Groups Designated Terrorist Organizations

Governance of Police Powers Does Not Protect Rights or Democratic Values

Canada's Public Safety Minister Bill Blair has announced that the Proud Boys and 12 other groups are to be designated as "terrorist entities." Such a decision is made, we are told, on the recommendation of Canadian security and intelligence agencies after an "extremely rigorous" probe has found "reasonable grounds to believe that an entity has knowingly participated in or facilitated a terrorist activity."[1]

What criminal, terrorist activity the individual or group engaged in is not disclosed. In fact, since 9/11 even what constitutes a terrorist act has remained undefined. In the process the Government of Canada has adopted, anyone named a "terrorist entity" has to plead their case in a Star Chamber-type court which dispenses with due process.[2] Full disclosure of the allegations made and who is making them are dispensed with "for security reasons." It is a complete travesty of justice which underscores that the exercise of police powers does not protect anyone's rights, or democratic values, or society itself from the danger of extremist terrorist violence or racist, homophobic and misogynist acts.

Should extremist, racist, homophobic, misogynist acts be prosecuted and punished? Absolutely! But who is designating organizations "terrorist" and by what process are they being outlawed? And on the basis of what criteria? That is the issue, not whether they should be prosecuted if they engage in criminal acts. It is beyond absurd to suggest that rule of law is strengthened by use of police powers over which the people do not exercise control. To suggest that the police powers which rule the civil power have the consent of the governed is a travesty. It defies logic and common sense. In Canada, the civil power is itself the expression at any time and in various forms of racist, homophobic, misogynist, anti-communist, anti-worker and terrorist values. 

The FBI in the United States has decided that extremist organizations are the new terrorists posing danger domestically. The Five Eyes intelligence agencies, to which Canada belongs, seem to have adopted that definition. The role these police powers are playing in the polity reveals that what is called civil society is in fact subordinate to the police powers, and governed by them. Rule of law is the rule of these police powers, both the prerogative powers in the hands of the head of state and cabinet, as well as the police and intelligence agencies themselves and the "civilian review agencies" and so-called democratic media which have become agents of disinformation.

What is referred to as rule of law is actually subordinate to the police powers which routinely act behind closed doors in the name of national interest and national security. Those who wield the police powers tell the legislature what to do and the legislature and members of the legislature, sworn to protect these police powers, rubber stamp it. The irony is that -- as in the example of the FBI agent who is president of Proud Boys in the U.S. -- Canadian experience confirms that when a group with extremist views has engaged in terrorist acts, it is incited by the police, who are leading those organizations or have infiltrated them or, indeed, comprise them holus bolus.[3]

The Canadian state and its "security and intelligence agencies" are responsible for organizing and funding racist, white supremacist groups in Canada, including in the 1970s and '80s the KKK cross burnings on the front lawns of East Indians in BC in which the son of the Surrey Police Chief was subsequently arrested, as well as the Heritage Front and other such groups. The police agencies have either directly engaged in or instigated individual acts of terrorist violence. The list of acts of state violence, including fomenting hate and acts of violence against migrant workers, people of colour and Indigenous peoples' legitimate defence of their hereditary and treaty rights is endless!

This long-established fact should not need to be stated. However, given the way the cartel parties in Parliament are carrying on, each trying to outdo the other saying that the Liberal government has not gone far enough, it requires repeating.

The decision to designate the Proud Boys, in particular, and 12 others as terrorist groups follows the report of the U.S. intelligence agencies. The January 6 events in Washington, DC was to provide proof positive. But then it became public knowledge that the leader and organizer of the Proud Boys in the U.S. has been a "prolific police informant" working for the FBI for years. Are we to believe that the police agencies advising the government of Canada cannot put two and two together to make four? Of course they can. And herein lies the problem the polity faces!

Taking again the example of current events in the United States, U.S. law provides for harsh penalties for anyone convicted of the kind of violence that occurred on January 6 in Washington, DC, but those arrested have been charged with offences on par with trespassing. They are freed on bail to return to their everyday lives pending trial. One woman was granted permission to vacation in Mexico because it was a pre-arranged trip! Oh that the victims of police impunity in the U.S. and Canada were treated with such kindness!

