Why did Canada declare Proud Boys a terrorist group? Far-right group now joins Al-Qaeda, ISIS and Al-Shabab

Canada has declared the extreme right-wing group Proud Boys a terrorist group and adds it to the list which includes Al-Qaeda, ISIS, and Al-Shabab

                            Why did Canada declare Proud Boys a terrorist group? Far-right group now joins Al-Qaeda, ISIS and Al-Shabab
Members of the Proud Boys gather outside of Harry's bar during a protest in December 2020 in Washington, DC (Getty Images)

On Wednesday, Canada declared the Proud Boys a terrorist entity, about a month after it was alleged that the group took part in the violent US Capitol riots which took place on January 6. It was also reported that the group had taken part in the rally organized by then-President Donald Trump in the hopes of overturning the election results which he had claimed was a result of voter fraud. 

The announcement came from Bill Blair, Public Safety Minister of Canada, and in a statement, it was revealed, "The Government of Canada has placed 13 new groups on the Criminal Code list of terrorist entities, including four ideologically motivated violent extremist groups: Atomwaffen Division, the Base, the Proud Boys, and Russian Imperial Movement."


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Why was the Proud Boys declared a terrorist group?

Members of the Proud Boys join Donald Trump supporters as they protest the election outside the Colorado State Capitol on January 6, 2021, in Denver, Colorado. (Getty Images)

The statement explained why the 13 groups which included Proud Boys were added to the list and said, "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."

Blair added in the statement, "Violent acts of terrorism have no place in Canadian society or abroad. Today's additions to the Criminal Code list of terrorist entities are an important step in our effort to combat violent extremism in all forms. 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."

He also added, "The Government of Canada will continue to take appropriate actions to counter terrorist threats to Canada, its citizens and its interests around the world.”

Armed members of the far-right Proud Boys groups stand guard during a memorial for Patriot Prayer member Aaron Jay Danielson on September 5, 2020 in Vancouver, Washington. Danielson was shot and killed on Saturday, August 29 during a pro-Trump rally in Portland, Oregon. (Getty Images)

Who are the other organizations listed under the Criminal Code?

With the additions made on February 3, there are now 73 terrorist entities listed under the Criminal Code. The other terrorists include the likes of Al-Qaeda, ISIS and al-Shabab. In 2019, Canada had listed Blood & Honour and Combat 18, two other groups that are allegedly ideologically motivated violent extremist groups. 

What happens to Proud Boys now?

Once an entity is placed under the Criminal Code, banks and financial institutions freeze its assets. Listing an entity also helps in curbing participants from empathizing with the said entities by placing restrictions on knowingly dealing with the assets of a listed entity. Assisting the said entity or sympathizing and supporting in any form has been criminalized in Canada. This would obstruct support activities, including those related to terrorist travel, training, and recruitment.

Blair also said to the Washington Post "These groups are unfortunately active in Canada and around the world," and added, "Their violent actions and rhetoric are fueled by white supremacy, anti-Semitism, racism, homophobia, Islamophobia and misogyny.”

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