Canada has recently announced that it will be considering the Proud Boys as a terrorist group in addition to 12 other similar groups.
A news release from the government stated that the Proud Boys will be labeled a violent extremist group, along with Atomwaffen Division and The Base and Russian Imperial Movement.
The Public Safety Minister Bill Blair mentioned it in a press conference, saying that the groups’ actions are based on white supremacy, racism, Islamophobia, homophobia, anti-Semitism, misogyny, or all of them altogether.
According to government officials, this move will prevent further training, financing, and recruitment of terrorist groups.
Blair explained that this decision was taken after the insurrection at the Capitol on January 6, 2021 because several of the members of such groups were uncovered when the photos and videos were released. He emphasized that this was not political but rather it was because their intelligence and law enforcement agencies had evidence against them.
He further added that these groups were under observation since 2018. He also mentioned that particularly after the presidential election last year, support for such terrorist groups increased even more.
Parliament passed a motion recently to demand that the Canadian government officially declare the Proud Boys as a terrorist group. However, a few of the rights activists are concerned that this could also be expanded to consider free speech and protests as terrorist activity too.
The Executive Director of the Canadian Anti-Hate Network (CAHN) has stated that even though he believes the Proud Boys should be held accountable for their actions, he is worried the label of terrorist might affect other protest groups such as indigenous groups as well.
A Canadian researcher who has been studying the country’s terrorist groups has expressed that it’s time these extremist groups are listed and held accountable because, in the past, they have been carrying out their activities out in the open, including fundraising, selling their group merchandise, etc.
According to the Proud Boys, they only employ violence as self-defense however, many of them have been charged with crimes, and are seen in possession of firearms.
In September last year, the group was encouraged by the President of the United States. Several members have also been convicted for storming the US Capitol.