The Canadian government designated the Proud Boys, along with 12 other groups, as a terrorist organization on Wednesday. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo
Feb. 3 (UPI) -- Canada on Wednesday designated the Proud Boys as a terrorist organization, becoming the first nation to officially do so.
The Canadian Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness included the Proud Boys -- an all-male group known to engage in violent crime and promote an ideology of misogyny and White nationalism -- and 13 other groups on its Criminal Code list of terrorist entities.
"Violent acts of terrorism have no place in Canadian society or abroad. Today's additions to the Criminal Code list of terrorist entities are an important step in our effort to combat violent extremism in all forms," Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Bill Blair said.
The rest of the groups included on the list included three other far-right and neo-Nazi groups and others were affiliated with the Islamic State and al-Qaida.
"No matter the ideological motivation, they're all hateful, intolerant and, as we've seen, they can be highly dangerous," Blair said.
While being a member of the groups designated on the list is not in itself a crime, the designation allows banks to freeze and/or seize members' assets and permits police to charge anyone who financially or materially supports the groups.
Blair said the designation would "severely restrict" the groups' abilities to raise funds through online crowdfunding or other methods in Canada.
The Proud Boys was established in 2016 by Gavin McInnes, the co-founder of Vice media who was raised in Canada. It's active in both Canada and the United States.
The designation said the Proud Boys "espouse misogynistic, Islamaphobic, anti-Semitic, anti-immigrant and/or White supremacist ideologies and associate with White supremacist groups."
Blair said the Canadian government has seen an "escalation toward violence" in the Proud Boys since 2018.
The designation comes after the U.S. Department of Justice announced charges last week against two members of the Proud Boys -- Dominic Pezzola, 43, of Rochester, N.Y., and William Pepe, 31, of Beacon, N.Y. -- in relation to the Jan. 6 siege on the U.S. Capitol building.
They face charges of conspiracy; civil disorder; unlawfully entering restricted buildings or grounds; and disorderly and disruptive conduct in restricted buildings or grounds after allegedly remove temporary barricades erected by Capitol Police to control access to Capitol ground.