US white supremacist group, Proud Boys – one of the staunch supporters of former president Donald Trump – has officially been declared as a terrorist group in Canada.
The government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau added the Proud Boys to the country’s long list of terrorist organizations on Wednesday.
Public Safety Minister Bill Blair made the announcement, saying, “Canada will not tolerate ideological, religious or politically motivated acts of violence.”
The move came after Canadian lawmakers unanimously passed a motion late last month, calling for the government to “use all available tools to address the white supremacist group as a terrorist entity.
Under Ontario’s criminal law, the Proud Boys is now among 13 other terrorist groups in Canada, including the Daesh takfiri terrorists and al-Qaeda.
Officials said any crimes committed by the members of the group can now be the subject of terrorism charges.
But that “doesn’t mean that all of a sudden” the members of the group would be charged with a crime, according to officials.
Under the law, recruitment, travel and training related to the group can lead to criminal charges.
Designating the group as a terrorist organization has enabled authorities to seize property and other belongings connected to the group.
Non-Canadian members of the groups would also be denied entry at the border.
Proud Boy’s founder Gavin McInnes was raised in Canada.
“The Proud Boys consists of semi-autonomous chapters located in the United States (US), Canada, and internationally," said the Public Safety minister.
"The group and its members have openly encouraged, planned, and conducted violent activities against those they perceive to be opposed to their ideology and political beliefs,” it added.
Several members of the group were involved in the siege on US Capitol on January 6, when Trump supporters stormed the building to keep Congress from formally accepting state election results that elevated Joe Biden to the White House.
According to Canadian officials, the Capitol attack was a “contributing factor” in the decision, but it "wasn’t the driving force.”
During his first presidential debate with Biden, in September, Trump refused to disavow the Proud Boys, calling on them to “stand back and stand by.”
"Proud Boys, stand back and stand by, but I'll tell you what, somebody's got to do something about antifa and the left, because this is not a right-wing problem. This is a left-wing problem," Trump said back then.
Trump, who came under scrutiny for supporting the racist group, tried to distance himself from them later, saying that “he doesn't know who the Proud Boys are.”