Despite the facts and experience of the Canadian people, what we see and hear from the cartel parties in Canada and the U.S. is that more police powers are needed to stamp out the culture and organization of extremist violence, which they themselves are responsible for perpetrating both at home and abroad. It is brutal disinformation of the public while expanding police powers.

All of it is used to make sure no discussion takes place within the polity on what it means to defend freedom of speech and conscience while not permitting acts of violence against the people. The cartel parties which are crowing that they are the champions of rights should be seriously put in their place. Which people of colour in Canada, Indigenous persons, or persons of various faiths can say they feel safer when under "police protection?" Victims of hate and terrorist acts are supposed to accept a "trade-off" between security and rights. It is irrational.

How to deal with the police powers in Canada, including their incitement of extremist, racist, homophobic and misogynist acts is a serious matter facing the polity. To have these matters relegated to behind the scenes processes carried out in the name of national security, while keeping the mass of the people -- the polity itself -- in the dark as to criteria and depriving them of information is not the way to go. The obscene haste with which Canada is acting to outdo the U.S. by declaring the Proud Boys a terrorist group, which would not exist without the support of the police forces in the United States and the presidential powers themselves, does not prove that Canada is a law abiding safe country. It merely shows that the liberal democratic institutions are in serious trouble, laying the grounds for public opinion to be impotent in the face of  actions the police powers deem fit to take in the name of national interest and national security. 

It has always been the modus operandi of the liberal institutions to legalize a course of action by initiating it against Nazis or right-wing extremists, then in fact letting them off the hook, but targeting the people's legitimate resistance fighters. The state and its agencies, including the cartel political parties, are determined to keep the decision-making power in their hands in the name of all sorts of high ideals, to keep the people without a voice or any means of expression. It is not just the Proud Boys the ruling class is making illegal. Besides the 12 others it has designated to be a danger, the state regularly targets unions, workers' collectives and Indigenous peoples. Spokespersons of the cartel parties, such as Justin Trudeau and his Ministers, take every opportunity to extend this practice to small political parties as well which are branded as fringe, extremist and so forth.

Beware of measures the Government and cartel parties are taking and advocating in the name of national security and defending rights. The verdict coming out of the Second World War was indeed that racists and fascists have no right to speak. But this was never applied by the Anglo-American powers that called themselves democratic. On the contrary, they launched the Cold War to protect "the English-speaking peoples" and their values and way of life and no crime was too great for them, all in the name of the high ideals of democracy, liberty and peace.

Today it is only by affirming the people's right to conscience and expression and making sure they can participate in making the decisions which affect their lives that the well-being of the polity can be secured.

We are on the eve of the 30th anniversary of the demand for justice of the families of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. Where is the prosecution of those who have committed racist, misogynist and terrorist crimes against them, beginning with those entrusted to defend them -- from the top echelons of power to the lowliest police officer trained by them to emulate their spirit and "values"?

Where are police held to account for targeting people of colour, youth, the homeless, and Indigenous peoples, especially women and girls?

So long as self-serving criteria define what is a crime and what constitutes terrorism, and who decides is kept in the hands of the police powers themselves, there will be no accountability of any kind.

Shame on the cartel parties which claim to champion minority rights!


1. The 13 new groups added to the Criminal Code list of terrorist entities include four that fall into the category of what the government calls "ideologically motivated violent extremist groups" (Atomwaffen Division, the Base, Russian Imperial Movement and Proud Boys). The government describes the other organizations added as "Al Qaida affiliates" (Jama'at Nusrat Al-Islam Wal-Muslimin, Front de Libération du Macina, and Ansar Dine), and "Daesh affiliates" (Islamic State West Africa Province, Islamic State in the Greater Sahara, Islamic State in Libya, Islamic State East Asia, and Islamic State -- Bangladesh), as well as "Hizbul Mujahideen."

The announcement came right after the House of Commons unanimously adopted a motion put forward by the NDP on January 25 which reads:

"That the House call upon the government to use all available tools to address the proliferation of white supremacist and hate groups, starting with immediately designating the Proud Boys as a terrorist entity."

