Canada has formally labeled the Proud Boys, the far-right extremist group, as a terrorist entity, Ottawa announced on Wednesday.
As a recognized “terrorist entity,” property and other belongings connected to the group may be seized by the government, and financial institutions “are subject to reporting requirements with respect to an entity’s property,” under terms of Canada’s Anti-Terrorism Act.
The Proud Boys, a key player in America’s white supremacist movement, with followers in Canada as well, have been gaining a public profile for years on this side of the border.
“The Proud Boys consists of semi-autonomous chapters located in the United States (U.S.), Canada, and internationally,” according to a statement by Public Safety Canada.
“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.”
Proud Boys activists have been arrested in connection to the Jan. 6 riots at the U.S. Capitol, when pro-Trump mobs stormed the building in hopes of keeping Congress from formally accepting state election results that elevated Joe Biden to the White House.
Months earlier, during a debate between then-President Donald Trump and then-candidate Joe Biden on Sept. 29, moderator Chris Wallace pressed Trump to disavow the Proud Boys — and the president instead pivoted to “antifa,” an unorganized anti-fascist movement.
“Proud Boys, stand back and stand by, but I’ll tell you what, somebody’s got to do something about antifa and the left, because this is not a right-wing problem. This is a left-wing problem,” Trump said.
Trump’s inability to denounce the Proud Boys was largely embraced by disciples as a show of support from the president.
The Proud Boys are a self-described “Western chauvinist” organization willing to use violence to move their nationalistic, Islamophobic, transphobic and misogynistic ideals forward, according to the Anti-Defamation League, a nonprofit organization that tracks extremist groups.
Members of the Proud Boys marched at the infamous 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, and have organized against Black Lives Matter protests.
Ben Collins and Brandy Zadrozny contributed.