Canada Designates Most U.S. Extremists As Terrorists

On Friday the Canadian government added more neo-Nazi Americans to its list of banned terrorist groups, another sign that the country will go further than the United States when it comes to recognizing such white supremacist extremists as threats.

Additions follow The Canadian designation of the Proud Boys and other far-right U.S.-based extremist groups such as terrorists in February.

Prohibited groups again include:

  • The Three Percenters, an American anti-government militant group with a growing presence in Canada. The name of the group, according to the Anti-Defamation League, arises from the dubious historical claim that only 3% of American colonists fought against the British in the Revolutionary War. At least six members of the group were charged in the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. Citing material given to journalists at a press conference, said the Canadian Transmission Company the Canadian government referred to the roles of two members in the plot to kidnap the governor of Michigan Gretchen Whitmer last year.
  • James Mason, a neo-Nazi in Colorado, who has promotes solitary actors for attacks against the American government for favoring a white revolution. Mason has also shared tactical instructions on how to manage terrorist groups and is the author of a 1980s manual that is popular among extremists around the world. The Canadian government has also noted Mason’s links with the violent neo-Nazi group Atomwaffen Division, whose members have been linked to several murders.
  • The Aryan Strikeforce, a white supremacist group in the United Kingdom with chapters in Canada and the United States that supports violence to overthrow governments and start a race war.
  • An ISIS affiliate based in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Bill Blair, Canada’s minister of public safety and emergency preparedness, said in a statement statement designations are an important tool to help authorities keep pace with evolving threats and global trends.

“Recent events have dispelled any doubts about the serious threat posed by ideologically motivated violent extremism,” Blair said. “Intolerance and hatred have no place in our society and the Government of Canada will continue to do everything we can to save Canadians from all threats, including terrorism and violent extremism.”

The designation of a group or individual as a “terrorist entity” under Canadian federal law makes it illegal for people to join and collaborate with groups. It also allows the government the power to freeze the assets of the people participating in the groups and to charge anyone who supports them financially or materially. It can also make it easier for authorities to submit online content sent by banned extremists.

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Following the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, Canada moved to declare four right-wing or white supremacist groups as terrorist entities, marking the first time it has listed such groups. Those include the Atomwaffen Division, the neo-fascist street fighting group Proud Boys, the white supremacist accelerationist dressed The Base, and the far-right nationalist Russian Imperial Movement. About two dozen people associated with the Proud Boys have been charged in the FBI investigation into the January 6 attack on the Captain.

President Joe Biden has said that violent extremists of the white supremacist now pose the most urgent threat to the United States and call them “stains for the soul of America.” Earlier this month, the White House released a piano to fight domestic terrorism, which calls for strengthening analysts, prosecutors and agents, but leaves little to suggest that any new law be created to help.

The absence of specific laws describing domestic terrorism is one of the reasons why the US has not gone as far as Canada in designating American and foreign extremist groups as terrorist entities. Another is that the bar for such a designation is extremely high. The United States has designated only one far-right extremist group, the Russian Imperialist Movement, as a terrorist group.

In a call with BuzzFeed News and other reporters earlier this month, a senior Biden administration official, speaking in depth, said discussions regarding any new national terrorism laws were ongoing and had not been made any decision prior to the release of the new White House plan.

“We concluded that we did not have the evidence base, however, to decide whether we want to proceed in that direction or whether we have sufficient authority as it currently exists at the federal level,” the official said.

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