Canada on Wednesday labeled far-right group the Proud Boys a terrorist organization, less than a month after some of its members participated in the deadly U.S. Capitol riot. Canada's public safety department said it had "reasonable grounds" to believe the Proud Boys is a group that "has knowingly participated in or facilitated a terrorist activity."
"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," the public safety department said.
The label puts the Proud Boys on the same list as militant groups like the Islamic State and al-Qaida. The Canadian government even added several Islamic State and al-Qaida affiliates to its terror list on Wednesday in addition to the Proud Boys.
Under the new classification, it is illegal in Canada to give logistical or financial support to the Proud Boys. Canadian financial institutions must freeze assets tied to the group, and anyone associated with the Proud Boys can be denied entry into Canada. The listing also allows the government to seize Proud Boys property, and supports removing Proud Boys content online.
The announcement came the same day a Proud Boys member who called himself the "Sergeant of Arms" of the group's Seattle chapter was arrested and charged for his suspected involvement in the January 6 Capitol riot, which left five people dead. from New York and a self-described group organizer are also facing federal charges for their alleged roles in the assault.
CBS News' Ed O'Keefe asked in a White House briefing Wednesday if the U.S. would follow Canada in calling the Proud Boys a terror group. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said a decision wouldn't come until an ongoing national security review of domestic extremism was completed.
"When it's concluded, I'm sure we'll have more to say about our view," Psaki said.
The Proud Boys were founded in 2016 by Gavin McInnes, a Canadian writer and commentator who co-founded Vice. The group describes itself as "Western chauvinists" and has supported misogynistic, anti-Islamic and white nationalist views.
The 2020 campaign put a spotlight on the Proud Boys when former President Donald Trump refused to explicitly condemn them in a presidential campaign and told them to "Stand back and stand by" — a comment that members saw as
The Biden administration started to crack down on domestic terrorists and white nationalists in the wake of the Capitol insurrection. The Department of Homeland Security last week issued itsabout domestic groups, warning of a "heightened threat environment" through the coming weeks.