The statement issued by Public Safety Canada announcing the addition of the groups to the list of terrorist entities says, in part:

"Canadians expect their government to take all necessary steps to keep them safe, while safeguarding their values, their rights and freedoms and the open, inclusive character of our country. The Criminal Code listing regime is an important tool for countering terrorism in Canada and globally, and is part of that commitment."

Bill Blair, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness said: "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. Canadians expect their Government to keep them safe and to keep pace with evolving threats and global trends, such as the growing threat of ideologically motivated violent extremism. The Government of Canada will continue to take appropriate actions to counter terrorist threats to Canada, its citizens and its interests around the world."

According to the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS):

"Ideologically motivated violent extremism (IMVE) is often driven by a range of grievances and ideas from across the traditional ideological spectrum. The resulting worldview consists of a personalized narrative which centres on an extremist's willingness to incite, enable and or mobilize to violence. Extremists draw inspiration from a variety of sources including books, images, lectures, music, online discussions, videos and conversations. Given the diverse combination of motivations and personalized worldviews of recent mass-casualty attackers, the use of such terms as 'right-wing' and 'left-wing' is not only subjective, but inaccurate in describing the complexity of motivations of IMVE attacks in Canada and abroad."

At the press conference when the announcement was made, Blair said:

"No matter the ideological motivation, they're all hateful, intolerant and, as we've seen, they can be highly dangerous." He said he hopes expanding the terrorist list will send a message to groups intent on sowing division and hate and causing harm, that their actions will not be tolerated by law enforcement, CBC reported.

"Their violent actions and rhetoric are fuelled by white supremacy, anti-Semitism, racism, homophobia, Islamophobia and misogyny, and unfortunately, often in combination of all of the above. On several different occasions we have seen the tragic results that this type of extremism can bring to Canadian soil," Blair said referencing the 2017 Quebec City mosque attack and the 2018 Toronto van attack.

As required, the listing of the 13 groups was published in the Canada Gazette: "Whereas, the Administrator in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds to believe that each entity listed in the annexed Regulations Amending the Regulations Establishing a List of Entities has knowingly carried out, attempted to carry out, participated in or facilitated a terrorist activity or has knowingly acted on behalf of, at the direction of or in association with such an entity; Therefore, His Excellency the Administrator of the Government of Canada in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, pursuant to subsection 83.05(1) of the Criminal Code makes the annexed Regulations Amending the Regulations Establishing a List of Entities."

The "Administrator in Council" is Richard Wagner, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, who currently serves as the statutorily determined replacement for former Governor General Payette.

The announcement in the Gazette serves notice that the property of those listed "can be the subject of seizure/restraint and/or forfeiture. In addition, institutions, such as banks and brokerages, are subject to reporting requirements with respect to an entity's property and must not allow those entities to access the property nor may these institutions deal with or otherwise dispose of the property." The notice in the Gazette also states that a "listed entity is included in the definition of terrorist group in the Criminal Code so offences applicable to terrorist groups apply to these entities. However, unlike terrorist groups that are not listed, a prosecution related to a listed entity does not require the Crown to demonstrate that the entity has, as one of its purposes or activities, facilitated or carried out a terrorist activity." Further, it states that "the listing of terrorist entities facilitates the prosecution of perpetrators and supporters of terrorism."

Currently there are 73 groups designated as terrorist entities. Interestingly enough, the KKK and extremist Ukrainian groups like Azov Battalion and others are not. The full list is available here

2. The Star Chamber was an English court which sat from the late 15th century to the mid-17th century to prosecute those deemed to be the King's enemies. Created by King Henry VII in 1487, it was named for a room with stars painted on the ceiling in the royal palace of Westminster where the court sat. The Star Chamber was an instrument of the monarch and consisted of royal councillors and two royal judges. The court dispensed with "due process" as it was then understood.

3. One of the first public activities of Proud Boys in Canada took place July 1, 2017 when members of the Canadian Armed Forces self-identifying as Proud Boys disrupted a ceremony organized by Indigenous activists in Halifax to mourn atrocities committed against Indigenous peoples. It was held around the statue of Edward Cornwallis, the first Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia, known for his violent actions against the Indigenous peoples.

This article was published in

Volume 51 Number 2 - February 7, 2021

Article Link:
Governance of Police Powers Does Not Protect Rights or Democratic Values


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