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

Oak Bay resident Hugh Thompson died Friday, May 7. (GoFundMe photo)
Oak Bay dad dies mountain biking near Shawnigan Lake

Community rallies around family with online fundraiser

(Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria police use bean bag round in arrest

Man arrested for assault with weapon, uttering threats

Test positivity rates in Greater Victoria from April 23 to 29. (BC CDC data)
Leaked data shows View Royal top of COVID-19 list for Greater Victoria

View Royal mayor says week was a blip for the township, not the norm

A member of the Downtown Victoria Business Association Clean Team works along Fort Street. The team will be working weekends from May through September, providing seven day a week coverage. (Photo courtesy DVBA)
Downtown Victoria cleanup service expanded for spring, summer

Clean Team members to patrol sidewalks seven days a week through September

Gwen Spencer Hethey is one of four athletes being inducted into the Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame this year. Here, she is pictured with her mentor Major Frederick Richardson. (Courtesy of Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame)
Four new names added to Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame

Matt Pettinger, Gwen Spencer Hethey, Peter Lawless and Roger Skillings being inducted

A bullet hole is seen in the windshield of an RCMP vehicle approximately 4 km from Vancouver International Airport after a one person was killed during a shooting outside the international departures terminal at the airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Homicide team IDs man in fatal YVR shooting as police grapple with spate of gang violence

Man, 20, charged in separate fatal shooting Burnaby over the weekend

Dr. Victoria Lee, CEO of Fraser Health, hosts an update on efforts to contain B.C.’s COVID-19 transmission in Surrey and the Fraser Valley and protect hospitals in the Lower Mainland, May 6, 2021. (B.C. government video)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate slowing, 20 more people die

Deaths include two people in their 40s, two in their 50s

The Canadian Forces Snowbirds are in the Comox Valley for their annual spring training. Photo by Erin Haluschak
Suspected bird strike on Snowbirds plane during training in Comox

Pilot followed protocols and landed the aircraft on the ground without any problems

BCIT. (Wikimedia Commons)
BCIT apologizes after employee’s ‘offensive and hurtful’ email leaked to Métis Nation

BCIT says employee’s conduct has been investigated and addressed

An adult male yellow-breasted chat is shown in this undatd photograph on lands protected in collaboration between the En’owkin Centre and Penticton Indian Band with support through ECCC. The rescue from near extinction for a little yellow bird hinges on the wild rose in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley, a researcher says. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, A. Michael Bezener/ En’owkin Centre 2020 *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Rare yellow birds need wild roses to survive in British Columbia: researcher

The importance of local wild roses emerged over a nearly 20-year experiment

Alberni Valley Bulldogs forward comes away with the puck after a battle along the boards with Grizzlies defenceman Jake Veilleux. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
BCHL: Victoria Grizzlies named Island Champions

Grizzlies edged Alberni Valley Bulldogs in back-to-back matches to claim title

RCMP officers search around rows of luggage carts as screens block off an area of the sidewalk after a shooting outside the international departures terminal at Vancouver International Airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Police say gang conflict in Metro Vancouver may be behind shooting death at airport

Police said this generation of gangsters is taking things to new level and have no regard for community safety

RCMP are looking for information on an alleged shooting attempt near an elementary school in Smithers March 10. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News/Stock)
UPDATE: Man killed in brazen daylight shooting at Vancouver airport

Details about the police incident are still unknown

Pieces of nephrite jade are shown at a mine site in northwestern B.C. in July 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Tahltan Central Government MANDATORY CREDIT
Indigenous nation opposes jade mining in northwestern B.C.

B.C.’s Mines Act requires operators to prepare a plan to protect cultural heritage resources

Most Read