By Sébastien Roback
Canadian Anti-Hate Network
Warning: This article contains slurs which some readers may find upsetting.
On Canada Day last year, hundreds of far-right activists converged on Parliament Hill in Ottawa for the “Freedom Rally,” an event denouncing such things as tyranny, globalism, and marxism. Among them was a 22-year-old named Tyler L. Russell, who drove all the way from St. Thomas, Ontario, in the hopes of addressing the crowd that day.
As the event neared its end, Russell finally got his chance to speak. Dressed in a blue polo and a “Make Canada Great Again” ball cap, he stepped onto the stage, barely containing his glee as the few people still in attendance welcomed him with applause.
For Russell, this moment had been a long time coming.
For months, he had been working to make his mark in the Canadian “dissident right” by hosting the “Russell Report.” An online livestream show so crude it cost him his job at a Toronto-area Urban Outfitters, and led classmates to write a petition asking for him to be expelled from Ryerson University, where he studied political science. This recognition, even if minimal, was compensation for his troubles.
In his speech that day, Russell laid out his vision for a right-wing nationalist Canada First movement, citing Canadian white nationalist Faith Goldy and Nick Fuentes, the young leader of the “Groypers,” a movement and a further re-branding of the neo-Nazi alt-right, as sources of inspiration.
He would spend the coming months copying the latter’s modus operandi, parroting his looks and parlance to repackage them for Canadian audiences.
A year later, Russell has appointed himself as the leader of Canada First, the “Canadian branch” of Fuentes’ America First movement, and is returning to Ottawa for an event of his own, which he hopes will finally help him get the recognition he craves in Canada’s far-right ecosystem.
Like Fuentes, Russell advocates for an “optical approach” to white supremacy. On his show, he claims he cannot possibly be a racist, because he “loves everyone.” In public, you will rarely find him using slurs or explicitly stating his hateful beliefs. This self-censorship, he believes, makes his ideology more palatable to a broader audience.
Behind closed doors, however, anything goes.
Russell’s supporters, a band of over 100 young men in their late teens and early 20s, use Discord, an instant messaging app, to communicate. The group’s discussions, fraught with racism, misogyny and homophobia, reveal the true face of this new generation of white supremacists.
For months, the Canadian Anti-Hate Network has been monitoring conversations in the Canada First Discord server, and the results of this investigation provide damning insights into the group’s plan of infiltrating Canadian politics to create a white ethnostate in Canada.
Into The Sloanzone
Screen capture from the Roxham Road channel of the Canada First Discord server.
Upon their arrival into the Canada First Discord server, new members are limited to a channel named “Roxham Road,” in reference to a crossing point for asylum seekers into Canada. From this point, they are vetted by Russell, who assesses whether an applicant’s opinions match his, before letting them into the server’s main channel.
Dubbed the “Sloanzone,” the main chat room is named after Derek Sloan, an independent member of Parliament who was removed from the Conservative caucus after making a remark about Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam that was characterized as racist by many (including his Conservative colleagues) and anti-vaccination rants.
To remain in the Sloanzone, chat members have to follow a number of rules: no explicit calls for violence (fedposting), no overt white supremacy (wignats), no sharing of personal information (doxxing), no posting embarrassing content (cringe), and above all, no criticism of Russell or Fuentes (CF/AF disrespecters).
Of all these rules, only the last one is truly enforced, as chat members who offer even constructive criticism to Russell are swiftly bullied and banned for “counter-signalling” him.
It is not rare to see chat members allude to -- or explicitly state -- their fascist leanings in discussions. Fascist politicians like Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini and Oswald Mosley, as well as mass murderers like Dylann Roof and Anders Breivik are hailed as figures of reverence by chat members.
Screen capture from the chat’s main channel, showing a video file named “role models.” The video includes pictures of notable far-right figures and mass murders.
Russell himself is more careful about directly embracing Nazism in the chat, though he makes it clear that his attempt at steering clear from national socialist discourse is not a repudiation of the ideology.
“Ret*rds are posting sonnenrads and swastikas, like bruh. It blows my mind how, even at this point, people don’t get optics. Like, in private, go for it, say whatever.”
