Canada has formally designated the Proud Boys -- an all-male, far-right, white nationalist group -- as a terrorist entity under its criminal law on Wednesday.
According to The New York Times (NYT), this move could lead to financial seizures and allow police to treat any crimes they commit as terrorist activity.
Canadian government officials say that Canada is the first nation to label the Proud Boys a terrorist group. The events last month in Washington, they added, contributed to the move, which was already under consideration.
"The Government of Canada has placed 13 new groups on the Criminal Code list of terrorist entities, including four ideologically motivated violent extremist groups: Atomwaffen Division, the Base, the Proud Boys and Russian Imperial Movement," read a statement from the Canadian Government.
In addition, Canada has also listed: three Al Qaida affiliates: Jama'at Nusrat Al-Islam Wal-Muslimin, Front de Liberation du Macina, and Ansar Dine; five Daesh affiliates: Islamic State West Africa Province, Islamic State in the Greater Sahara, Islamic State in Libya, Islamic State East Asia, and Islamic State - Bangladesh and Hizbul Mujahideen also as terrrorists.
"The Government of Canada will continue to identify and target entities that meet the threshold for listing, regardless of their ideology, as a means to apply significant consequences on these groups and the individuals that support them," the statement read further.
According to The Hill, Canadian Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said in the aftermath of the January 6 attack on the US Capitol that he was collecting evidence of groups that played a role in the insurrection.
"They are all hateful, intolerant and we have seen they can be dangerous," Blair said Wednesday in announcing the designation as quoted by The Hill. "We have seen the type of tragic results that this kind of extremism can bring to Canada."
"Today's additions to the Criminal Code list of terrorist entities are an important step in our effort to combat violent extremism in all forms. Canadians expect their Government to keep them safe and to keep pace with evolving threats and global trends, such as the growing threat of ideologically motivated violent extremism," he said further in a statement.
"The Government of Canada will continue to take appropriate actions to counter terrorist threats to Canada, its citizens and its interests around the world," he added.
Canada's Parliament unmously passed a motion calling on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government to designate the Proud Boys as a banned terrorist group, last January.
The Canadian Anti-Hate Network said in a blog post, as quoted by CNN that, "The Canadian Proud Boys should continue to be countered, exposed, and held accountable, but a terrorism designation is a serious step that merits further discussion" They added"... we are also wary of definitions being loosened, power being misused, and eroding civil liberties or the criminalization of legitimate protest that would likely rebound..."
The all-male white nationalist group was founded in 2016 with the belief in "closed borders" and the aim of "reinstating a spirit of Western chauvinism." The group's ideology has been labeled "misogynistic, Islamophobic, transphobic, and anti-immigration" by the Anti-Defamation League.
In September, Proud Boys celebrated comments made by then-US President Donald Trump after he asked them to "Stand back and Stand by" when asked to condemn white supremacy during the first presidential debate.
While members of the group have been charged in the riot on the US Capitol, Washington is yet to designate them a terrorist outfit. The White House said that a domestic violent extremism review by the National Security team is currently underway.
"I expect we will wait till that review to conclude before we make any determinations. It's an ongoing review and when its concluded, we will have more to say," said Press Secretary Jen Psaki.
( With inputs from ANI )
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