The Canadian government on Wednesday classified the far-right group Proud Boys as a terrorist organization (3), under the justification of openly supporting the violence and of having played a central role in the invasion of the Capitol on January 6 by supporters of Donald Trump.
The Department of Public Security said the Proud Boys, referred to by the portfolio as a “neofascist organization”, “have openly encouraged, planned and carried out violent activities against those they perceive as opposed to their ideology and political convictions.”
The group’s founder, Gavin McInnes, is Canadian, but lives in the United States.
For an entity to be classified as a terrorist in Canada, there must be “reasonable grounds to believe” that the group is known to have participated in or facilitated terrorist activity or acted in association with such an organization.
When establishing such a list, the group’s resources may be frozen by banks and financial institutions. It is also becoming a crime for Canadians to manipulate the assets of the listed entity, a national official said. Any member can still be banned from entering Canada.
Created in 2016 by McInnes, co-founder of the vice media conglomerate, the Proud Boys have attracted attention by confronting, through the use of violence, anti-racist protesters during demonstrations, even if they deny being racist, playing with the same ambiguous strategy as former US President Donald Trump.
Open to men only, the fraternity gained the limelight at the end of September, after the Republican cited it in a debate against his then-opponent, Joe Biden. “Proud Boys, take a step back and stand tall,” said the former president who sought re-election, when asked if he would condemn the action of white supremacist groups.
The mention of the organization, which can be translated as “go ahead and wait”, was celebrated by its members because, of dubious reading, the declaration can also be understood as “wait, ready to act”.
For the Proud Boys, the Western way of life is in danger and must be defended against the threat posed by outsiders, especially Muslims.
The name of the group however comes from the song “Proud of your Boys” (pride of their boys), the soundtrack of the film “Alladin”, a Disney production based on a Middle Eastern tale.
Twelve other organizations have been added to Canada’s list of terrorist entities, three neo-Nazis, eight are groups described as affiliates of Al Qaeda and the Islamic State, and one is the cashmira entity Hizbul Mujahideen.