However, Russell often voices his admiration for Mussolini, as have many other members of the chat. After Tucker Carlson compared Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to the Italian dictator, he was quick to voice his disagreement.
“Fuck man. I can’t stand this shit,” he wrote. “If only.”
Isabel Peralta, a Spanish neo-Nazi infamous for her raging antisemitism, is regularly ogled in Canada First. Russell dubbed her his “dart smoking Spanish fashy gf,” after sharing a video of her in which she denies the Holocaust.
Far from being unaware of her fascist beliefs, members of the chat have even shared posts from her Instagram featuring Hitler, responding in awe at her endorsement of the Nazi leader.
Screen capture from the Canada First Discord server.
On any given day, discussions in the chat are marked by virulent racism, with slurs being used without hesitation or second thought.
The group’s reactions to news events are especially inflammatory.
On April 20, as people across the world were awaiting Derek Chauvin’s verdict for the murder of George Floyd, Russell and his supporters were getting set to celebrate, believing the ex-policeman would be acquitted. One user was quick to point out that the date of the verdict’s delivery corresponded to Hitler’s birthday.
“Yooo, if Chauvin gets released today on fucking (redacted’s) birthday, white boy summer holy fuck.”
The term “redacted” is used by members as a filler, usually for names or racial slurs that could result in a ban. Messages like the one referencing Hitler are often edited after posting to exclude the name.
Other users were worried -- or excited -- about the prospect of riots taking place after the verdict had been rendered, calling the potential aftermath a “chimpout," a term used as an anti-Black slur.
“They’re gonna go monkey mode, this might be a monkey mode summer. This is a key battle in securing white boy summer,” said one user.
“I hope they chimpout anyway, and show everyone they can’t ever be satisfied,” said another.
George Floyd had long been the subject of many jokes in the chat. In a hockey fantasy league between chat members, Russell’s own team is named the “Minneapolis Fentanyl Addicts,” and uses George Floyd’s likeness as the team’s picture.
After Chauvin was ultimately found guilty on all counts, chat members expressed their dismay, though some of them considered the disgraced officer to be an enemy due to him being an “inner city cop with an Asian refugee wife.”
Screen capture from the Canada First Discord server after Chauvin received his verdict.
When the Government of Israel forcibly removed Palestinians from their homes in the small community of Sheikh Jarrah, leading to days of unrest and violence, Russell excitedly encouraged group members to watch his next livestream, saying he could not “wait to talk about the Jews.” Members of the chat wished Israel and Palestine a “very good mutual annihilation,” and one user even celebrated the use of violence on all sides of the conflict because “Israel kills Muslims and Palestine kills Jews.”
On his show, Russell would later brag about having “infiltrated” a Palestinian solidarity rally, with the stated objective of harassing Jews and sparking conflicts between the different groups in attendance.
“The only thing that was protecting the Jewish people in the center, the encircled, the entrapped… It was almost like they were in a camp, you could say,” said Russell with glee as he discussed his role in “surrounding the Jews.”
Russell attending a Palestine solidarity rally, wearing a Canada First hat.
Discussing the discovery of the bodies of 215 Indigenous children who were killed at a residential school in Kamloops on his show, Russell took offense to the media calling the event a tragedy.
“They’re evil, and they’ll say whatever they have to to push their narrative, which by the way, is a false narrative,” he told his viewers on May 30, 2021. “Residential schools are actually pretty based. The whole point behind the residential school system was to bring in the Indian and Native kids and assimilate them into European-Canadian culture.”
In the chat, members referred to the victims as “dead chug kids,” and shared conspiracy theories alleging that the discoveries were a false flag or a “psy-op.”
“Chug” is a slur used to mock Indigenous persons, referring to the negative stereotypes of Indigenous persons with substance use disorders. In the past, chat members have referred to the presence of Indigenous peoples in Canada as the “chug question,” in a nod to the concept of Hitler’s “Jewish question.”
Screen capture from the Canada First Discord server.
The Canada First Discord server also serves as an outlet for the violent fantasies of its members, including the mass execution of their critics. Political rivals -- antifascists, journalists or even other “right-wing dissidents” -- are labelled “future wall facers,” and reminders that their enemies will “get the rope” once Russell becomes Prime Minister fuel the hopes of his supporters.
