Canada formally labeled the Proud Boys, the far-right extremist group that’s been gaining increased notoriety in America, as a terrorist group, Ottawa announced on Wednesday.
As a recognized “terrorist entity,” property and other belongings connected to the group may be seized by the government, and financial institutions “are subject to reporting requirements with respect to an entity’s property,” under terms of Canada’s Anti-Terrorism Act.
The Proud Boys, a key player in America’s white supremacist movement, with followers in Canada as well, has increasingly been a focal point of the far-right hate movement on this side of the border.
“The Proud Boys consists of semi-autonomous chapters located in the United States (U.S.), Canada, and internationally,” according to a statement by Public Safety Canada.
“The group and its members have openly encouraged, planned, and conducted violent activities against those they perceive to be opposed to their ideology and political beliefs.”
Proud Boys activists have been arrested in connection to the Jan. 6 riots at the U.S. Capitol, when pro-Trump mobs stormed the building in hopes of keeping Congress from formally accepting state election results that elevated Joe Biden to the White House.
Months earlier, during a debate between then-President Donald Trump and then-candidate Joe Biden on Sept. 29, moderator Chris Wallace pressed Trump to disavow the Proud Boys — and the president instead pivoted to “antifa,” an unorganized anti-fascist movement.
“Proud Boys, stand back and stand by, but I’ll tell you what, somebody’s got to do something about antifa and the left, because this is not a right-wing problem. This is a left-wing problem,” Trump said.
Trump’s inability to denounce the Proud Boys was largely embraced by disciples as a show of support from the president.
The Proud Boys are a self-described “Western chauvinist” organization willing to use violence to move their nationalistic, Islamophobic, transphobic and misogynistic ideals forward, according to the Anti-Defamation League, a nonprofit organization that tracks extremist groups.
Members of the Proud Boys marched at the infamous 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, and have organized against Black Lives Matter protests.
The Proud Boys were among 13 groups added to the list of terrorist entities. The other organizations have ties to white supremacists, Nazis, al-Qaeda, the Islamic State and Kashmiri terror.
The Atomwaffen Division, a neo-Nazi group also known as the National Socialist Order, was added to Canada’s list. Atomwaffen was founded in the U.S. in 2013 and members were also active in the 2017 Charlottesville rally, Ottawa said.
Another U.S.-founded neo-Nazi group, The Base, made Canada’s list on Wednesday for encouraging “lone-wolf terror attacks, bomb making, counter-surveillance, and guerilla warfare.”
The Russian Imperial Movement (RIM), which seeks to “create a mono-ethnic state led by a Russian autocratic monarchy” was placed on the list for allegedly seeking ties to “to neo-Nazi organizations in Europe and the United States to offer them paramilitary training and bomb making instructions.”
“Violent extremism has no place in Canada,” Minister of Public Safety Bill Blair said. “Canadians can be confident in the work our agencies do every day to keep our communities safe from all forms of violent extremism.”
Ben Collins and Brandy Zadrozny contributed.