Canada designates proud boys as a terrorist group

Canada made an official statement on Wednesday declaring Proud Boys as a terrorist entity along with 12 other groups.

Photo: Reuters

The Proud Boys will be decreed as an "ideologically motivated violent extremist group" along with three others: Atomwaffen Division, The Base, and Russian Imperial Movement, the government informed in a press release.

"Their violent actions and rhetoric are fueled by white supremacy, anti-Semitism, racism, homophobia, Islamophobia, and misogyny, and unfortunately, often in a combination with all of the above," said Public Safety Minister Bill Blair at a news conference Wednesday.

The Proud Boys is a far-right, neo-fascist, and male-only white nationalist political organization that promotes and engages in political violence in the United States and Canada.

This recent move will give full right to the Canadian government to freeze the groups' financial assets and criminalize financing, training, and recruitment for all members involved in the group, and level any activity performed by them as terrorist activity. 

"And as disturbing and concerning as those images and those events were, they also provided law enforcement and our intelligence services with a trove of new information in which quite frankly, many of these groups revealed themselves," said Blair, adding that Canada's decision was based on "evidence, intelligence, and the law, not completely based on politics and riots seen on January 6 at US capitol.

Till now, no other nations have designated the Proud Boys a terrorist group. However, the American people seem to be expecting the same move by their government.

"What I can tell you is over the past several months, basically since 2018, we have seen an escalation and there is an escalation towards violence for this group. In the aftermath of the US presidential election we've seen an escalation in supports that signal an escalation towards violence in several different groups, including the Proud Boys," said Blair.

"We work very closely with law enforcement agencies and our national security partners, ... (and in the case of the Proud Boys) we have been monitoring very carefully and gathering evidence that supports the determination and the decision that was made with respect to this," added Blair.

Last month, Parliament unanimously passed a motion calling on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government to designate the Proud Boys as a banned terrorist group. However, some Canadian rights groups urge listing the Proud Boys as a terrorist group could broaden the definition of terrorism even endangering the fundamental right of free speech.

In January, the Canadian Anti-Hate Network (CAHN) said in a blog post, "The Canadian Proud Boys should continue to be countered, exposed, and held accountable, but a terrorism designation is a serious step that merits further discussion."

Canadian officials also said they would continue to engage with digital companies regarding the activities of such groups.

"I think it's about time that some of these groups are listed. They have operated for a long time out in the open. They have recruited out in the open, fund-raised, sold branded merchandise, and so on," said Amarnath Amarasingam, a Canadian researcher who has done extensive studies on the origins and motivations of Canada's extremist groups and their members.

In online statements, Proud Boys have claimed they have used violence only in self-defense. But members are often seen carrying firearms and bats and donning protective gear​, and some have been convicted of crimes against anti-fascist protesters.

The group's ideology has been labeled "misogynistic, Islamophobic, transphobic, and anti-immigration" by the Anti-Defamation League.

In September, members of the Proud Boys celebrated comment," Antifa and the left​" for violence and to tell the Proud Boys to "stand back and stand by" made by then-US President Donald Trump, refusing to condemn white supremacists.

 Members of this group have been charged with the charges related to the riot at the US Capitol on January 6.​​


Publish : 2021-02-04 12:04:00

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