After a chat member was repudiated for stating his desire to “do whatever it takes to win” by another who feared the message could be interpreted as a call for violence, Russell jumped to his defence.
“No. We will do WHATEVER it takes to win,” said Russell.
“We are good, they are bad, we must win at all cost,” added another member.
Youth Indoctrination Factory
Children as young as 14 were found to be active on the Canada First Discord server. In a series of messages to the chat, Russell explains that his inclusion of underage members in the group is no accident, but rather a strategic choice, as they provide “good optics” for the movement.
“Young generations have to be able to be AF (America First) among their classmates or we don’t get anywhere.”
Terms like Canada First and America First are often used interchangeably by members of the group, as national identities tend to be used primarily as a means of veiling the white nationalist beliefs at the core of their worldview.
In addition to the “Sloanzone,” the Canada First Discord chat also features a number of different channels, each fulfilling a specific purpose in “improving” the group’s young members, spiritually, physically, and ideologically.
In the “Library,” where members exchange reading suggestions, novels like “Industrial Society and Its Future” -- otherwise known as the Unabomber’s Manifesto -- and “Libido Dominandi,” the antisemitic ramblings of E. Michael Jones, are popular recommendations.
In the “Chapel,” members discuss traditional Christianity and its role in shaping the group’s racist, homophobic and antisemitic beliefs. On one occasion, a chat user posted about a synagogue in the channel. He was then told by other users not to “Jew up the Lord’s channel.”
The “self-improvement” channel serves as a space for members to share their workout routines and increase their “Aryan energy” in honour of their ancestors.
Another channel, which was later deleted, was named “1350” -- a numeric hate symbol relaying flawed statistics used by white supremacists to depict Black people as inherently violent. Asked about the purpose of the channel, one user said “1350 is an unbreakable, consistent natural pattern.” Another said the channel was for reporting “paranormal Blacktivity.”
The first message in the channel, posted by Russell, was a video of a Black woman being shot and killed by law enforcement.
“Infiltrating” Canadian Politics
To fulfill his group’s objective of gaining political power in Canada, Russell advocates for the infiltration of political parties in order to push them to gradually adopt white nationalist policies. On his show, he bragged about “infiltrating” the Liberal Party through an “internship” at the constituency office of Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland.
A spokesperson for Freeland confirmed Russell had indeed been present at her constituency offices, though he spent only four hours at there as part of a Ryerson University program which “allows students to learn about constituency services.
Despite his public support for Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party of Canada, Russell encourages his supporters to get involved with the Conservative Party.
“Keep in mind, the goal has always been to unite the right in Canada,” says Russell in one message to the chat. “We still need to be active within both parties.”
“For every movement leader we need an army of nameless, faceless members infiltrating Canadians organizations and accumulating financial and political power,” added another member.
On December 21, 2020 Benjamin Breit, known in the chat as “Hoserman,” claimed to be asked to manage finances for the upcoming campaign of past CPC leader Andrew Scheer. Believing Breit, Russell pushed him to accept, calling it a “great opportunity” to get his foot in the door. Breit claimed he and Mr. Scheer had been “friends for a while,” and said he was “sympathetic to based people.”
Despite Breit's claims, no evidence is provided to support a connection to Scheer as anything more than self-aggrandizing name dropping. In fact, in an email to the Canadian Anti-Hate Network, a representative for Mr. Scheer advised that they, “confirm that Mr. Scheer does not know this person, he can not recall ever even meeting him.”
“He was never offered any type of position on the campaign. Or any of Mr. Scheer’s campaigns. We have spoken to the campaign team who also confirm the same, as nobody has ever heard of him.”
Russell has also alluded in a few instances to a plan to assist Derek Sloan in retaining his seat, and promised to share it with his supporters “when the time comes.” In the chat, Russell has described Sloan as a supporter of Canada First, despite the fact that “some of the people who advise him are straight-up enemies.”
When reached for comment Sloan told the CAHN he was unaware of the group or its leader.
