Authorities are collecting information about the right-wing Proud Boys group as part of a possible terrorist designation, the federal Liberal government said Sunday as it faced calls to ban the organization over its role in last week’s Capitol Hill riot.
Public Safety Minister Bill Blair’s office stopped short of saying when — or even if — the Proud Boys would actually be added to Canada’s national list of terrorist organizations, which includes such groups as al-Qaeda, Hezbollah and the Islamic State.
Blair spokesman Mary-Liz Power instead specifically named it as one of the “ideologically motivated” extremist groups that are being closely watched as Ottawa looks to counter the threat posed by white supremacists and other right-wing organizations.
Founded by Canadian Gavin McInnes, the Proud Boys are a right-wing group that is unapologetically misogynist and increasingly linked to white supremacy and hate. It was later banned by Facebook and Instagram in October 2018 for violating their hate policies.
The group first made headlines in Canada when several self-identified members in the Royal Canadian Navy disrupted an Indigenous protest in Halifax in 2017, and has since grown its international profile and membership.