Claiming that right-wing extremist ideology poses a “significant threat” to domestic security, the Canadian federal government announced the addition of 13 groups, including the pro-Trump white supremacist Proud boys, to its “terrorist list” on Wednesday, February 3.
Canada’s public safety minister Bill Blair emphasized that the ideology of these violent extremist groups that are “unfortunately active” in the country and around the world is “fueled by white supremacy, anti-Semitism, racism, homophobia, Islamophobia and misogyny.” He claimed that Canadians have been made aware of their dangers by their involvement in “recent events.”
The move to include Proud Boys in the “terrorist list” was prompted after a unanimous resolution was passed in the Canadian parliament in January end asking the government to do so. The far-right group was part of the raid on Capitol Hill in the US in early January and has been active in mobilizing anti-black rights protests there.
The group has been accused of spreading hate based on race and gender, and promoting violence in the US. It has also been active in some other countries including Canada. It was originally founded by a Canadian, Gavin McInnes, in 2016. The group broadly describes itself as “western chauvinist” and has openly supported Donald Trump’s policies against immigrants. It has also demanded action against Black Lives Matters protesters. Canada is the first country to list the group as a “terrorist” entity.
Welcoming the decision, leader of Canada’s New Democracy party Jagmeet Singh called the decision a victory of the country’s young, working class, and people of color.
Proud Boys are designated a terrorist organization.
Black, Brown and Indigenous people
This is our victory.
I will be speaking to the country about the next steps soon.
RSVP Here: https://t.co/oCdkDI9ZIS
— Jagmeet Singh (@theJagmeetSingh) February 3, 2021
The press release issued by Canada’s public safety department says that, “based on their actions, each group meets the legal threshold for listing as set out in the Criminal Code which requires reasonable grounds to believe that an entity has knowingly participated in or facilitated a terrorist activity, or has knowingly acted on behalf of, at the direction of, or in association with such an entity.”
Including a group in Canada’s terrorist list allows the government to restrict its activities, place restrictions on the movement of people associated with it and impose penalties on them, and take back its charitable status.
Some other groups included in the list are the neo-Nazi and racist Atomwaffen Division, the Russian Imperial Movement, The Base, as well as some Al-Qaeda and ISIS affiliates.