Police and protesters clash at Proud Boys demonstration in Washington DC

Canada designates Proud Boys a terrorist group

The Proud Boys face increased scrutiny in the wake of the US Capitol insurrection

Graig Graziosi
Wednesday 03 February 2021 18:15
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The Canadian government has voted to list the Proud Boys as a terrorist organisation, according to the Toronto Star.  

The group, which has been designated a hate group in the US by the Southern Poverty Law Centre, but has not been formally denounced by the US government, calls itself a "western chauvinist" organisation.  

The Proud Boys became the subject of intense scrutiny by law enforcement agencies in both countries in the wake of the Capitol insurrection on 6 January.

The group was started by a Canadian writer, Gavin McInnes, as a "men's drinking club" and "western chauvinist" group. Mr McInnes stepped away from his role in 2018 after learning the FBI was considering the Proud Boys an extremist group.

Under Canadian law, adding the Proud Boys to the country's list of terror organisations means members can be prosecuted simply for being members.

Speaking with PRI, David Hofmann, a professor of sociology at the University of New Brunswick, explained why that might not be sufficient to stop the spread of the group's message of hate throughout Canada.

"So when one of these groups is designated as a terrorist group in Canada, group membership is then illegal and they can be tried just for being a member. And here's the problem. If the Proud Boys does get designated a terrorist group in Canada, it'll cause them to dissolve, but the members still are present. It doesn't change the members' ideas," he said.  "What's going to happen and what actually frequently happens in the Canadian context, and the American context as well within a far-right extremist movement, is they fracture and they reform and form frequently."

Being designated as a terror organisation will make it more difficult for the Proud Boys to operate in the country.  

For example, under Canadian law, banks can freeze the assets of anyone who financially or materially supports a group on the  

In addition to the Proud Boys, Canada also added The Base, Attomwaffen Division and the Russian Imperial Movement to its list of terror organisations.  

Each of the groups embraces anti-Semitic ideologies and call for violence in achieving their goals. 

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