Canada on Friday added four new groups or individuals to its criminal code of terrorist entities, three of which are based in the United States and associated with an extremist, far-right ideology.
The banned groups include the Three Percenters and Aryan Strikeforce, which the Canadian government called “ideologically motivated violent extremist groups.” The third banned entity was James Mason – who the Southern Poverty Law Center describes as a neo-Nazi – who “provided ideological and tactical instruction on how to operate a terrorist group.”
A fourth group, a Daesh affiliate with ties to the Islamic State in the Democratic Republic of Congo, was also added to the country’s list of terrorist entities.
“Recent events should remove any doubts about the serious threat posed by ideologically-motivated violent extremism,” Bill Blair, Canada’s Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, wrote in a statement. “Intolerance and hate have no place in our society and the Government of Canada will continue to do all we can to keep Canadians safe from all threats, including terrorism and violent extremism.”
According to the Anti-Defamation League, Three Percenters are part of the militia movement that supports the “idea of a small number of dedicated ‘patriots’ protecting Americans from government tyranny.”
The group has gained increasing notoriety since its creation in 2008, and has a small presence in Canada.
“Their adherents are active in Canada,” Blair told a local outlet of the group. “We monitor their activities in Canada with growing concern.”
In early June, six men — four of whom self-identified as members of the Three Percenters — were arrested and indicted for their alleged roles in the violent insurrection on Capitol Hill in January.
Another member of the Three Percenters was linked to a plot to kidnap Michigan’s Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer late last year.
The Three Percenters, the Aryan Strikeforce and James Mason join the Proud Boys on Canada’s list of U.S.-based terrorist groups.
Canada was the first country to designate the Proud Boys — a far-right, male chauvinist extremist group known for engaging in violent clashes at political rallies — as a terrorist entity in February of this year.
The terrorist designation in Canada means groups may have assets seized and face harsher terrorism-related criminal penalties. A government official said just because they are a member doesn’t mean they will be charged with a crime, but if they do engage in violent acts they could be charged with terrorist crimes.
It was also only the second time Canada designated an individual as having met the threshold for a terrorist designation. Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, leader of the group Hezb-e Islami Gulbuddin, was added in 2005 and remains listed to this day.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.