Canada designates the Proud Boys as a terrorist entity

Rioters are seen breaking into the Capitol in Washington on Jan 6

The Canadian government has added 13 groups to its list of terrorist organizations, including the Proud Boys, making it the first country to designate the neo-fascist group a terrorist entity.

Being added to the watch list does not automatically criminalise the groups themselves, but allows authorities to seize their assets and prosecute members or associates for carrying out extremist activities.

The move comes after the House of Commons passed a unanimous motion last week to designate the Proud Boys a terrorist entity.

Nordean was arrested only hours after Canada named the Proud Boys a terrorist entity, saying that while the group has never mounted an attack in Canada, domestic intelligence forces have become increasingly anxious about it.

"Canada will not tolerate ideological, religious or politically motivated acts of violence", Blair said.

"It has to be based entirely on evidence, intelligence and the law. And that's why I've tried very carefully to articulate the depth of gathering that evidence and intelligence that has been taking place over several months and even years".

"There has been a serious and concerning escalation of violence - not just rhetoric but activity and planning - and that is why we have responded as we have today", he told a news conference. "We will wait for that review to conclude before we make any determinations", Psaki said.

A criminal and/or security intelligence report is then completed, followed by an assessment by the Department of Justice to determine whether the threshold is met to add the group to the list.

A listed group is not banned, nor is it a crime to be on the roster. However, the group's assets and property are effectively frozen and subject to seizure or forfeiture.

Canada placed two right-wing extremist groups, Blood & Honour, an global neo-Nazi network, and its armed branch, Combat 18, on the list in 2019.

The remaining listed entities are affiliates of Al-Qaeda or the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria group, as well as the militant Kashmiri liberation group Hizbul Mujahideen.

In 2018, the Federal Bureau of Investigation designated the Proud Boys as an extremist group with ties to white nationalism - a categorization that first came to light through an internal report that was obtained from law enforcement in Washington state.

Although the Proud Boys have never mounted an attack in Canada, Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said domestic intelligence forces had become increasingly anxious about the group.

It is tough to say how many Proud Boys members there are in Canada, said Evan Balgord, executive director of the Anti-Hate Network of Canada. "Are we actually dealing with the underlying ideology of white supremacy by doing this? On several different occasions we have seen the tragic results that this type of extremism can bring to Canadian soil", said Blair, highlighting the Quebec City mosque shooting of four years ago.

Biden's administration has warned that domestic extremism is a growing threat following the Capitol rampage, a sharp departure from the way former president Donald Trump regarded groups such as the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers.

The National Council of Canadian Muslims as well as the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs were among those welcoming the addition of the four right-wing extremist groups on Wednesday.

Long-standing opponents of the process had urged officials to find more democratic and transparent means to deal with extreme right-wing activity.

He said Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and opposition New Democrat leader Jagmeet Singh, who first proposed the designation, are virtue signalling.

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