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Scotiabank to Close Accounts of Controversial Podcaster, Army Veteran Jeremy MacKenzie, Bans Him From Branches

Jeremy MacKenzie, a Canadian Armed Forces veteran and former infantry soldier with three children, who runs a podcast called “Raging Dissident,” has been banned from his banking institution, Scotiabank, and told by the bank that it no longer wants him as a customer.

MacKenzie said he will consider legal action. “I might need to sue them because I feel like this is predatory. This is discriminatory because of my legal situation,” he said on the call with Scotiabank.

A recording of the telephone conversation between MacKenzie and a Scotiabank representative was released on Jan. 20. A man identified as “Graham” from Scotiabank told MacKenzie that he will receive a letter early next week informing him “that the bank decided to end their banking relationship with you.”

“The bank determined that this relationship is outside of its risk appetite,” said the bank representative. He added that typically the bank would not call a customer in this type of situation, but he was “calling to give you the courtesy of a heads-up” because “you’ve been a longtime client of the bank.”

The Scotiabank representative said he had no further details, but that MacKenzie’s branch had been made aware of the situation, and “as part of ending the relationship,” MacKenzie was “not to visit any of the Scotiabank branches or bank premises in person without first getting written consent in advance from the bank, from management.”

“I know there’s lots you can do online,” the bank representative said, adding that MacKenzie was “welcome to email your branch if there’s anything you need help with.”

MacKenzie replied, “Well, there’s a lot I need to do. I have mortgages and vehicle loans.”

The bank representative said the de-banking would not take effect immediately. MacKenzie was told he would have 30 days from the time he gets the letter before his accounts would be closed.

“Definitely recommend kind of that you start sooner than later looking for a different bank or alternative arrangements with another institution,” said the Scotiabank representative, who added that “I understand the frustration, that’s for sure.”

MacKenzie responded, “It’s not frustration. This is catastrophically ruinous to most people. … Have you ever been de-banked before, and had your mortgage cut? I mean, my children live there.”

The bank representative said MacKenzie’s existing mortgage would continue until it matures in November 2024, but “the bank won’t be renewing the mortgage at that time.”

Diaglon a ‘Joke’

MacKenzie has been accused of being the leader of a movement that the Canadian Anti-Hate Network (CAHN) says is a “far-right” group that “retains markers of militant accelerationism, and narratives shared within the movement serve as primers and justification for accelerationist violence.”

The CAHN alleged that adherents of MacKenzie’s group, Diagolon, were among supporters of the trucker convoy in February 2022, and that “presence of Diagolon illustrated the potential for violent extremism inside the trucker convoy protests.”

On Nov. 10, 2022, a judge criticized the CAHN, saying that “CAHN did in fact assist Antifa and that the movement has been violent,” adding that it is not a “good look” for a human rights organization to support a violent movement.

MacKenzie, who lives in Nova Scotia, joined the army reserves out of high school and retired from the military in 2017. Speaking on the Viva Frei podcast, he described himself as a comedian and as someone opposed to government lockdowns

MacKenzie said on the Viva Frei podcast on Aug. 23, 2022, that Diagalon is a joke and is satire, has no leader, and originated from an idea he had for his “Raging Dissident” podcast.

According to the website, the original idea he had, to do “a funny stream for his audience” on his podcast, has since grown into “a community of people who once felt isolated,” and Diagolon “represents peaceful fun-loving persons from all over the globe.”

MacKenzie said he created Telegram groups in every province to encourage his podcast audience members to find each other and go for coffee.

He said the CAHN then alleged he was building a militia, forming a “network of extremists.” He explained that what happened was his friends deliberately posed for a photo wearing skull masks, while off to the side were “50 people with their kids and they’re like blowing bubbles and eating hamburgers.”

“The caption was something like ‘I guess we’re a militia now’ or something like this. This was intentionally to gaslight them, and we were making fun of them, and then they took this as evidence that we are what they say,” said MacKenzie.

In July 2022, MacKenzie was charged with assault, pointing a firearm, using a restricted weapon in a careless manner, and mischief for an alleged incident that occurred in November 2021. None of the charges have been proven in court.

In March 2022, MacKenzie was charged with harassment and intimidation after allegedly taking part in a sidewalk protest outside the home of Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health. These charges have also not been proven in court.

Marnie Cathcart

Marnie Cathcart is a reporter based in Edmonton.

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