The Canadian government has designated the Proud Boys group as a terrorist entity, noting they played a pivotal role in the insurrection at the US Capitol on January 6.

The Proud Boys have faced increased scrutiny after seizing on the former Trump administration’s policies and was a major agitator during earlier protests and the Capitol riot.

The Proud Boys is a far-right, male chauvinist extremist group known for engaging in violent clashes at political rallies. Canada is the first country to designate them as a terrorist entity.

Hate Report 2020
A protester carries a Proud Boys banner (Andrew Selsky/AP)

During a September presidential debate, Donald Trump had urged them to “stand back and stand by” when asked to condemn them by a moderator.

A Canadian government senior official said the insurrection at the US Capitol contributed to the designation.

The terrorist designation means the group may have assets seized and face harsher terrorism-related criminal penalties.

A government official said just because they are a member does not mean they will be charged with a crime, but if they do engage in violent acts they could be charged with terrorist crimes.

Sending money to the organisation or buying Proud Boys paraphernalia would also be a crime.

“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 beliefs,” the Canadian government said in briefing materials.

“The group regularly attends Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests as counter-protesters, often engaging in violence targeting BLM supporters. On January 6, 2021, the Proud Boys played a pivotal role in the insurrection at the US Capitol.”

The government calls the Proud Boys a neo-fascist organisation with semi-autonomous chapters located in the United States, Canada, and internationally.

It said it engages in political violence and that members espouse misogynistic, Islamophobic, anti-Semitic, anti-immigrant, and white supremacist ideologies.

Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said 12 other groups were also added to the list.

“Canada will not tolerate ideological, religious or politically motivated acts of violence,” Mr Blair said.