The government of Canada labeled the Proud Boys and 12 other groups as terrorist entities on Wednesday, according to NPR.
This lands the group on the same list as the Islamic State and al-Qaeda. “Based on their actions, each group meets the legal threshold” for the criminal designation, Public Safety Canada said as it announced the move. The agency cited “reasonable grounds to believe that an entity has knowingly participated in or facilitated a terrorist activity” or has acted on behalf of or in association with such a terrorist entity.
The agency describes the Proud Boys as “a neo-fascist organization that engages in political violence” and whose members “espouse misogynistic, Islamophobic, anti-Semitic, anti-immigrant, and/or white supremacist ideologies and associate with white supremacist groups.”Public Safety Canada also notes the group’s prominent role in last month’s attack in Washington: “On January 6, 2021, the Proud Boys played a pivotal role in the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Leaders of the group planned their participation by setting out objectives, issuing instructions, and directing members during the insurrection.”
The terror designation means that Canadian banks and other financial institutions must freeze any assets connected to the groups and that it’s illegal for anyone to knowingly do business with them. It’s also a crime to give support to the groups; behavior that could range from travel and training to recruitment, the government says. There is no provision in U.S. federal law to identify and criminalize domestic groups as terrorists, a legal issue complicated by First Amendment free speech guarantees.
ENTERTAINMENT EDITOR: CONNOR KMIECIK
PHOTO CREDITS: CNN