and stands fast against ideologically motivated violent extremists who threaten the public safety of all Canadians."

The RCMP declined an interview request on this case.

Bertrand's lawyer, Bobby Russon, said police seized his client's computer when he was arrested in 2021.

Russon said he has not received disclosure in the terrorism charge.

"I can't possibly comprehend what took them a year to lay this charge," he said.

He called the delay between the dates of the allegations and when his client was charged "troubling" and "problematic."

'Traumatic experience'

Bertrand was also charged with mischief for property damage at a home in Windsor in May 2021.

Aaron Bergeron believes his home was targeted because he was flying an LGBTQ pride flag.

"My family kind of went through a kind of traumatic experience," Bergeron said in an interview with CBC News.

"We had a group of young people, unfortunately one in particular who felt anger to myself or my family because we had the pride flag up on our home.

Bergeron said someone tried to throw a brick through the window and left a note on the front porch "basically just filled with hateful messages and slurs."

He said the note mentioned the neo-Nazi group referenced by the RCMP in the Bertrand case.

Bergeron said he felt sad for the accused.

"But I'm also very grateful that the RCMP is going forward with this kind of a charge."

Bertrand faces three mischief charges in connection with homophobic and racist vandalism at Trans Wellness Ontario in Windsor last February. He was also charged with inciting hate against an identifiable group, where such incitement was likely to lead to a breach in the peace.

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