Ayyyeee… What’s Goodie Everyone. So I got some tea and it involves Canada and the Proud Boys.
Canada declared the Proud Boys a terrorist entity, the announcement by Public Safety Minister Bill Blair came less than a month after some Proud Boys joined the violent mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol after attending a rally by then president Donald Trump in the hope of overturning the presidential election. Five people, including a Capitol Police officer, died in that attack.
It also followed a warning last week by the Department of Homeland Security about the heightened threat of “ideologically motivated violent extremists with objections to the exercise of governmental authority and the presidential transition” and “perceived grievances fueled by false narratives.”
Labeled as a terrorist group carries financial and legal consequences. Police can seize the property of the group or its members; banks can seize their assets. It’s a crime to knowingly provide assistance to a designated group to facilitate or carry out attacks. Group members may also be denied entry to Canada. Senior government officials said they were not aware of any other jurisdiction that has designated the Proud Boys as a terrorist group. They said the Capitol insurrection was not the “driving” factor, but it did produce a “trove of information” that was added to the intelligence reports that informed the decision.
The Proud Boys was formed in 2016 by Vice Media co founder Gavin McInnes, a Canadian. The far right, male only group of self described “Western chauvinists” has a history of street violence, including against Black Lives Matter demonstrators. Canada said the group played a “pivotal role” in the attack on the Capitol, and that “leaders planned their participation by setting out objectives, issuing instructions and directing members during the insurrection.”When asked whether there was evidence that the Proud Boys pose a “serious security threat to Canada,” Blair said, “Absolutely, yes,” and cited a “serious and concerning escalation” to violence in the aftermath of the U.S. presidential election.
Security analysts in Canada have warned of the threat of right wing extremist groups here, bolstered by transnational alliances they’ve built with counterparts in the United States and Europe.
Canadian lawmakers voted unanimously last week to urge the federal government to designate the Proud Boys as a terrorist entity “immediately,” but the move drew a backlash from anti-hate groups and national security analysts. They said the nonbinding measure risked politicizing what’s supposed to be a legal process guided by evidence and intelligence. Others asked why groups with ideological similarities to the Proud Boys weren’t also listed. Blair claims that politics played no role in the designation. He said the government is constantly monitoring and gathering intelligence to inform its decision and before Wednesday’s announcement, the Canadian Anti-Hate Network expressed concern that the definition of a terrorist entity would have to be expanded to accommodate the Proud Boys. The group worried that a looser definition could be “exploited” to target anti-racist groups and people of color in the future. In a post on its website, it said Blair assured them that the Proud Boys “more than meet the criteria.” The listing process begins with the drafting of criminal and security intelligence reports detailing “reasonable grounds to believe that the entity has knowingly carried out, attempted to carry out, participated in or facilitated a terrorist activity.”