The Proud Boys have dissolved, but their pro-terrorism offshoot Canada First is still active.
While a step forward, the law is probably still two years away, and will be hotly contested.
Canadian Anti-Hate Network
The announcement of the Proud Boys dissolution in Canada has placed the largely inactive group back into headlines for a second time since their designation as a terrorist group by the Canadian government.
As first reported by Global News, not all Canadian Proud Boys or chapters support that dissolution.
Then there's the case of the pro-terrorist group Canada First, a former Proud Boys chapter which broke away before the terrorism designation. They remain active. Initially calling itself Proud Boys: Canada First, and now just Canada First, the group is overtly neo-Nazi in ideology; calls for the removal and elimination -- through violent means -- of Jews, feminists, LGBTQIA2S+ people, Black people, Muslims and anyone not white.
An October 9, 2020 statement allegedly from the “Elder of Proud Boys Canada” published to an encrypted social media channel made it clear that Canada First is a separate group that is not associated with Proud Boys.
“Any inquiries regarding the values of one group or another should be directed at someone who is a good standing member of the group in question,” the self-identified elder wrote, referring to Canada First. “Proud Boys wishes Canada First all the best in their endeavours to encourage patriotism in Canada. At the same time, Proud Boys want to make it abundantly clear that these are mentally ill losers who couldn’t quite cut it in a conservative men’s drinking club.”
Despite the group having no formal leadership structure, the message about Canada First, like the notice of disbanding, was reshared across a variety of US and Canadian Proud Boys channels.
Canada First had previously begun to transition towards using the much longer title Proud Boys: Canada First to differentiate itself before the split was officially announced, citing a difference of direction and ideology.
“It’s not divided into american vs canadian [sic] tho. It’s divided by civic nationalist pb and fashy pb… Canadians went more fashy tho because were [sic] being replaced faster than any other nation,” former Proud Boy and current neo-Nazi Nick Bennett, posting under “Captain Saturnalia,” wrote in fall of 2020 on a now-deleted Canada First social media channel.
“Jews and Arabs have always united against the Europeans,” they wrote in one post, lumping together what seem to be their preferred targets. “The rivalry between Jews and Muslims is largely false since they are both Semites. They are cousins. Only difference is that the Askenazi is less obvious and uses the Arabs and Islam as a broom to sweep Europeans out of their own continent through a mud flood.”
Canada First formally actively attempted recruitment and produced propaganda that was roughly similar to Proud Boys posters shortly after their split. In the months that followed posters were pictured and displayed across the country. According to Canada First, posters appeared as far west as Vancouver Island and Kamloops, British Columbia. They also appeared in Edmonton, and a variety of locations in Ontario.
Based on the consistent stream of postering formerly done in the region and statements made on a previously public chat group, a majority of the collective is based out of southern Ontario.
Source: Canada First channel on encrypted messaging app.
The group has also promoted the targeting of journalists, including a columnist at the Toronto Star for penning a piece they didn’t approve of.
“He is a ‘race and gender’ columnist,” they wrote above a picture of a female journalist, “which is a made-up position to justify letting untalented diversity hires pretend to be journalists. If you'd like to speak with [them] about the anti-white tone of his article, here is his email.”
“Maybe we just don’t want aids blood,” Canada First wrote in response to a headline calling for the end of a ban on gay and bisexual men donating blood.
At least one other channel is also alleged to be run by a Canada First member, or members. While often resharing many of the posts from the group, it is also more outwardly violent and genocidal, dispensing with any pretense of not being about racial purity.
Alongside multiple quotes from Adolf Hitler and lionizing images, many videos and images are unsourced or are original content created by the channel's administrators. Posts shared from other prominent groups and channels from within the neo-Nazi media space include a page associated with the Atomwaffen Division splinter group Fashlash, other Canadian neo-Nazi accounts that share a former Proud Boys affiliation, and countless others from well-known figures and organizations around the world.
“Race mixing is a sin, and should be treated as a crime against humanity....toll paid,” a post to the channel reads.
“Absolute f****t genocide now,” says another.
On and on it goes, with many images and videos depicting brutal violence and stoking the perception of an ongoing race war.
“A bunch of animals beat another white man damn near to death,” the group captioned a video of a European man being assaulted by a group of Black men. “It's open season on whites, never leave your home unarmed, this could be you.”
Posting thousands of messages, memes, videos and reshares of accelerationist style propaganda and racially charged rhetoric since July 2020, this is without question one of the most overtly violent public channels known to operate out of Canada at this time.
The name Canada First is not particularly original in the annals of Canadian white supremacy. Historically, the name has been used by Canadian neo-Nazi organizer Paul Fromm as the URL of his long-standing website.
Another group -- made up of young teenagers -- calling itself Canada First Conservatives is probably the next best well known. This likely small group has repeatedly taken credit for racist “Zoom bombings,” where participants join a public Zoom meeting and spam chats and audio feeds with racist and bigoted slurs and slogans.
Lastly, there is also Tyler Russell, a young vlogger and member of the Plaid Army collective. Russell borrows his program’s name and aesthetic from white nationalist Nick Fuentes’ streaming show America First. Despite galvanizing opposition against him at Ryerson University and his Dad's managerial efforts, Russell remains largely obscure as he tries to build a name for himself using a heavily saturated brand.