Canada named the far-right Proud Boys a terrorist entity on Wednesday on the grounds that it openly supports violence and played a “pivotal role” in the attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 that left five people dead.
Calling it “a neo-fascist organization,” Canada’ public safety ministry said the Proud Boys “openly encouraged, planned, and conducted violent activities against those they perceive to be opposed to their ideology and political beliefs.”
The group’s founder, Gavin McInnes, is Canadian but now lives in the United States.
To be listed as a terrorist entity in Canada requires “reasonable grounds to believe” that the group knowingly participated in or facilitated terrorist activity, or has knowingly acted in association with such a group.
Being on the list means the group’s assets can be frozen by banks and financial institutions, and that it becomes a crime for Canadians to knowingly deal with assets of the listed entity, a senior official said.
Anyone belonging to the group also could be blocked from entering the country.
Founded in 2016, the Proud Boys began as an organization protesting political correctness and perceived constraints on masculinity in the United States and Canada, and grew into a group with distinctive colors of yellow and black that embraced street fighting.
The group’s profile was raised in September when former U.S. President Donald Trump, asked in an election debate if he would denounce white supremacists and militia groups, called on the Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by”.
Twelve other groups were added to Canada’s list of terrorist entities. Three were neo-Nazi groups, eight were organizations described as affiliates to al Qaeda and Daesh (Islamic State), and one was Hizbul Mujahideen, a Kashmiri group.
(Reporting by Steve Scherer, Editing by Franklin Paul and Sonya Hepinstall)