Nick Cooper and his three children in Chilliwack. Once a member of a violent extremist group in England, Cooper left that world but after 13 years in Canada, CBSA ordered him deported by Nov. 30.

Reformed right-wing extremist from England loses battle to stay in Canada

B.C. man says his hate dissolved 16 years ago but his 1990s beliefs may have caught up to him

After 13 challenging years battling to stay in Canada, Nick Cooper may have finally lost the fight to prove to the government he is a changed man.

Cooper was involved in a white supremacist organization near London, England in the 1990s, but a change of heart by way of a maternity ward conversion flipped his ideas on their head.

When his wife and daughter’s life were saved by a doctor of Indian descent and a nurse who was Afro-Caribbean during an emergency C-section, Cooper suddenly recognized the insanity of his extremist worldview.

• READ MORE: Chilliwack man faces deportation for membership in hate groups in England in 1990s

All these years in Chilliwack and Cooper now works to feed the homeless, teach love and acceptance, and generally be a positive force for inclusion in the community. He is part of a group of people who have left extremist groups called Life After Hate, he’s involved with Cycling4Diversity, and more locally, a Facebook group called Inclusion Chilliwack.

In August, a Tweet of Cooper’s went viral around the world after he painted over a swastika adorned with racist language under a bridge at Eagle Landing. That Tweet received more than 350,000 likes in just four days.

But despite the father of three saying he is a changed man, despite testimonials from dozens of friends and supporters, on Monday the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) ordered Cooper out of Canada by Nov. 30.

“Since I’ve been here I haven’t had so much as a parking ticket,” Cooper says. “This has been going on and on and on, and it’s had such a terrible effect on the family.”

• READ MORE: Chilliwack man’s Tweet about painting over racist graffiti goes viral

Cooper and his wife have three children who were very young when they arrived in Canada in June 2006. Holly is now 16, Ostara is 14, and his son Tyr is 13.

“My kids are absolutely devastated,” he said. “I suffer terribly from mental health issues. I see them crying and then the floods of tears come out.”

Cooper does have a criminal record in England, although he says it is unrelated to racist activity. And in 2006 the Canadian government said it was OK for him to come to this country.

Two years after being in Chilliwack, he was called in for a four-hour interview with Criminal Intelligence Service Canada. He said he was told they were happy to let him stay, but since then his file has shuffled around at CBSA at the Ministry of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship.

Cooper was finally ordered deported and on Monday he had a final pre-risk assessment hearing with CBSA. That hearing was to decide if his life would be in danger if he is deported. His lawyer asked for a 90-day deferral, but was denied. He then pleaded to have until Jan. 1 so he could spend Christmas with his family, but that too was denied.

He said his lawyer told him that officials say CBSA has had pressure from Ottawa to crack down on cases like his so the country is seen to be firm in the eyes of the U.S., where immigration is a hot-button issue right now.

As for his safety back in England, he’s not sure, but he knows there may be some far left groups who will not be happy to see a former right wing extremist back in town. But worse than that, his former friends in those extremist groups certainly won’t appreciate the badmouthing he’s done of their cause over the last decade and a half.

Those who he once hated may think he hasn’t changed, and those he once plotted with might believe he has changed.

“I feel like that’s put me in danger,” he said, adding that he has truly changed despite what some might think.

Of particular concern is an English-based group similar to Life after Hate called Hope not Hate. Cooper said it’s run by Matthew Collins, a man similarly once in a violent extremist group who had a change of heart. But Collins testified via phone at Cooper’s June deportation hearing, and clearly he doesn’t believe he’s changed.

A day after the hearing with CBSA on Monday, Cooper was mentioned on the Hope not Hate site, described as a “convicted thug and football hooligan” who “is expected back on British soil any day now.”

Cooper doesn’t understand how Collins could have known so quickly that he was ordered deported, and he also fears that these public words on an English website could further put him in danger in the UK.

“I’m not entirely sure that is something to look forward to,” the web story says, “but it certainly does strengthen the argument in keeping traveling nazis away from where they are not wanted.”

Asked about the posting and whether Collins or other at Hope not Hate didn’t believe Cooper had changed, no one responded before going to press.

Cooper insists he has changed and he has 13 years of positive work in Canada to show for it.

“I’ve always had the opinion that people can change. I had a friend who was on heroin and he recovered, and I’ve seen him change. I really believe people can change.”

The deadline for Cooper to leave is the end of the month, but his supporters aren’t giving up. A petition has been created to send to Ahmed Hessen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship. Cooper met with Chilliwack-Hope MP Mark Strahl recently, and Strahl told him he made contact with the ministry about Cooper’s case.

Friends are posting images of themselves on social media with messages such as “I believe in Nick Cooper” and using the hashtag #KeepNickCooperinCanada.

But if all fails, Cooper will likely leave his wife and two daughters behind so they are not torn out of school. His son, Tyr, however, may come with him.

“He and I have always been close, best buddies,” Cooper said, adding that he hopes putting the word out about his case may at least help this from happening to others.

“It was a lifetime ago that we came here, and now we have to go, all connected to allegations from 1991, another lifetime ago,” he said.

“I don’t want this to happen to anyone else.”

Just Posted

Man, 24, charged with nine sexual offences in Abbotsford and Mission

Alleged victim, who he met online, is under the age of 16

Mission filmmaker tackles topic of youth and the social media epidemic

Kim Laureen teams up with her daughter to create documentary film Selfless

Mission to take a closer look at clothing donation bins

Recent deaths around the country have caused some communities to ban the bins for safety concerns

Live demos and stunt shows part of Vancouver Motorcycle Show

Annual event returns to Tradex in Abbotsford from Jan. 18 to 20

Manure company causing ‘toxic’ stink at Abbotsford school seeks permit

Property across from King Traditional Elementary cannot operate manure facility without permit

VIDEO: U.S. Congress to probe whether Trump told lawyer Cohen to lie

At issue is a BuzzFeed News report that about negotiations over a Moscow real estate project

Rookie Demko backstops Canucks to 4-3 win over Sabres

Young Vancouver goalie makes 36 saves to turn away Buffalo

Charges upgraded against mother of murdered B.C. girl

Kerryann Lewis now faces first- rather than second-degree murder in the death of Aaliyah Rosa.

UPDATE: Injured firefighter in stable condition

Kelowna fire crews responded to a blaze at Pope’sGallery of BC Art & Photography on Friday

Book a ride on a driverless shuttle in Surrey or Vancouver

Automated vehicle demos are being offered, as the two cities plan pilot projects with the shuttles

Heavy snowfall expected on the Coquihalla

Snowfall warning in effect for the Coquihalla Highway, from Hope to Merritt

Rare ‘super blood wolf moon’ takes to the skies this Sunday

Celestial event happens only three times this century

Arrest made after historic B.C. church hit by arson

The fire at the 150-year-old Murray United Church in Merritt was considered a possible hate crime

Missing man from Crowsnest Pass could be in Lower Mainland

58-year-old Stuart David Duff was last seen on Jan. 6, 2019.

Most Read