Politics

Proud Boys Canada Announces Dissolution After Gov’t Designates It A Terrorist Group

Experts warned that just because the Proud Boys Canada announced its dissolution doesn’t mean that the group’s ideology will dissolve with it.

Members of the Proud Boys pray for a member who was stabbed during a protest on December 12, 2020 in Washington, DC. | Getty Images
Members of the Proud Boys pray for a member who was stabbed during a protest on December 12, 2020 in Washington, DC. | Getty Images

People in Canada sporting Fred Perry polos or official Proud Boys insignia “are simply posers,” the far-right group said in a statement announcing that its Canadian faction is disbanding. 

“There is officially no longer any Proud Boys in Canada, it’s officially dissolved,” Proud Boys Canada said Sunday on Telegram. 

The Proud Boys is a white nationalist men’s group that was founded in 2016 by Canadian Gavin McInnes, who also co-founded Vice Media in the ‘90s. The Southern Poverty Law Center declared the Proud Boys a hate group for its misogynistic, Islamophobic, transphobic, and anti-immigration ideology. Several of the group’s members have been arrested and charged in connection with the insurrection on the U.S. Capitol in January. 

In February, Canada designated the Proud Boys a terrorist organization. 

“In the aftermath of the U.S. presidential election, we’ve seen an escalation in support that signals an escalation towards violence, for a number of different groups, including the Proud Boys,” the country’s Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said at a news conference in February.

Proud Boys Canada said in a statement that its members are “not terrorists or a white supremacy group,” but rather, “regular patriotic Canadians.”

“As a fraternity of men we had thought of [pursuing] the case legally but we have no financial support, given we are not funded by the rich,” the group said.

The U.S. Proud Boys said in a separate statement of their Canadian counterpart’s decision: “Their livelihoods and that of their future generations must come first. Fighting [the terror designation] in court will prove to be expensive and time consuming, Time that must be taken away from raising their children and loving their wives. They will continue to fight for western values...but now...as individuals.”

Experts warned that just because the Proud Boys Canada announced its dissolution doesn’t mean that the group’s ideology will dissolve with it.

“Dissolution doesn't mean they change their worldview,” Canadian Anti-Hate Network deputy director Elizabeth Simons said to Vice News. “We've already seen some Proud Boys become more extreme in their views on both sides of the border.”

The Canadian Proud Boys had already separated into different groups, including the more extreme Canada First group, before its designation as a terrorist entity, according to Vice.

Canadian Anti-Hate Network said on Twitter that it’s more important to focus on movements that promote hate rather than individual groups.

“There are more true believers, supporters, and sympathizers within hate movements than there are self-identifying members of individual hate groups,” the group said on May 3. ”Treating ‘hate groups’ as an isolated problem is like playing whack-a-mole on the internet. The problem is hate movements.”

The FBI considers the Proud Boys an extremist organization. Facebook banned the Proud Boys in 2018 after the platform decided the group met its definition for a hate group.

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