Five years after Canadian citizen Gavin McInnes founded the Proud Boys, Canada has become the first country to designate the far-right group as a terrorist organization. The group was officially added to Canada's list of terrorist entities Wednesday, along with other far-right groups including the Atomwaffen SS and several ISIS and al-Qaeda offshoots, the Guardian reports. The listing describes the group as a "neo-fascist organization that engages in political violence" and notes that the "group and its members have openly encouraged, planned, and conducted violent activities against those they perceive to be opposed to their ideology and political belief." The listing mentions that Proud Boys members were involved in the US Capitol riot, but security officials say that wasn't the only factor behind the designation.
"Canada will not tolerate ideological, religious or politically motivated acts of violence," said Public Safety Minister Bill Blair. Canadian lawmakers voted unanimously in favor of the designation last month, the BBC reports. The terror designation doesn't automatically make it a crime to be a Proud Boys member, but banks can now freeze the group's assets and it will be illegal to financially support the group in any way, including by paying membership dues or buying merchandise. "It makes it much, much harder for these groups to operate in any meaningful way in Canada," counterterrorism researcher Sarah Teich tells the CBC. "Canadians can no longer interact with them in any substantial way, and if they do, they could face a criminal offence." (Read more Proud Boys stories.)