A northern Alberta property owner has removed a Nazi flag after a visit from police, RCMP say.
Earlier this week, photos emerged on social media showing a red, white and black swastika flying over a property in Athabasca County near Boyle on Highway 831.
A phone number listed for the business is disconnected.
In an email Thursday, RCMP spokesman Fraser Logan said Boyle RCMP spoke to the property owner the previous evening. “The flag was taken down voluntarily that evening, and our investigation continues as to whether this is criminal or not,” he said.
Athabasca County Coun. Doris Splane, who represents the area, said Thursday that she did not have enough information to comment on the matter. In a statement, the county council said it was aware of “an inappropriate flag flown on private property located within the county.
“Athabasca County prides itself on being a warm and welcoming region,” Reeve Larry Armfelt said. “This type of display, and the messages it sends, has no place in our communities.”
The flag is that of the Hitler Youth, a former paramilitary wing of the Nazi Party for boys aged 14 to 18.
Jaime Kirzner-Roberts, director of policy with the Toronto-based Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies, said the organization has filed a criminal complaint about the flag with Boyle RCMP.
“I was shocked, very disturbed, very concerned to see someone flying a Nazi flag with a swastika right in the middle,” she said. “The swastika is a symbol … of hatred, of terror, of genocide.”
She said those responsible should be held accountable, saying they could be charged with wilful promotion of hatred.
“We are urging RCMP to pursue this as a hate-motivated incident because such a flag should not be flying in our country,” she said.
Boyle is 145 km north of Edmonton.