"I can confirm I have never met nor communicated with Tyler L. Russell," he wrote in response.
Ego First, Canada Second
Despite his wish to be a unifying figure within Canada’s right, the Canada First Discord chat logs show Russell struggling to get along with other figures of the self-proclaimed “dissident right,” who he believes lack his know-how and energy.
This includes close collaborators of his, as well as notable figures of Canada’s far-right, such as Randy Hillier (“I love the guy, but he’s incompetent”) Kevin J. Johnston (a constant menace whose supporters are “fucked in the head”), Gus Stefanis (“boomer wignat”), Bret Sears (“PPC boomer”), Paul Fromm (“straight up schizo”) and members of the Plaid Army (“f*ggot WEXITers”).
These personal attacks have not stopped Russell from working with those he targets. Weeks after referring to Chad Lattanzio, a People’s Party supporter and Instagram influencer, as a “f*ggot” and saying he’s “35-years-old and starting a PPC student group chat,” Russell made an appearance on his podcast.
Russell and Lattanzio on a stream together, with a screen capture from the Canada First Discord group.
In public, Russell flaunts his support for Maxime Bernier, the leader of the People’s Party of Canada. When the latter got arrested on June 12, Russell quickly jumped to his defense.
“If you’re not speaking up, if you’re not standing with Maxime Bernier right now, if you’re not standing with us right-wingers, us nationalists, and us people that actually want to save your lives and save the lives of your future children, (...) you’re complicit in the deaths of white people, Christians, and conservatives.’”
In the chat, however, he frequently vocalizes his disdain for Maxime Bernier and his People’s Party.
Russell with Maxime Bernier, with screenshots from the Canada First chat.
“Don’t be fooled by the PPC, they’re completely incapable and the people there don’t give a fuck,” said Russell in a message to the group.
Per Russell, Bernier is “incapable of running a party, let alone a Twitter account,” and the PPC is primarily managed by Martin Massé, who the young white nationalist is particularly critical of.
“Martin Massé runs the show. It’s completely fucked,” said Russell, as he told chat members about a “civil war” currently ailing the far-right party.
“Tyrie is based. Massé is a f*ggot. There’s literally two factions in the PPC right now vying for control.”
Daniel Tyrie, referenced by Russell in this message, is the executive director of the People’s Party of Canada. He has shared content from Canada First accounts on his Twitter in the past.
Meet The Members Of The Canada First Discord Chat Group
Tyler L. Russell - “Prime Minister” of Canada First
Before getting involved in right-wing politics, Russell was a DJ, going by the name “DJ Nebvla.” An archived website for the musical project describes him as a “world class electronic music DJ and producer.”
As the “Prime Minister” of Canada First, Russell views himself as the natural “war-like” leader who will bring about a nationalist victory in the struggle against the “globalists.” In an episode of his livestream show airing on May 13, 2021, Russell explains his perspective on this conflict, and makes it clear he uses the famous dog whistle term to refer to Jews:
“We’re starting to see politics less and less about the center. It’s all about which side you’re on. This is what it’s inevitably going to end up as, it’s these two warring sides, kind of like Palestine and Israel, right? It’s these two warring sides, they both want the same land, and you have, you know, one specific side that’s very subversive, they control the media, they control the propaganda, they have all these weapons at their disposal, right? And they’re antagonizing us, they just plop themselves right in the middle of our land, they’ve invaded, they’re expelling us, they’re taking our jobs, they’re taking our houses, they’re making it impossible for young families to live. I think that we all understand which side I’m referencing, right? It’s kinda like the whole Palestine vs Israel thing.”
These antisemitic talking points echo those of Jeremy Mackenzie and Derek Harrison, the chief figures of the Plaid Army, a streaming collective of far-right vloggers who often appear on each other's shows. Several of them are obviously antisemitic and/or deal in other forms of hate speech, like Harrison and Mackenzie.
The Plaid Army’s website lists Russell as a member of their collective, and both Mackenzie and Harrison are members of the Canada First Discord server.
Russell, who believes he will “inevitably” become Prime Minister of Canada, has vowed at different times to “destroy the globalists,” “silence the opposition,” “eradicate the NDP” by jailing every member of the party, as well as journalists, who he believes are the “enemy of the people.”
