Proud Boys Get Terrorist Designation in Canada After U.S. Riot

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government became the first in the world to label the Proud Boys a terrorist group in the aftermath of the deadly storming of the U.S. Capitol.

Canadian public safety authorities also banned three other far-right groups it described as “white supremacist” on Wednesday: Atomwaffen Division, the Base and the Russian Imperial Movement.

“Violent acts of terrorism have no place in Canadian society or abroad,” Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said in an emailed statement. “Canadians expect their government to keep them safe and to keep pace with evolving threats and global trends, such as the growing threat of ideologically motivated violent extremism.”

Proud Boys Get Terrorist Designation in Canada After U.S. Riot

The move comes after members of the Proud Boys and other supporters of former President Donald Trump violently seized the U.S. legislature in early January, an act Trudeau described as “horrifying” and an “assault on democracy.”

Authorities also added nine Islamist organizations -- three Al-Qaeda affiliates, five Islamic State offshoots, and a militant Kashmiri liberation group -- to Canada’s terrorism list.

Accelerated Listing

Canadian intelligence officers were already reviewing the Proud Boys prior to the Washington insurrection. But events in the U.S. sped up their listing as a terrorist group as more information emerged in the public domain, government officials told reporters in a background briefing before Blair’s announcement.

The designation as a terrorist organization makes it illegal to participate or contribute to any of the group’s activities. It also allows the government to freeze assets and seize property.

Established in 2016 by Vice Media co-founder Gavin McInnes, the Proud Boys rose to prominence after Trump told the organization to “stand back and stand by” during a presidential debate in September. The group describes itself as “western chauvinists” and “anti-political correctness,” according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Canadian lawmakers passed a motion last week calling on the Trudeau government to add the Proud Boys to the terrorism list. Canada previously banned neo-Nazi network Blood & Honor and its armed wing Combat 18 in 2019. Organizations such as Al-Qaeda, the Islamic State and Boko Haram are also blacklisted.

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