Four right-wing extremist groups, including the Proud Boys, have been placed on Canada’s list of terrorist organizations amid an apparent crackdown on far-right violence.
Five affiliates of ISIS, three al-Qaida affiliates and Hizbul Mujahedin were also listed. Being on the list makes it more difficult for groups to operate, and their property can be seized.
With the additions, six out of the 73 groups on Canada’s list of terrorist entities — or eight per cent — are right-wing extremist factions. Blood & Honor and Combat 18 are the only other two.
Proud Boys members allegedly played a key role in the Jan. 6 attack at the U.S. Capitol. On Jan. 25, MPs passed a motion calling on the government to list the Proud Boys.
But Public Safety Minister Bill Blair told reporters the listing process had been underway for months and the decision was based on evidence, intelligence and the law.
Blair said Canadian authorities had noted an escalation of violence by the Proud Boys since 2018, making it a “growing concern.”
Canada is the first country to list the Proud Boys as a terrorist entity.
Designating a group a terrorist organization allows the government to seize its assets and increase terrorism-related penalties.
A government official said just because a person is a member of the organization doesn’t mean they will automatically be charged with a crime. But if that person was to engage in violent acts, they could face terrorism charges.
Sending money to the organization or buying Proud Boys paraphernalia would also be a crime.
The announcement comes a little more than a week after Canada’s House of Commons unanimously passed a motion calling for the government to “use all available tools to address the proliferation of white supremacists and hate groups starting with the immediately designating the Proud Boys as a terrorist entity,” Global News reported.
At least three of the far-right groups have a known Canadian following. The Proud Boys have chapters across Canada, while Atomwaffen and the Base have Canadian members.