To gain power, Russell believes it’s crucial to “unite the right” under his vision for a new conservatism which advocates for an end to all forms of immigration and the rejection of traditional right-wing economics, an approach he believes puts Canadians first, and help re-establish Canada as “the white man’s land.”
Dave and Shani Russell - “Producers” of Canada First
Russell’s parents, Dave and Shani, have been his primary enablers since his first foray into Canada’s racist scene. In the video of her son’s very first political speech, Shani can be seen running around behind the stage to ensure that everything goes smoothly.
Per his own admission, Tyler Russell is far from being a tech wizard and relies heavily on his parents -- from whose house Canada First is streamed -- for support. It is not rare for him to call on his “producers” to come assist him when he is experiencing issues.
Several messages on the Canada First Discord server indicate that Dave Russell manages a number of websites for his son, including the website of the Plaid Army. Several messages found on a server linked to the Plaid Army shows that Russell’s ownership of the PA website has been an issue of contention in the past.
On social media, Dave Russell frequently shares conspiracy theories. On Discord, his son has also ridiculed him for showing him videos alleging a “New World Order” plan to depopulate the earth through vaccines.
Philip J. “PJ” Colavita - “Minister of Foreign Affairs” of Canada First
Philip Colavita, a recent graduate of George Brown College in Toronto, is one of the few members of Canada First who knows Tyler L. Russell offline. Posting under the username “HappyMiramichi,” he acts as Russell’s right-hand man, specifically focusing on “bettering” members of the group through spirituality and intensive workout regimes.
“I am the challenger. I come with the sword like my hero, expect to be better when you are around me. I will push you,” warns Colavita, comparing himself to Jesus Christ.
Much of Colavita’s worldview stems from a radical, traditionalist understanding of Catholicism, which he uses to justify hateful beliefs, specifically towards women. In the chat, he shares “volcel” memes pushing other members to stop sleeping with women, and tells them to “shit on whores so they understand their place.”
A self-identified racist, Colavita criticizes the conservatives who believe Black Lives Matter is a racist movement.
“Normies be like ‘BUT BLACK LIVES MATTER ARE THE REAL RACISTS’ like no, it’s me. I’m the real racist.”
Though he uses his religion to justify these beliefs, Colavita has told chat members that he struggles between his faith and the hatred he feels towards marginalized groups.
“I hate people, man. I can’t be a good Christian, I have way too much hatred. Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck. So much hate”
Colavita often alludes to violent fantasies in the chat, saying Canada First’s enemies will one day “get the rope” and once half-jokingly warned other users that he was a “legitimate threat to the nation” and that he would eventually “reach a boiling point and cause something historic” if Canada continues down its current path.
When another chat user posted a video of Italian dictator Benito Mussolini giving a speech, Colavita enthusiastically stated his admiration for the seminal fascist.
“VIVA IL DUCE,” wrote Colavita in chat.
Benjamin Breit - “Minister of Propaganda” of Canada First
Benjamin Breit, who lives in Regina, Saskatchewan, is deeply involved in the city’s Christian non-profit space. According to his Linkedin and parish documents, he is a Grand Knight of the Catholic fraternal organization Knights of Columbus.
When Breit became aware that CAHN had reached out to the Knights to inquire about his involvement, Breit told the other chat members, posting “I got a call from my State Knights of Columbus council and he said they’d been emailed by Canadian Anti-Hate about my involvement with Canada First.”
“If I really need to I can play the ‘I’m not involved with them anymore’ since I’ve basically been inactive here since I took a long break from all socials...but yeah the Knights are generally based so at least with them I can pretty easily play it off as just a conservative Christian movement being tagged by libta*ds as racist, homophobic, etc.”
Breit was also a leader with the Conquest Boys Club "a number of years ago," and is no longer with the organization, according to the club itself. As a youth ministry that aims to “form adolescents as Christian leaders,” this and his role with the Knights of Columbus would position Breit as a mentor to a number of teenagers in Regina.
