The dubiously-named White Boy Posse (WBP) has been in the news recently due to a series of high-profile homicides in Western Canada being attributed to its members. In September of last year, a mother of four was fatally shot on her doorstep in Saskatoon in a case of mistaken identity, while the following October saw the murders of two men, one of whom had been decapitated – a brutal shock-tactic made infamous by radical Islamist sects and Mexican drug cartels such as Los Zetas. Members of the White Boy Posse were arrested in connection with the killings and the media has since described the syndicate as being ‘incredibly violent’, and highlighted its racist ideology and use of neo-Nazi and white supremacist insignia.
The White Boy Posse first came to the attention of the Canadian media in 2004 due to its clashes with the Crazy Dragon Killaz gang. (WBP members began ramming cars of rival delivery dealers to disrupt their cocaine-trafficking operation, and the Killaz retaliated by kidnapping and severely beating three White Boy affiliates.) Several years later in 2007, police publicly named the White Boy Posse as one of an estimated eighteen or nineteen ‘violent gangs’ in Edmonton at the time, and the recent crimes have confirmed that the group is still very active.
In a police raid in 2008 a large number of stolen goods were seized as well as $500,000 in cocaine, over $300,000 in cash, 3,000 ecstasy pills, and twenty-eight firearms including a crossbow. This raid, carried out as part of a targeted investigation against the White Boy Posse, code-named Project Goliath, resulted in seventeen arrests of members “near the top” in the group’s hierarchy. (The Organised Crime Unit claimed the arrests “crippled” the gang and that it was “completely handicapped”, but the events of 2012 alone have proved this statement to be incorrect.)
The loosely organised street-gang is based in Alberta, north-west Canada, but has active cells throughout the Prairie Provinces, from Yellowknife to Saskatoon and from Medicine Hat to Manitoba. Although the Posse only has 50-100 active members it has close ties with the local Hell’s Angels chapters and is involved in drug trafficking, robbery and the illegal firearms trade. Ideologically the White Boy Posse is somewhat contradictory. Its name itself instantly suggests an inherently racist belief system, where having white skin is the only membership criteria. Gang members associate themselves with racist, Nazi iconography and many bear swastika tattoos - in the 2008 police raid mentioned above, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police’s Organised Crime Unit confiscated many flags emblazoned with swastikas and white power symbols.
Despite this, sociologist and social worker Mark Totten questions the White Boy Posse’s dedication to white supremacy and pleads caution when defining it as a neo-Nazi faction. He cites the fact that none of the Posse’s recent crimes appear to be racially motivated, and highlights its links to non-white gangs, including the Redd Alert, questioning how a white-supremacist gang could work with Indians. “We’re not really seeing any link between the White Boy Posse and other neo-Nazi youth skinhead gangs in the country…They’re not just into white supremacy, they’re into making money.”
Edmonton police support Totten and agree that although racist ideology is clearly shared by many members and associates, such beliefs are not a prerequisite for membership and do not define the group. They suggest the Posse may have embraced white-supremacist ‘branding’ in order to instill fear in civilians and rival gangs, but that it is ultimately a criminal gang focused on economic gain and linked by a shared ideology, rather than an organisation founded on neo-Nazi philosophy.
Fiscal gain appears to be the Posse’s primary motivator, and due to the increased demand for narcotics across the Western provinces, drug importation and distribution have become particularly high-value and rewarding endeavors A large percentage of the drugs found in Edmonton and the wider Prairies Provinces come from Vancouver due to its major infrastructure for drug production and its positioning as a port city. It “acts as a port for both the Mexican cartels who bring drugs up in fiberglass submarines and also from the Asian continents”, which forces interaction between white and non-white groups. Drug trafficking connections and the desire for capital and control helps explain how the Posse’s brand of white-supremacism allows for (and even necessitates) forming working relationships with native groups. The White Boy Posse is small and doesn't have the reach that some of the larger aboriginal gangs do, and in order to flourish and expand its territory, it has to create an economic base by working alongside larger groups with further-reaching tentacles, whatever their ethnicity.
There is no doubt that the White Boy Posse is a violent and anti-social group – in the past six months alone four members face seven first-degree murder charges for their roles in three high-profile homicides. However, as is the case with most extremist fringe groups, one must remember they only comprise a tiny percentage of society, no matter how magnified the threat is portrayed in the media. Speaking objectively, Totten states, “the White Boy Posse is not taking over cities in Western Canada…We need to be concerned, but we have to be realistic. We don't need to fan the flames and create a moral panic”. In addition, at maximum capacity the Posse only has around one hundred members, and as is typical in gang culture (as opposed to terrorist organisations), leadership structure is chaotic and the groups, as a whole, are far less efficient. Totten is thus unsure that the White Boy Posse should even be termed an ‘organised crime’ group.
In fact, despite the recent flurry of media coverage, I feel the right-wing threat posed by the WBP is comparatively minimal, but that doesn't mean that it should be disregarded by any means. The Posse is clearly violent and a menace, and should be monitored akin to any other criminal gang in operation, but the threat of gangs and gangster culture in north-west Canada is much broader than a hundred halfhearted racists. I feel it is safe to assume that the threat posed by the Posse is significantly smaller than the gang itself would like us to believe.
 One of the largest aboriginal groups in the Western province, made up of Cree, Anishinaabe, and Metis members.
 The name of the group may also be a nod to the Indian Posse and another attempt to portray themselves as larger and more dominant that perhaps they might be. The Indian Posse is one of the largest street gangs in Canada with an estimated membership of six thousand. Authorities state the Indian Posse, in addition to engaging in marijuana cultivation, auto theft, illegal firearms activities, gambling, and drug trafficking, also supports and facilitates criminal activities for the Hell's Angels motorcycle club and Asian-based networks.