Canada Adds Proud Boys, Others to the List of Terrorist Organizations

For the Canadian government, multiple white supremacy/hate groups including the Proud Boys are now listed as terrorist organizations.

They were one of the groups partaking in the January 6th terrorist attack. While some members have been arrested in the US, Canada actually took a bold step and formally listed the Proud Boys as a terrorist organization. Many journalists noted that Canada is the first country in the world to take this step.

CP24 notes that Proud Boys isn’t the only group added to the list:

The Trudeau government has added the Proud Boys and three other extreme right-wing groups to its list of terrorist organizations as it seeks to tackle the sort of neo-fascism and white nationalism that boiled over in the U.S. last month.

Public Safety Minister Bill Blair announced Wednesday that the four right-wing groups are among 13 additions to the list along with three groups linked to al-Qaida, four associated with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, and one Kashmiri organization.

Groups on Canada’s roster of terrorist entities, created after the 9/11 attacks on the United States, may have their assets seized, and there are serious criminal penalties for helping listed organizations carry out extremist activities.

The decision to add the Proud Boys had been anticipated after the storming of Capitol Hill in Washington last month focused a spotlight on the group and Blair confirmed Canadian authorities were looking into its activities.

The House of Commons then passed an NDP motion calling on the government to use all available tools to address the proliferation of white supremacists and hate groups, starting with designating the Proud Boys as a terrorist entity.

Indeed, the NDP has been a leading voice since the attack to designate groups like the Proud Boys as a terrorist organization. The big step was the party getting that motion passed in the House of Commons. Ultimately, it was a case of the political party doing the right thing and doing one of the only logical moves in the political sphere.

Of course, major media outlets are no fans of the NDP. Today, some outlets began characterizing the move back in January as some sort of misstep and de-legitimizing the designation. It’s an all too common move by some outlets to try and spin anything the NDP does as a mistake or a bad move. Generally, it’s an effort to try and bolster the two biggest political parties: the Liberals or the Conservative depending on which outlet you are talking about.

As the CP24 article notes, the Liberal government tried to distance itself from the NDP and said that there was no political motivation behind the move. Really, there shouldn’t have been any political motivation needed given the circumstances, though it’s very likely that the story would have been about the Liberal government taking a leading role with the designation had the NDP done nothing. It was simply a case of the NDP beating almost everyone else to the punch.

Still, Liberal government officials note that social media has provided a “trove” of evidence for them to act on. This is something that we, ourselves, noted during the early days of the attack’s aftermath. Today, we are seeing the government acknowledge this aspect of that story.

Of course, some might be wondering what this all means for people associated with the organization. Some experts have already noted that simply being a member or partaking in a protest as a member of such an organization isn’t a criminal offense. Where things change, however, is that providing financial aid to the organization or helping to organize the group can be considered a criminal offense. So, if a Canadian decided to go online and buy merchandise from the Proud Boys, that is a criminal offense. If a meeting were held at a particular property, the property owner opens himself up to forfeiture of their property.

What’s more is that banks will find it exceedingly difficult to do business with them even if they wanted to do business with them in the first place. Pretty much the only option such a group would have is to use cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. As anyone who deals in e-commerce knows, that’s practically a financial death sentence. Some people do use Bitcoin, but a substantial number of people do not. So, even if there are options on the table to circumvent restrictions, funding of any kind is going to dwindle substantially.

Where things start to get murky legally is what role social media will play in all of this. Are Facebook pages devoted to, say, the Proud Boys no longer going to be a thing? Well, Facebook does operate in Canada, but is headquartered in another country. Once you throw international law into the equation, that is when things start getting complicated in a hurry. In fact, it’s that same kind of legal barrier that has practically enabled Swedish BitTorrent website, The Pirate Bay, to stay online after all of these years. The American DMCA doesn’t really apply in Sweden after all.

Probably the big deciding factor is how different players react in all of this. Social media sites might elect to take down Canadian pages linked to the listed organizations in light of the new designation. Canada might tell social media sites that they must take them down and use a court order to do so – and those sites might comply. Ultimately, enforcement might be the biggest factor in how all of this will play out online.

At any rate, it seems that some of the groups who participated in the Capitol Hill attack are feeling even further repercussions from their actions. Those selfies they made during the insurrection might very well be burning them still.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Facebook.

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