Posting under the username “Hoserman,” Breit is very open about his support for neo-Nazism in the chat. When he was reprimanded by another member of the chat for posting “gay Nazi shit,” he facetiously responded that he only posts “straight Nazi shit.”
On one occasion, Breit shared a video file named “role models,” which included convicted white supremacist mass murderers and neo-Nazis Anders Breivik and Dylann Roof, along with Adolf Hitler. The same video was also posted on an Instagram account belonging to Breit, along with the hashtags #inspiration and #whitepill. He re-shared this video after learning that CAHN had contacted the Knights of Columbus.
After taking a break off of social media for Lent, Breit returned to the Discord server, and immediately posted a picture of Oswald Mosley, leader of the British Union of Fascists.
He then added “after having taken a long ass break from following any news, all I can say is… nothing has changed.”
The CAHN caught Breit planning to lie, and lying, about his involvement.
In a direct message to CAHN, Breit claimed that he had "not been active in those chats since January" and that he "no longer [wants] anything to do with their views."
Chad Taylor - Group Member
One of two members from Glace Bay, Nova Scotia, Chad Taylor posts under the username PhrogChad in the Canada First Discord chat, where he openly identifies as a fascist.
In one message published in the Sloanzone, Taylor plainly states, “Imagine unironically thinking Mussolini is bad.”
On several instances, Taylor proudly showed his book collection to fellow chat members, which includes books like the Unabomber’s Manifesto, “Harassment Architecture” by the ecofascist author Mike Ma, and “Coom Consume Comply,” written by the Groyper Steve Franssen.
He has also bragged about owning an “incel rage” shirt, which features the words “incel” and “die bitch” in bolded letters. The design of the shirt also includes a crudely drawn graphic depiction of necrophilia.
Taylor is outspoken about his antisemitism. When investing apps stopped letting users buy Gamestop stocks amidst an unprecedented price increase, he denounced what he believed to be “Semitic scare tactics.” On Twitter, Taylor has also denied the Holocaust, claiming that the nearly two-thirds of Americans who reported being unaware that six million Jews died during World War II “might be onto something.”
A video he retweeted also includes the caption “Message to the moneylender k*ke cabal: your days are numbered. Expect us.”
Ellis Kelland - Group Member
Ellis Kelland, who goes by GroyperEllis on the Discord chat, lives in Glace Bay, Nova Scotia. Unlike his real-life friend Chad Taylor, Kelland seems less interested in the political aspects of the Canada First movement, instead mostly talking about hockey and his workout regimen.
Michael Helstrom - Group Member
Helstrom, who goes by the username Catholiccanuck, only recently joined the chat, and rarely intervenes in discussions. The St. Catharines, Ontario native frequently posts homophobic and transphobic memes on his Instagram account, along with clips from Russell’s show.
One picture posted on his Instagram shows a group of individuals waving Pride flags, along with the caption “hate what the world seeks.” Directly under it is a picture of the Sacred Heart, with the words and “seek what it avoids.”
Ethan Ciampaglia - Group Member
Ciampaglia, who goes by lethal_bacon in the chat, only recently joined the Discord server, but has a long history of interacting with Russell’s content on Instagram. He lives in Windsor, Ontario.
Cameron Moreira - Group Member
Going by Cameron and BoogalooCam on the chat, Moreira joined Canada First after an event featuring Russell at the University of Ottawa, where he studies computer science. After Russell posted pictures from the event on his Twitter, Moreira thanked him and called him “based.”
The two usernames used by Moreira do not appear in the server’s user list anymore at the time of publication. It is unclear whether he left, or is simply using another username.
Dan Sleno, an amateur comedian from London, Ontario, is present in the chat, but rarely interacts with other users. A longtime friend of Russell’s, Sleno documented the duo’s road trip to Ottawa for the rally on Parliament Hill on July 1, 2020, on his YouTube account.
Appearing with another Plaid Army streamer, Sleno praised Nick Fuentes for his “optics,” saying he could show friends of his clips from the Groyper leader’s show without them realizing he is “showing them a white supremacist.”
In the same stream, Sleno talked about his passion for talking about the “JQ,” or Jewish Question, a term used by white supremacists to discuss the existence of Jews.
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