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Proud Boys Canada's demise could stiffen resolve of members, expert warns

FILE - In this Sept. 7, 2020 photo, a protester carries a Proud Boys banner, symbol of a right-wing group, while other members start to unfurl a large U.S. flag in front of the Oregon State Capitol in Salem, Ore. President Donald Trump didn't condemn white supremacist groups and their role in violence in some American cities this summer. Instead, he said the violence is a “left-wing" problem and he told one far-right extremist group to “stand back and stand by.” His comments Tuesday night were in response to debate moderator Chris Wallace asking if he would condemn white supremacists and militia groups. Trump's exchange with Democrat Joe Biden left the extremist group Proud Boys celebrating what some of its members saw as tacit approval. (AP Photo/Andrew Selsky, File)

OTTAWA – 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.

Barbara Perry of Ontario Tech University says the development could simply harden the resolve of former members, prompt them to join other groups or spawn an increase in individual online activity.

Proud Boys Canada announced yesterday 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 says it thought about pursuing a legal case, “but we have no financial support.”

In a separate statement, the group says those in its Canadian chapter have to consider their livelihoods and “fighting this in court will prove to be expensive and time-consuming,” adding the “fight for liberty” isn’t over.

In February, the Trudeau government added 13 groups to Canada’s terrorist list, including the Proud Boys.

Also added to that category are groups Atomwaffen Division, The Base, and the Russian Imperial Movement.

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