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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A medical worker prepares vials of the COVID-19 vaccines, Chinese Sinopharm, left, Sputnik V, center, and Pfizer at a vaccine centre, in the Usce shopping mall in Belgrade, Serbia, Thursday, May 6, 2021. Serbian authorities are looking for incentives for people to boost vaccination that has slowed down in recent weeks amid widespread anti-vaccination and conspiracy theories in the Balkan nation. The government has also promised a payment of around 25 euros to everyone who gets vaccinated by the end of May. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
38 new COVID-19 cases, more than 335k vaccines administered in Interior Health

Interior Health also to start targeted vaccinations in high transmission neighbourhoods

FILE PHOTO
Second doses of COVID-19 vaccine will be available, as AstraZeneca supply runs low: Interior Health

Province expecting large volumes of Pfizer BioNTech as age-based cohort immunization program ramps up

Kevin Allen of Fernie helped research and untangle the relationship between West Fernie and the City of Fernie, and is now writing a book on West Fernie. (Phil McLachlan / The Free Press)
Local historian writing book on West Fernie

Kevin Allen of Fernie is compiling his research on West Fernie into a book thanks to a grant from the RDEK

The design green-lit by the Sparwood District Council for the Centennial Square revitalization. It retains storefront parking, as desired by the business community in the square. (Image courtesy of District of Sparwood)
New Centennial Square design green-lit by Sparwood

The new design retains some storefront parking in the square

Greg Nesteroff and Eric Brighton, the historians behind popular Facebook page Lost Kootenays, are set to release a book of the same name and have just unveiled its cover showing the ghostly Hotel in Slocan City shortly before its 1953 demolition. Photo courtesy of Greg Nesteroff and Eric Brighton.
Popular historical Facebook page Lost Kootenays set to release book

128-page hard copy documenting history of East and West Kootenays coming this fall

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A map showing where the most number of cases were recorded from April 23 to 29. This map, revealing a breakdown of infections by neighborhood, was pulled from a data package leaked to the Vancouver Sun last week (and independently verified).
36 Abbotsford schools flagged for COVID-19 exposures in the last 2 weeks, shattering record

Clearbrook Elementary recorded an ‘exposure’ on all 11 school days

Canada’s chief public health officer is reminding Canadians even those who are fully vaccinated are not immune from transmitting the COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns full vaccination does not equal full protection from COVID-19

Post-inoculation, Theresa Tam says the risk of asymptomatic infection and transmission is far lower but not obsolete

The dash cam footage, taken May 7 at 8:18 a.m. belonged to the driver of a southbound vehicle that recently travelled out of the tunnel. (Reddit/Screen grab)
VIDEO: Dash cam captures dramatic rollover crash on Highway 99

Only one person sustained injuries from the collision, says B.C. Ambulance Services

Chevy stranded on a ledge above a rocky canyon at Mimi Falls near Logan Lake, April 28, 2021. (Photo credit: Margot Wikjord)
Police officer and fire chief team up in risky rescue of stranded dog near Logan Lake

Chevy, a rescue dog, needed rescuing again after getting stuck on a ledge above rocky canyon

Police were on the scene of a fatal shooting in Abbotsford. (Black Press Media files)
B.C. government to give more than $8 million for programs to curb gang violence

221 not-for-profit projects led by local governments and school districts among others will receive a one-time grant

Gord Judson steers his log truck down a forest service road, using two-way radio and call signals to mark his position for oncoming traffic. (B.C. Forest Safety Council)
Planning some B.C. wilderness fishing? Don’t catch a log truck

Remote recreation areas bracing for heavy pandemic pressure

Most Read