Right-wing group labelled terrorists
OTTAWA — For the first time, Canada has placed right-wing extremist groups on the national list of terrorist organizations.
Blood & Honour, an international neo-Nazi network, and its armed branch, Combat 18, have been added to the roster, opening the door to stiff criminal sanctions.
They join more than 50 other organizations on the list including al-Qaida, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, Boko Haram and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.
A group on Canada’s terrorist list may have their assets seized, and there are serious criminal penalties for helping listed organizations carry out extremist activities.
Blood & Honour, founded in Britain in 1987, has established branches throughout Europe, executing violent attacks there and in North America.
In its listing notice, Public Safety Canada says members of Blood & Honour and Combat 18 firebombed a building occupied mostly by Romani families, including children, in the Czech Republic in 2012.
In addition, four Blood & Honour members in Tampa, Fla., were convicted in 2012 of the 1998 murder of two homeless men who were killed because the group considered them “inferior,” the department says.
The listings are recognition of the growing concern about the presence and influence of farright groups in Canada.
In its latest public report, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service said it is increasingly preoccupied by the violent threat posed by those looking to support or engage in violence that is racially motivated, ethnonationalist, anti-government or misogynist in nature.
The Liberal government also added three organizations aligned with the Iranian regime – Al-Ashtar Brigades, Fatemiyoun Division and Harakat alSabireen – to the terrorist roster.
“Whatever the source or the orientation of violent extremism, it is all the product of the same depraved mentality,” Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said in Regina.
Goodale announced up to $1 million in federal funding to create a digital repository meant to help smaller online companies prevent dissemination of extremist content.
Terrorists and other extremists are misusing cyberspace for their causes, he said.
“They are exploiting social media and other online platforms to spread dangerous propaganda, recruit new members, and promote and incite violence and hatred,” Goodale said.
“More and more on the internet, toxic rhetoric is breaking into the mainstream. It’s open and it’s brazen.”
Canada will also support a youth summit on countering violent online activity.
The event will bring young people together to learn about violent extremism and terrorism online, and develop tools to push back against this content and discourage its sharing, Public Safety Canada said.
Representatives from technology companies, including Twitter, Facebook, Microsoft and Google, will help shape the event and work directly with young people to develop ideas.