A Proud Boy supporter listens to speeches as a few hundred people attend a second amendment rally at Riverfront Park on Saturday May 1, 2021 in Salem, Ore. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Paula Bronstein

A Proud Boy supporter listens to speeches as a few hundred people attend a second amendment rally at Riverfront Park on Saturday May 1, 2021 in Salem, Ore. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Paula Bronstein

Proud Boys Canada’s demise could stiffen resolve of members, expert warns

Some extremists in the movement will try to advance causes on their own in cyberspace

Targeting the Canadian chapter of the Proud Boys with anti-terror legislation has led to the group’s apparent demise, but a leading expert says it might have little effect on the broader far-right movement.

The development could simply harden the resolve of former members, prompt them to join other groups or spawn an increase in individual online activity, said Barbara Perry, director of the Centre on Hate, Bias and Extremism at Ontario Tech University.

Proud Boys Canada announced Sunday it was dissolving after the Liberal government listed it as a terrorist organization following the January assault on Capitol Hill in Washington.

Being on the list means the group’s assets and property are effectively frozen and subject to seizure or forfeiture.

A statement posted to the Proud Boys channel on the app Telegram and attributed to the Canadian chapter of the white nationalist group said it thought about pursuing a legal case, “but we have no financial support.”

In a separate statement, the group said those in its Canadian chapter have to consider their livelihoods and “fighting this in court will prove to be expensive and time consuming.”

But it said the “fight for liberty” isn’t over.

“They will continue to fight for western values … but now … as individuals.”

Perry said while Ottawa’s listing of the Proud Boys could deter some members, it might stiffen the resolve of others.

“It reinforces their victim mentality,” she said in an interview Monday. “Now they can claim that they’re the targeted ones, they’re the ones that are being silenced.”

It is possible that some local chapters of the Proud Boys would continue to operate in Canada, given their independence, Perry said. In addition, the “real diehards” will morph into a different group or take up with an existing one, she predicted.

“I think that that many of them will continue to engage in the movement in some way,” said Perry, who pegs the number of far-right groups in Canada at about 250.

Some extremists in the movement will try to advance causes on their own in cyberspace, she added, noting “a lot of individuals who are threading their way in and out of different social-media platforms associated with the far right without necessarily affiliating with with a particular group.”

Perry also flags the next general election as a rallying point “that is likely to bring folks out of the woodwork again” as members of the far right try to amplify their messages.

Mustafa Farooq, chief executive of the National Council of Canadian Muslims, cautiously welcomed the Proud Boys’ announcement.

“Obviously, we do not take the words of this violent Islamophobic organization at face value,” he tweeted. “However, this is an important step.”

Farooq said there is still “a lot more work to do” to dismantle the many other white-supremacist groups in Canada.

“Let’s make the flags of hate come down. Together.”

Race-based, white supremacist violence is a tragic reality in Canada, said Mary-Liz Power, a spokeswoman for Public Safety Minister Bill Blair.

“We have taken significant action as a government to end such violence in our communities. We also know there is more to do, and we are committed to doing that work,” she said.

“Intolerance and hate have no place in our society.”

READ MORE: 4 men linked to Proud Boys charged in plot to attack Capitol

Stephanie Taylor and Jim Bronskill, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Domestic Terrorism

Just Posted

The first Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine dose in Canada is prepared at The Michener Institute in Toronto on Monday, Dec. 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
One death, 39 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

There are 484 active cases of the virus in the region currently

Amy Newman follows the route of the Cariboo Waggon Road — now Highway 97 — through Clinton. (Photo credit: New Pathways to Gold Society)
Grant received for Cariboo Waggon Road restoration project north of Clinton

New Pathways to Gold hopes to start work this summer on restoring sections of historic road

Dan Cumming (l, with Lisa Colwell, LPN) was one of 1,918 people who received their first COVID-19 vaccine at a community clinic in Ashcroft in early May. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)
Vaccine clinics in Ashcroft, Clinton administered 2,664 first doses

Residents over the age of 18 are still eligible to receive their first COVID-19 vaccine

(from l) Ashcroft councillor Deb Tuohey, mayor Barbara Roden, and councillor Nadine Davenport at the opening of Ashcroft’s new water treatment plant in November 2019. At a recent town hall meeting, council said there are no immediate plans to install water meters in the village. (Photo credit: Christopher Roden)
Ashcroft homeowners face 2.5 per cent property tax bump in 2021

Village is moving ahead with variety of projects, but water metering not on the list of priorities

(from l) Cache Creek councillor Annette Pittman, mayor Santo Talarico, and councillors Wendy Coomber and Sue Peters at a budget meeting, May 7, 2021. (Photo credit: Facebook)
Cache Creek budget bylaws pass with one councillor opposed

Annette Pittman cites several reasons for voting against 30% tax increase and pool closure

B.C. Labour Minister Harry Bains in the B.C. legislature, May 13, 2019. (Hansard TV)
VIDEO: B.C. to provide 3 days of sick pay for COVID-19 absences

Province will support employers on cost, labour minister says

BC Housing minister David Eby. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito)
Eby jabs back against Penticton mayor’s ad urging BC Premier to intervene in shelter dispute

Eby writes that Penticton’s ‘serious’ social issues won’t improve under leadership of the mayor

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, April 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 rate creeps up again, 600 new cases Wednesday

One more death, 423 people in hospital with virus

B.C. Agriculture Minister Lana Popham takes questions in the B.C. legislature in 2017. (Hansard TV)
UPDATE: B.C. will fund another year of fresh fruit, vegetables, milk in schools

John Horgan government working on school meal program

Surrey RCMP is releasing sketches of a suspect in an “indecent act” at the Coyote Creek Elementary playground on April 30, 2021. Police said the suspect was clean-shaven “during some interactions” and on “other occasions had stubble outlining a goatee and mustache.” (Images: Surrey RCMP handout)
Vancouver mayor-elect Kennedy Stewart addresses supporters in Vancouver on Sunday, Oct. 21, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver mayor says there’s no time to redo details of drug decriminalization plan

Kennedy Stewart says a federal election could see the small window of opportunity close on the city’s bid for an exemption from criminal provisions on simple possession of small amounts of drugs

Premier Mike Horgan received his first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. (Facebook/John Horgan)
More than 50% of people eligible in B.C. have received 1st vaccine dose

‘We’ve made extraordinary progress together over the past few weeks,’ says Premier Horgan

Brad MacKenzie, advocacy chair for the ALS Society of B.C., says having research projects in the province allows people here to have access to cutting-edge treatments now being developed. (B.C. government video)
B.C. funds research chair for Lou Gehrig’s disease at UBC

Pandemic has cut off patient access to international projects

Most Read