Canada’s Public Safety Minister Bill Blair announced on Wednesday that the Canadian government is declaring the Proud Boys a terrorist entity, along with 12 other new groups.
The decision comes less than a month after the group allegedly joined a violent pro-Trump mob that stormed the US Capitol. Canada is the first country to designate the Proud Boys a terrorist entity.
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.
In addition, Canada has also listed three Al Qaida affiliates: Jama’at Nusrat Al-Islam Wal-Muslimin, Front de Libération 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.
Based on their actions, each group meets the legal threshold for listing as set out in the Canadian Criminal Code, which requires reasonable grounds to believe that an entity has 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.
“The Canadian Criminal Code also mandates severe penalties for people and organizations that deal with property or finances of a listed entity,” The code reads. “A listing can also support the denial or revocation of a Canadian organization’s charitable status if it maintains connections to listed entities. Furthermore, persons seeking entry into Canada may be inadmissible if they are found to be associated with a listed entity. A listing also helps to facilitate the removal of an entity’s online content.”
According to the Government, 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.
“Violent acts of terrorism have no place in Canadian society or abroad,” Bill Blair, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness said. “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. The Government of Canada will continue to take appropriate actions to counter terrorist threats to Canada, its citizens and its interests around the world.”
With these additions, there are now 73 terrorist entities listed under the Canadian Criminal Code. In 2019, Canada listed two ideologically motivated violent extremist groups: Blood & Honour and Combat 18. When an entity is placed on the list, banks and financial institutions freeze its assets. It is a crime to knowingly deal with the assets of a listed entity. Listings also help obstruct assistance from sympathizers and supporters in Canada by criminalizing certain support activities, including those related to terrorist travel, training and recruitment.
The assessments for new terrorist listings are an on-going process. New entities are only added once it has been determined that they meet the legal threshold. There is also a requirement to review each entity on the list every five years to determine whether it should remain on the list. The following seven entities were recently assessed and it was concluded that they warrant continued listing: Al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, Al Qaida in the Indian Subcontinent, Al Shabaab, Islamic State – Khorasan Province, Al-Ashtar Brigades, and Fatemiyoun Division.