Lawmakers in Canada have voted unanimously to classify the far-right Proud Boys as a white supremacist terror organisation.
Canada’s House of Commons voted on Monday (25 January) to approve a motion from New Democratic Party leader Jagmeet Singh condemning the group, which is facing investigations in the US over its role in the storming of the Capitol building.
Singh’s motion calls upon the government “to use all available tools to address the proliferation of white supremacist and hate groups, starting with immediately designating the Proud Boys as a terrorist entity.”
The motion gained cross-party support from all of Canada’s political parties, gaining approval without a single objection.
Government minister Bill Blair told CTV earlier this month that Canada would be expanding its list of terrorist groups to include more extreme-right organisations.
He said: “We’re very mindful of ideologically-motivated violent extremists, including groups like the Proud Boys. They are white supremacists, antisemitic, Islamophobic, misogynist groups. They’re all hateful, they’re all dangerous.
“We’re working very diligently to ensure that where the evidence is available, where we have the intelligence, that we’ll deal appropriately with those organizations.”
Proud Boys under investigation over storming of Capitol.
The Proud Boys, a far-right extremist group, was founded in 2016 by the anti-LGBT+ former journalist Gavin McInnes. The group has long been classed a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) for its racist and homophobic beliefs.
The group gained an unfortunate publicity boost in September when Donald Trump refused to denounce them on a debate stage with Joe Biden, infamously instructing them to “stand back and stand by”.
At least six Proud Boys members have been charged over the storming of the Capitol on 6 January, including one of its top-ranking leaders, Joseph Biggs.
Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio had travelled to Washington DC for the rally but was arrested two days before the attack on charges of destruction of property, after he allegedly tore down a Black Lives Matter flag from a historic Black church and burned it.
According to the New York Times, officers arresting Tarrio officers found he was carrying two high-capacity rifle magazines emblazoned
The newspaper also reports that FBI is investigating other right-wing militia groups, including the so-called Oath Keepers, over connections to the Capitol riot, though investigators are yet to establish that the attack was coordinated in advance.
PinkNews has a free iOS app which will keep you up-to-date with all the latest news, features, interviews and exclusives. You can download it here.