Canada Formally Declares Proud Boys a Terrorist Group

The designation could see bank accounts linked to the group frozen and assets seized, while also expanding police investigative powers.

OTTAWA — Canada formally designated the Proud Boys as a terrorist group under its criminal law on Wednesday, a move that could lead to financial seizures and allow police to treat any crimes committed by members as terrorist activity.

Government officials said they believe Canada is the first nation to label the Proud Boys a terrorist entity. The events last month in Washington, they added, contributed to the move, which was already under consideration.

Since 2018, we have seen an escalation, an escalation toward violence in this group, Bill Blair, the public safety minister, told a news conference, adding that the Proud Boys and 12 other groups added to the list on Wednesday are all hateful, intolerant and, as we’ve seen, they can be highly dangerous.

An official, who spoke on the condition that he not be identified, said that while information gleaned after the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol in Washington was a contributing factor, it certainly wasn’t the driving force.

Members of the Proud Boys, a far-right, all-male organization that lauded street brawling as part of its founding idea, played a prominent role in storming the United States Capitol.

U.S. federal prosecutors investigating the violence announced their first conspiracy charges against the Proud Boys last week, accusing two members of coordinating the effort to interfere with law enforcement officers protecting Congress during the final certification of the presidential election.

Since the attack, Jagmeet Singh, the leader of the opposition New Democratic Party in Canada, has pushed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to declare the Proud Boys a terror group. Officials said the listing was made independently of the politicians.

The Proud Boys was among 13 groups added to the government terrorism list, including three other far-right or neo-Nazi organizations. The other groups added to the list are affiliated with the Islamic State and Al Qaeda.

Officials stressed that the designations were unlikely to lead to arrests in the near term. Just because you’re listed doesn’t mean that all of a sudden you’re now going to be charged with a crime, one said.

But the official added that any crimes committed by members of the group can now be the subject of terrorism charges under criminal law. Those potential crimes include providing a terrorist group with funds or other assistance — such as purchasing Proud Boys paraphernalia or clothing from the group, although displaying or wearing them publicly breaks no laws.

Recruitment, travel and training related to the group can now also lead to criminal charges. Additionally, authorities have more power to remove its online posts, add its members to the no-fly list and deny entry at the border to group members who are not Canadian.

Mr. Blair said the designation will severely restrict the groups ability to use online crowdfunding in Canada or any other fund-raising method.

Bank accounts belonging to the group, officials said, could be seized or frozen, although Mr. Blair, citing intelligence confidentiality, declined to say what assets, if any, the Proud Boys have in Canada. Individual members’ accounts will not be affected unless they are being used for operations by the group.

In its designation, the Canadian government said members of the Proud Boys espouse misogynistic, Islamophobic, anti-Semitic, anti-immigrant, and/or white supremacist ideologies and associate with white supremacist groups.

The government did not indicate how many chapters of the Proud Boys are active in Canada. In 2017, five members of the Canadian Armed Forces were part of a Proud Boys group that disrupted an Indigenous ceremony in Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Canada Day. They were disciplined but not charged by the military.

The Proud Boys was established in 2016 by Gavin McInnes, who was born in England but raised in Ottawa and helped to found the Vice media empire. Mr. McInnes has since distanced himself from the Proud Boys and Vice.

Copyright 2017 Content TiNYg RWT All rights reserved.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list