Canada Slaps Proud Boys With Terrorist Designation

Members of the Proud Boys march towards Freedom Plaza during a protest on December 12, 2020 in Washington, DC. Thousands of protesters who refuse to accept that President-elect Joe Biden won the election are rallying ahead of the electoral college vote to make Trump’s 306-to-232 loss official.

Members of the Proud Boys march towards Freedom Plaza during a protest on December 12, 2020 in Washington, DC. Thousands of protesters who refuse to accept that President-elect Joe Biden won the election are rallying ahead of the electoral college vote to make Trump’s 306-to-232 loss official.
Photo: Stephanie Keith (Getty Images)

Congratulations: If you are a Proud Boy, you’re now persona non grata in Canada.

As of today, the Canadian government has added the Proud Boys, along with the neo-Nazi group the Atomwaffen Division, the white nationalist group the Base, and 10 other groups to its list of terrorist entities. In its announcement, the government of Canada stated that it has a reasonable belief that the groups “knowingly participated in or facilitated a terrorist activity, or has knowingly acted on behalf of, at the direction of, or in association with such an entity.”

If you’re still wondering what kind of real threat could be posed by a group of polo shirt bros whose hazing ceremony is punching a dude who’s naming cereals—things have escalated. On a page detailing the rationale for each group’s designation, the Canadian government states that the Proud Boys “played a pivotal role in the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.” One wonders what this means for the person who incited them to do such a thing.

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“Leaders of the group planned their participation by setting out objectives, issuing instructions, and directing members during the insurrection,” the site reads, noting that Proud Boys’ chairman, Enrique Tarrio, was arrested two days before the siege in law enforcement’s efforts to apprehend those who’d planned to incite violence. Law enforcement has been rounding up a handful of U.S.-based Proud Boy members with the help of a long photo and video trail. Two have been indicted on federal charges of conspiracy, and the FBI says it uncovered DIY instructions for making poison and bombs in one of their homes.

This means that Canadian banks must freeze the groups’ assets, that no one in Canada nor Canadians outside of Canada may do business with the groups in Canada, and potential recruits are forbidden from traveling to meetings. The New York Times points out that the designation could make it easier for the government to deny the groups’ members entry into Canada, add them to the no-fly list, and deplatform them.

As of September 2020, the Proud Boys’ now-deplatformed site listed 15 chapters in Canada, with maps showing towns where chapters are headquartered.

The Canadian government’s terrorist index does not indicate that members of the Atomwaffen Division or the Base—both international networks, both originators of the Boogaloo bois’ paramilitary model—were involved in the Capitol siege, but their addition is not surprising. At least three people affiliated with the Atomwaffen Division have been accused of murder. (The name is German for “nuclear weapons.”) The U.S. State Department has pushed to add them to the domestic terrorism list. The Canadian government states that Atomwaffen Division members participated in and brutalized protesters during the 2017 far-right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

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The Canadian government also notes that members of the Base stood trial for planning a mass shooting in order to start a civil war. Last year, the FBI opened a domestic terrorism investigation into a planned violent uprising.

After the Capitol riot, the Department of Homeland Security warned that domestic terrorist groups pose a “heightened threat” and were possibly “emboldened” by the attack on the Capitol. This pretty tame statement of fact was received as an almost stunning admission, or at least news, after four years of Donald Trump.

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The FBI considers the Proud Boys an “extremist” group and has used the phrase “violent extremists” in reference to Atomwaffen.

Gizmodo was not able to immediately reach the Proud Boys, Atomwaffen, or the Base for comment.

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