Stand back and DON’T standby
On Jan. 8, leader of the New Democratic Party Jagmeet Singh tweeted a petition calling on the Trudeau government to ban the Proud Boys and designate them as a terrorist organization. On the NDP’s website, the petition claims that the Proud Boys were present and involved in leading the assault against the US Capitol building earlier this month. They declared that this was an act of domestic terrorism. In Canada, there was a brawl that took place in Toronto’s Eaton Centre in 2019 following an anti-Muslim event that was attended by Proud Boys members.
The Southern Poverty Law Center has designated the Proud Boys as a hate group. The group was established in the midst of the 2016 United States presidential election. They describe themselves as western chauvinists and a fraternal organization.
Members of Canada’s parliament passed by unanimous consent a motion introduced by Singh to designate the group as a terrorist organization on Monday. The federal government has yet to officially designate the group as a terrorist entity.
There are three degrees to membership in the Proud Boys. The first is to declare that you are a western chauvinist and that you will not apologize for “creating the modern world.” The second is to give up masturbation and endure a beating from fellow Proud Boys until you can name five breakfast cereals in order to demonstrate “adrenaline control.” The third is to get a Proud Boys tattoo. The group reached another level of infamy during the recent U.S. presidential debates when Donald Trump told the Proud Boys to “stand back and standby.”
The Proud Boys was founded by Gavin McInnes who also co-founded the popular media platform VICE. In the NDP website’s petition they refer to McInnes by stating “Alarmingly, their founder is from Canada.” McInnes was born in England, raised in Ottawa and moved to Montreal where he co-founded VICE in 1994 before moving to New York.
In the United States, there is a Change.org petition calling on newly inaugurated US President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Counter-Terrorism to declare the Proud Boys as a terrorist organization. At this time, there are almost 500,000 signees.
Graphic by Rose-Marie Dion