Canada assigns formal terrorist group designation to the Proud Boys

The designation means any crime committed by a member of the group could be charged as terrorist activity
U.S. Capitol Jan. 6

Canada has formally designated the far-right group Proud Boys as a terrorist organization.

The designation could allow for the seizures of financial assets and for the police to treat any crimes committed by group members as terrorist activity.

"Since 2018, we have seen an escalation, an escalation toward violence in this group," Canada's public safety minister Bill Blair said Wednesday in announcing the designation.

The country in all designated 13 groups as terrorist organizations, including the Proud Boys.

The Canadian government has determined that members of the group "espouse misogynistic, Islamophobic, anti-Semitic, anti-immigrant, and/or white supremacist ideologies and associate with white supremacist groups." 

Last week, U.S. federal prosecutors announced their first conspiracy charges against the Proud Boys, alleging that two members of the all-male group were responsible for coordinating an effort to get in the way of law enforcement officers protecting Congress during the electoral certification. 

Members of the Canadian government do not foresee that the new designation will lead to any arrests in the short term, though any crimes committed by members of the group can now be tried as terrorist activity under the country's criminal law. For instance, purchasing Proud Boys paraphernalia or clothing could be charged as providing a terrorist group with funds, though wearing or publicly displaying such items is not against the law.