Thursday, May 6, 2021

Proud Boys Canada ‘formally dissolved,’ group says, after Ottawa labelled it a terrorist group

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Mike Specter
What's there to say about me, blogging is my passion, but that goes without saying, i love football and i won't turn down an invitation for a drink. Make that Tequila and you have my undivided attention! How ironic lol I enjoy reading and occasional golf


Proud Boys Canada, the far-right group that Canada not too long ago designated as a terrorist entity, introduced on Sunday that it has “formally dissolved” and denied being a terrorist or white supremacist group — assertions that ought to be taken with a “grain of salt,” based on hate group specialists.

The assertion was posted on the Proud Boys USA channel on Telegram, a messaging app the place the group is lively and points its official statements, based on Evan Balgord, government director of the Canadian Anti-Hate Community, a non-profit group that screens and researches hate exercise.

The assertion, which was attributed to Proud Boys Canada, mentioned the group has “carried out nothing mistaken” and its terrorist designation by the federal authorities was “not based mostly on proof or incident, however for purely political causes.”

The group mentioned it thought of combating the terrorist designation via authorized means however lacked monetary help. As of “as we speak,” based on the put up on Sunday, “there’s formally now not any Proud Boys in Canada.”

“The reality is, we have been by no means terrorists or a white supremacy group,” the assertion mentioned. “We’re simply common patriotic Canadians.”

However the Canadian authorities and anti-hate specialists disagree. The Proud Boys — who describe themselves as “Western chauvinists” and a “pro-West fraternal group” — was shaped in 2016 by Gavin McInnes, the Canadian co-founder of Vice Media, who now lives in america.

In its earliest days, the Proud Boys attracted salacious media protection for his or her excessive initiation rites — new members, for instance, must topic themselves to a beating and get a Proud Boys tattoo — and guidelines (no masturbation allowed).

However from the beginning, anti-racism activists and hate group specialists have been alarmed by the Proud Boys’ hateful and white nationalist rhetoric. The Alabama-based Southern Poverty Regulation Middle, which designates the Proud Boys as a hate group, has documented the group’s violent historical past and hyperlinks to misogyny, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, white supremacy and extremists.

McInnes has rejected makes an attempt to label the Proud Boys as being white supremacist or “alt-right,” and — after quitting the group in 2018 — sued the Southern Poverty Regulation Middle for designating the group as a hate group.

The Proud Boys have been fixtures at rallies in help of Donald Trump — they have been talked about by the then U.S. president throughout an election debate final September — in addition to high-profile alt-right occasions such because the violent protests in Charlottesville, Va., in 2017, which have been co-organized by a white nationalist with ties to the Proud Boys.

A month after the Capitol Hill riots on Jan. 6 this yr — which noticed U.S. members of the Proud Boys arrested — the Canadian authorities designated the group as a “terrorist entity,” together with three different white supremacy teams: Atomwaffen Division, The Base and the Russian Imperial Motion.

On the time, Public Security Minister Invoice Blair mentioned Canada’s intelligence companies had been investigating the Proud Boys’ actions since 2018, and that they’d not too long ago seen an “escalation towards violence.”

Below Canadian regulation, it’s unlawful to knowingly take part in or contribute to the actions of a acknowledged terrorist group. A terrorist designation additionally permits monetary establishments to freeze property, or police to grab property.

In an emailed assertion on Sunday, James Cudmore, a spokesperson for Blair, didn’t reply to the Star’s questions in regards to the on-line assertion attributed to Proud Boys Canada.

However he wrote that “we strongly denounce organizations such because the Proud Boys who advance misogynistic, white supremacist beliefs and who glorify violence.”

“Intolerance and hate haven’t any place in our society,” Cudmore mentioned. “The itemizing of ideologically motivated violent extremist teams as terrorist organizations permits for a shift within the useful resource focus of our companies.”

Final month, International Information reported {that a} Cobourg lawyer, Colin A. Browne, who recognized himself as a Proud Boy, deliberate to enchantment the federal authorities’s resolution to designate the group as a terrorist group. The Star requested an interview with Browne on Sunday night however didn’t obtain a response by deadline.

The Proud Boys have mentioned that their Canadian arm boasts between 1,000 and 1,500 members however it’s tough to confirm how many individuals are literally affiliated with the group, mentioned Balgord with the Anti-Hate Community.

At its peak, Proud Boys Canada had greater than a dozen chapters, he mentioned — “however how many individuals in every chapter is one thing solely a handful of individuals would know.”

Proud Boys Canada — which has by no means been as excessive as its American counterpart, based on Balgord — has been waning for a while now, he added, so its obvious dissolution comes as “no shock.”

Final yr, the group broke ties with a “pro-fascist and neo-Nazi arm” that now calls itself Canada First, based on an article by the Anti-Hate Community. Its Manitoba chapter — which Balgord mentioned got here closest to being a “chief” of Proud Boys Canada after the cut up with Canada First — had already dissolved earlier this yr.

“They sort of fizzled out,” he mentioned of Proud Boys Canada’s actions lately. “That’s to not say there wasn’t exercise … however in the event you check out the entire scene, they positively had a decline.”

Balgord mentioned it’s tough to know if the group has really folded in Canada. Some chapters may reject the declare of dissolution, or be absorbed into different extremist teams.



Whereas a separate Telegram put up by Proud Boys USA on Sunday appeared to verify that “the ProudBoys (sic) in Canada is not any extra,” it added that members will “proceed to struggle for western values … as people.”

Bernie Farber, chair of the Anti-Hate Community, mentioned that on the subject of a company just like the Proud Boys, every part ought to be “taken with a grain of salt” — together with their claims of being “common patriotic Canadians” with no ties to white supremacy.

“It’s fairly straightforward to say, after the very fact, that ‘this was by no means us,’” Farber mentioned. “The actual fact is: they’re an extremist group.”


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