You would think that inciting insurrection against their own country would trigger a terrorist label designation, but on Wednesday Canada beat the U.S. to the punch and declared the Proud Boys a terrorist entity, according to NBC News. The organization was named along with 12 other extremist groups.
Under Canada’s Anti-Terrorism Act, any property or belongings associated with the group can be seized.
“The group and its members have openly encouraged, planned, and conducted violent activities against those they perceive to be opposed to their ideology and political beliefs,” reads a statement by Public Safety Canada.
Several Proud Boys leaders and group members have been arrested in connection with the Jan. 6 Capitol attack, after organizing a violent demonstration a month prior in December. Members warned of their intentions to assemble in January, which resulted in the mob riot and the continuing fallout.
In one of their last endorsements, Trump told the members to “stand back and stand by,” during the first and last presidential debate against President Joe Biden.
The Proud Boys were born out of the Trump presidential campaign era prior to the 2016 race and was founded by VICE Media co-founder Gavin McInnes in New York. As Trump’s rhetoric continued post election and into his presidency, the group’s profile heightened domestically and throughout Canada, as well as the rise of hate crimes.
Proud Boys members have orchestrated and participated in some of the most notorious white supremacist gatherings over the last four years, including the deadly 2017 Unite The Rite Rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), an organization dedicated to studying and surveying hate groups in America, declared the Proud Boys a hate group in 2018. In 2019, McInnes sued the SPLC over the label.
“Gavin McInnes has a history of making inflammatory statements about Muslims, women and the transgender community. The fact that he’s upset with SPLC tells us that we’re doing our job exposing hate and extremism,” former SPLC president Richard Cohen told the Associated Press.
While Canada undoubtedly has its own set of challenges in addressing racism within its history, it remains ahead of the curve in a variety of ways, including the handling of the COVID-19 crisis, as well as medical coverage and educational opportunities for its citizens.