Expert: Hate group ‘Proud Boys’ part of Trump base
The Canadian government added the Proud Boys, an extremist group with ties to white nationalism, to its list of terrorist organizations.
Public Safety Minister Bill Blair announced Wednesday the Proud Boys were one of 13 groups now designated as terrorist organizations, including the Russian Imperial Movement and two neo-Nazi groups — the Atomwaffen Division and The Base.
“Canada will not tolerate ideological, religious or politically motivated acts of violence,” Blair said.
Canada is the first country to designate 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.
The motion was introduced by the leader of the country’s New Democratic Party, Jagmeet Singh, who urged Canadians to “keep the pressure on” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the federal government to formally add the group to the list of terrorist organizations, which includes Boko Haram, the Taliban and al-Qaida.
Singh celebrated the announcement, calling it a victory for young people, working people and Black, brown and Indigenous people on Twitter.
The Proud Boys were founded in 2016 by Vice Media co-founder Gavin McInnes, a Canadian, and described themselves at the time as a politically incorrect men’s club for “Western chauvinists.”
Who are the Proud Boys? Far-right group has concerned experts for years
McInnes quit the Proud Boys after an October 2018 clash between group members and antifa that followed his speech at New York’s Metropolitan Republican Club.
The group is known for its “anti-Muslim and misogynistic rhetoric,” according to The Southern Poverty Law Center, a legal advocacy organization that has designated the Proud Boys as a hate group. The SPLC has been warning about the group’s violent tendencies for years.
The Canadian government calls the Proud Boys a neo-fascist organization with semiautonomous chapters located in Canada, the United States and other countries. It said the group engages in political violence and that members espouse misogynistic, Islamophobic, anti-Semitic, anti-immigrant and white supremacist ideologies.
The group has faced renewed criticism after several members were arrested for participating in the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol building in support of former President Donald Trump. A Canadian government senior official said the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol contributed to the designation.
More: Proud Boys organizer Joseph Biggs charged in deadly Capitol riot
Enrique Tarrio, the group’s current leader, was arrested last month in Washington, D.C., and charged with destruction of property in connection with a December incident where set fire to a Black Lives Matter banner after a Trump rally. The banner had been taken from a historic Black church.
Contributing: Joel Shannon and Will Carless, USA TODAY; The Associated Press
Follow N’dea Yancey-Bragg on Twitter: @NdeaYanceyBragg
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